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Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

May 23, 2013

Roasted Tomatillo GuacamolePin it!

Today’s recipe is barely a recipe.

I could mash avocados in my sleep (and not forget the squeeze of lime juice).

The other day BuzzFeed had a list of 30 foods to DIY instead of buy. The list included hummus, granola, nutella, tomato sauce, pesto, and guacamole. My question is this: Who doesn’t make their own guacamole?!

Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

Call me a DIY snob, but I think this is actually a guacamole-specific issue. I’ve bought plenty of storebought hummus in my day (despite also making it at home quite frequently). But guacamole is different.

Ingredients for Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

Grocery store guacamole is a pathetic excuse for even a distant relative of an avocado product. (A disowned relative, maybe.) I don’t know how many liquids, dyes, fillers, or preservatives they mix in to get it to be that slimy, runny consistency, and I don’t want to know either. So grocery store guacamole? Never. I mean I barely even trust restaurants! (<– Okay, this is snobbery, but of the southern California variety.)

Sidenote: you might be wondering, “fine, but what would you do if you no longer lived in California?” I have two answers to that question: 1) buy overpriced avocados and eat real guacamole, but far less often; 2) salsa.

Guacamole with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Speaking of salsa, I’ve always made guacamole with a generous dollop or two of fresh salsa or hot sauce (can I use “dollop” for salsa?), so this recipe is nothing truly revolutionary in that respect. But I’m here to tell you that when I added homemade roasted tomatillo salsa to my guacamole, it blew all previous storebought-salsa-spiked guacamole incarnations out of the water.

Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

Smoky, garlicky, tomato-y in a tomatillo-y way. This recipe is the one reason you should be making your own roasted tomatillo salsa. It’s also a very good reason to get yourself a volcanic stone molcajete (mortar) and tejolote (pestle).

Volcanic rock molcajete, avocados, cilantro, garlic, and roasted tomatillo salsa

A molcajete isn’t absolutely necessary to make guacamole or salsas, but when you’re serving up something this good, you kind of want to honor it a little with the presentation. More importantly, a molcajete will give your guacamole the perfect texture: super smooth in some spots, with just as many larger pieces of partially-smashed avocado throughout as you want there to be. (It will also make your avocado-mashing that much more fun, and that much faster– which takes some of the fun back out of it– although it will of course save you time in a Guacamole Emergency.)

Mashing avocados in the molcajete

If you’re curious, we found our molcajete at a local Mexican grocery store, and googled directions for how to season it. I can’t remember now what websites full of molcajete wisdom we landed on, but here’s how we did it:

Paula soaked the whole thing in water overnight (3 or more hours should do the trick). She then spread out a sheet of plastic on the living room floor (this was a wise move; use plastic or paper for easier clean-up), set the molcajete down in the center of it, poured in a small handful of un-cooked grains of white rice, and proceeded to grind the rice to a powder.

Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

When you try this at home, little black specks will show up in your rice; that is normal. Just keep discarding your ground-up rice and grinding another little handful at a time until your ground rice goes from dark gray to light gray to white. (This took Paula a whole evening of watching Arrested Development and left her arm a bit sore. I suppose I could have offered to help…)

Roasted Tomatillo GuacamolePin it!

Once the ground rice comes out white, your molcajete is seasoned. At this point, you can also grind up some spices or garlic, or just let it gradually become seasoned with those types of flavors as you use it more often for salsas or guacamole. Always wash the molcajete using only water and a scrub brush (you’ll need one)– but never soap– and let air-dry.

Making Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

It seems my ulterior motives behind this blog post have come to light: regardless of whether or not you print out my Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole recipe, I hope I’ve convinced all of you that molcajete ownership is very worth it. (Real volcanic rock molcajete ownership that is; if you use the imitation concrete-laced ones, there will always be a little concrete in your food…) The only hard part, depending on where you live, might be figuring out where to buy one.

Roasted Tomatillo GuacamolePin it!

Print this recipe (includes roasted tomatillo salsa recipe). (PDF)


Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

~ 1 clove garlic
~ 2-3 ripe avocados
~ fresh lime juice (from about ½ of a lime)
~ 5-6 Tbsp. roasted tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
~ handful of cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
~ salt and pepper, to taste

~ dash of ground chipotle or other ground chili pepper
~ dash of hot sauce
~ diced serrano or jalapeño
~ diced fresh tomato
~ diced red or white onion

Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

How to make it:

1. Grind the garlic in your molcajete (or mince, or use a garlic press).

Grinding garlic in the molcajeteAvocados and cilantro for Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole

2. Halve the avocados, slice them lengthwise and crosswise, then use a spoon to scoop out the cubed avocado into your molcajete (or bowl). Smash with the tejolote/pestle (or a fork) until the avocados have reached your desired consistency. (Our molcajete is rather shallow, so it’s helpful to use a spoon to prevent avocado spillage while doing this.)

How to dice an avocadoMaking Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole with a molcajete

3. Squeeze over the fresh lime juice, and stir it into the mashed avocado with a spoon.

4. Stir in the roasted tomatillo salsa and the chopped cilantro, then taste and season with salt, pepper, or ground chipotle, if necessary. Serve with tortilla chips (or on top of chilaquiles, as a vegan alternative to the fried egg!).

Print this recipe! (PDF) (Includes roasted tomatillo salsa recipe.)

Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole with cilantroPin it!

Roasted Tomatillo GuacamolePin it!

Related recipe posts:

Chilaquiles Verdes with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Crema de Aguacate (Mexican Avocado Soup) Avocado Hummus Chayote Mango Salad with Avocado
Chilaquiles Verdes with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Crema de Aguacate (Mexican Avocado Soup) Avocado Hummus Chayote Mango Salad with Avocado
57 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandhya permalink
    May 23, 2013 9:18 am

    Dude, I just made fresh guacamole two days ago. Up here in Tromsø, Norway — 400 miles above the Arctic Circle. They came out awesome (guacamole is my thing — I do it pretty well, if I say so myself). What I’m saying is, there really is no excuse for getting the store-bought. It’s more expensive too, I bet — and, like you say, probably doesn’t taste as good. We don’t have the enviable avocado-bounty you guys do in Cali; avocados can be found in nearly every grocery store (Norwegians love Mexican food, which is yet another testament to their overall coolness), but are often not ripe. We just buy them raw and use them after a week. Easy peasy.

    The tomatillo is an excellent idea (I sometimes add chipotle, which is not the same at all, but still in the category of “adding cool extra things to the guac”) — unfortunately, those I do not get here in Tromsø though I have actually independently searched for it, many a time. Must have tasted fantastic.

    • May 23, 2013 9:38 am

      Yay, thank you for confirming my belief in homemade guacamole, no matter the latitude! :)

      And yes, I remember you made awesome guacamole for us in SB, with red onion and cumin. I really enjoy it that way too (even though Paula wouldn’t eat it because of her thing with onions).

  2. May 23, 2013 9:24 am

    You call it simple, but some people really just don’t know how to make guacamole. I had “guacamole” served by a friend and it was just mashed avocado and lime. Close, but not quite. Basically, don’t undersell a good guacamole recipe! ha!

    • May 23, 2013 9:39 am

      Thanks for the comment! I feel better having posted a guacamole recipe now, because yes, you’re right; this is a REALLY good guacamole recipe. (There, I said it!) :)

  3. May 23, 2013 9:42 am

    Allison, I also like to add tomatillo to my guacamole. The tomatillo doesn’t have to be in the form of salsa; I might dice it raw, or heat it in a dry frying pan to soften it, or simmer it. Because the tomatillo is so acidic, I then reduce or leave out the lime juice.

    I agree with you that guacamole should be made at home, just before it’s eaten. The amazing thing about adding tomatillo, though, is that it somehow keeps the avocado from becoming gray and bitter–for hours, or even a day or longer. I don’t understand why. Tomatillos contain vitamin C, but not nearly as much as limes do. Tomatillos also contain vitamin E, nearly twice as much, by weight, as limes do. Maybe this is enough to keep the avocados from oxidizing?

    Linda Ziedrich

    • May 30, 2013 9:22 am

      Thanks for your comment, Linda! I love your ideas to add tomatillo straight to the guacamole, even if I haven’t made salsa first… I might try dicing it up like you suggested, but then roasting it on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or so, and then tossing it in. Thanks for the ideas!

      (Oh and that’s interesting about tomatillo keeping the guacamole nice and green, too, but I’ve never made guacamole that wasn’t entirely eaten within the hour, so I’ve never gotten the chance to try that experiment! :)

  4. May 23, 2013 10:07 am

    This looks delicious, one for the recipe collection :-) very good point on the shop bought guacamole, here in Belgium they even mix it into a puree which looks more like baby’s vomit… but as I said yours look the real deal :-)

    • May 30, 2013 9:23 am

      Thanks! (And ew, remind me never to even look at– let alone purchase– storebought guacamole in Belgium. That’s so sad; I hope it’s not too hard to find fresh avocados there, too!)

  5. May 23, 2013 11:09 am

    Allison you have, indeed, perfected the guacamole!! We make guacamole so often around here and now I am going to seek out a molcajete! Thank you for the recommendations and a lovely post on guacamole.

    • May 30, 2013 9:24 am

      Yay, your comment made me very happy! I hope you can find a molcajete easily and that you enjoy it just as much as we enjoy ours! (I think we’ve used it at least once a week since we bought it about six months ago…)

  6. May 23, 2013 12:47 pm

    Sounds yummy! I usually mix mine with salsa as well.

    • May 30, 2013 9:48 am

      Thanks! A little salsa is the way to go… otherwise I’d be dicing up onions, tomatoes, etc. and adding them, which is basically like making (several tablespoons of) homemade salsa just to add to the guacamole.

  7. May 23, 2013 2:02 pm

    Question: what do I do when I want to put things like tomatoes and onions or scallions into my guacamole? I like my avocados squished, but my tomatoes less so.

    • May 23, 2013 8:34 pm

      When I add tomatoes or other delicate ingredients to my guacamole, I mix them in gently after mashing up the avocados. I love the different textures!

    • May 30, 2013 9:27 am

      Yes, I would do the same as realappetite suggested: I’d dice the tomatoes, onions, and scallions up separately, then after you get the avocados mashed to your desired consistency, just stir in those other ingredients with a spoon.

      By the way, I used to regularly add diced onions and tomatoes to my guacamole (not anymore, though, since Paula would object to the onions), but scallions are an excellent idea!! I’ll have to try that with my next batch; thank you!

  8. May 23, 2013 2:12 pm

    Nope no snob here just a foodie telling the truth! For something as simple as guacamole there is no sense in buying artificial store products, especially when your recipe looks so spoonable!

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. May 23, 2013 4:36 pm

    YES! I love using salsa to make my guac. It’s such a delicious shortcut. I hadn’t thought of using fancier salsas, though. This is on the to do list for sure. Probably constantly, and all summer long!

    • May 30, 2013 9:29 am

      Yay! I’m honored it’s on your to do list. Constantly and all summer long is the way to go. :)

      (Also, it’s not like it needs to be a fancy salsa, like you said, but especially for homemade salsa that doesn’t last very long because it doesn’t have preservatives, this is a great, easy way to use up any leftover homemade salsa while it’s still good.)

  10. May 24, 2013 2:38 am

    Super cool. And store bought guac is the pitts. I really can’t work out why too because over here you can get a simple avo, chilli, lemon juice, garlic and/or mayo and it still tastes crappy. And I’ve always been a firm believer that, like pesto, you can never have too much guac.

    • May 30, 2013 9:31 am

      I’m with you on that for sure: you can never have too much guacamole! (Or pesto!)

      All of those flavors in that storebought stuff you mentioned sound good, but I think the real problem is mashing up the avocado ahead of time– instead of just before eating– and also maybe mashing it too much, until it’s practically liquidy… ick. At least with pesto you can make it ahead and refrigerate/freeze it!

  11. May 24, 2013 9:42 am

    Nothing in the world like homemade! LOVE your roasted tomatillo guacamole it’s absolutely delicious looking :-)

  12. May 24, 2013 12:40 pm

    i didn’t grow to love avocados until maybe 10 years ago, it was just not something i grew up eating. but now i adore it. there’s a jose andreas restaurant in DC where they make the guacamole at the table for you so you see what goes into it, and it’s good. but i agree, this is a dish best made at home.

    PS. i was in CA just a few weeks ago and the place i rented had gorgeous fruit trees: mango, lemons, oranges and avocado. i am so so jealous of the climate you guys have that you can have these items growing in your yard!

    • May 30, 2013 9:35 am

      Nice! I’m glad you adore avocados now; they are the best.

      Oh and do you mean Oyamel? I’ve been there! (And I ordered the guacamole appetizer, which was served in a molcajete like mine.) It was really good there too, but it’s so simple to make at home, it’s not like I really needed to pay however much I paid to eat it there…

      California is amazing, isn’t it?! I’m not from here– I’ve only been here for 5 years now– but I’m already worried about how I’ll ever adjust if/when I someday move away…

      • May 31, 2013 8:00 am

        yes! oyamel.
        i never thought i would say this, but i really like jose andreas, i think he’s only celebrity chef that i sweat.

  13. May 24, 2013 4:05 pm

    Fresh guac is always the way to go. Store bought always seems to have a weird texture to it.

  14. May 24, 2013 5:48 pm

    Allison you are totally not a DIY snob. Shop-bought guacamole is nothing short of yuk green slime. And I realise I am saying this sitting in my comfortable home in Sydney where avocados are easy to get, but even when I was living in Ireland I still made my own. The trick was to hold onto any avocados until they were really soft, a stint in the hot-press (a uniquely Irish invention) always seemed to do the trick. Thanks for sharing, a good guacamole recipe is never to be sniffed at!

    • May 30, 2013 9:40 am

      Thank you! I feel better now (also sitting in my comfortable home in CA where avocados are easy to get…). But I’m glad to hear from people like you– and another friend who lives in Norway who commented above– that even in Ireland and Norway it is so so worth it to use fresh avocados!

      By the way, what is a hot-press? I’ve never heard of that! (Also, for the record, I just googled it, but I’m still confused, and thought it would be easier to ask… :)

      • June 2, 2013 4:49 am

        Ha! It’s pretty much the Irish term for an airing cupboard. Used for drying clothes, storing bedding and towels and, in our house, for ripening exotic fruit! Our family cat also quite liked snuggling in there. So there was always an exciting myriad of possible finds inside!

      • June 5, 2013 2:21 pm

        Cool! (That is not what I thought it was; I was picturing some kind of electric appliance.) Those sound super useful… other countries besides Ireland should follow suit!

  15. May 25, 2013 7:30 pm

    Fresh guac is the best.

  16. May 26, 2013 3:43 am

    Yum, yum, yum! I LOVE guacamole (and yes, I always make my own! Hehe), and this recipe looks ahmazing. Thank you!

  17. May 26, 2013 1:39 pm

    Your special guacamole looks amazing & pretty to look at too, Allison!

  18. May 27, 2013 8:52 am

    It looks amazing! Never had guac with tomatillo Salsa before. Yes I agree good guac is hard to find in stores these days. Much easier to make yourself and know whats in it and omit what you dont like. Lovely post thanks for recipe! Must reblog this!!!

    • May 30, 2013 9:43 am

      Thanks! I agree; it’s much nicer to make it fresh, in part because you can tailor all the flavors exactly to your liking. (For example, if I’m eating guacamole with really salty chips, then I like the option of adding less salt to the dip itself. And more lime juice… always more lime juice!)

  19. May 29, 2013 8:05 am

    Just made this the other day… it was so easy and extremely delicious!

  20. May 29, 2013 6:47 pm

    I agree with you 110%- I have never, ever had a good (or even decent) tub of store-bought guacamole. No matter the brand, they’re all so slimy and stale-tasting. Always a disappointment, especially considering that it’s so easy to make in the first place. I almost never cook with tomatillos, but I have a feeling that might all change this summer… Your guac looks like a seriously delicious place to start.

    • May 30, 2013 9:46 am

      Thanks, Hannah! Yes, please start exploring with tomatillos; I’d love to benefit from your recipe-make-uppery genius once you start cooking with them. :)

      We make a big batch of the same tomatillo salsa at least once a month in my house (for chilaquiles, but then we use the leftovers for things like this guacamole), and it’s such amazing stuff I think I’ll never get sick of it! But it’s always nice to have other ways to use tomatillos, too, since they’re actually pretty easy to find around here!

  21. June 4, 2013 10:53 am

    I love home-made guacamole and it is SO easy to make! Used to work in Mexican burrito place – we would make approx 20 kg of fresh guacamole every day. Yes, do not forget about the lime juice and oh, coriander – yes, please! Double YES for home-made guacamole!!! :) And… your recipe rocks the guacamole world!

    • June 5, 2013 2:15 pm

      Thanks for your comment! :)

      Whoa, that sounds hardcore. I’m curious– how many avocados would it take to get 20 kg of guacamole?? (I’m glad you still love homemade guacamole and that the job didn’t make you sick of it!)

      • June 5, 2013 2:53 pm

        It takes about 4 standard cases of avocados, so approx 20-23 avocados in one and then a 1 kg of salsa + 4 cups of lime juice. Yeah, I love home made food! :)

  22. June 5, 2013 6:38 am

    This looks great and the salsa to go with it. You also made me wonder what it would be like to add just plain, roasted tomatoes to your salsa. In any case, I agree about making this from scratch and yours looks delicious!

    • June 5, 2013 2:18 pm

      Yum, that sounds like it’d be good, too! I love love love the flavor of roasted tomatoes, and charred tomatoes are so essential in lots of Mexican sauces and salsas; I’m sure they’d add a lot to guacamole as well.

      (It’s not Mexican, but I have a gazpacho recipe up on my blog, and I’ve been making it often but very differently from the recipe I posted– by roasting fresh roma tomatoes first… so much more flavorful! I should post my new version sometime, too!)

  23. June 21, 2013 5:30 pm

    I make guacamole all the time and never thought of adding roasted tomatillos – this looks amazing! thank you for this post!

    • June 28, 2013 4:06 pm

      Thanks for commenting! I always used to add diced fresh tomatoes to my guacamole, even before I had easy access to tomatillos in local grocery stores… now I think even if I couldn’t access tomatillos (and had no time to make salsa), I’d still mix in a tomato or two but I’d roast them first!

  24. July 9, 2013 11:15 pm



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