Conservation tip: eat more guacamole

By now we’re all familiar with the concept of a low-carbon diet, consisting of food that requires less fossil fuel to produce and transport. Here’s a recipe that will help you put theory into practice. If people like this sort of thing, we’ll do more of it.

Summertime marks the arrival of ripe, domestically produced avocados. An avocado’s purpose in life, its truest desire, its raison d’etre, if you will, is to be transformed into a bowl of guacamole. Fresh guac is not only ridiculously simple to make, it repays the effort many times over. Make some tonight. You will thank me.


4 ripe Californian avocados
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or squeezed through a press
2-3 limes
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

Optional: cilantro, chopped jalapeño, a dash of cayenne pepper, cumin, or dried chipotle, etc.


  1. Halve and pit the avocados. Scoop the flesh into a bowl.
  2. Squeeze the limes over the avocados and mash with a fork. Do not overmash — chunkier is better.
  3. Stir in the onion, tomato, garlic, salt, and whatever optional ingredients you want. Adjust the salt until you’re happy.

It’s really hard to screw this up, and there’s a fair amount of latitude to adjust for your own taste. Limes, for example, can vary pretty dramatically in size and juiciness, so I buy a bunch and keep squeezing until I’m happy. I once got my hands on a jar of smoked salt that worked really well in guacamole. You could probably duplicate the effect pretty well with chipotle powder.


  1. Really the only trick to guacamole is getting good avocados. They should give a bit when you squeeze them, but not be mushy. If they’re too hard, let them ripen in a paper bag on your counter for a few days. Do not keep avocados in the fridge.
  2. Easiest way to dismember an avocado: slice it lengthwise around the pit, and twist the two halves in opposite directions. Take a large knife and whack it down onto the pit. Give the knife a twist, and the pit will pop out.
  3. If you like your guac chunky, reserve one of the avocados, dice it, and stir it in at the end. Highly recommended.
  4. There is only one way to ruin guacamole: put it in a blender. The consistency of blended guacamole is terrible.
  5. This recipe makes a lot of guacamole. I can happily eat several avocados in one sitting, but unless you’re throwing a party, you’ll have leftovers. To store guacamole, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole to prevent browning.

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  1. lkhoyt - June 20, 2007

    Those would, of course, be *locally grown* roma tomatoes, onions and garlic…and those of us East of the Mississippi should be getting 1-2 (larger) Florida avocadoes instead of 4 from California, to save a couple thousand refrigerated food miles.

  2. Adam Stein - June 20, 2007

    I’m with you on the tomatoes, onion, and garlic, but I won’t touch Florida avocados. Local is best, but regardless this is still a vegan dish, much better than meat. You can probably more than make up for the food miles by biking to the grocery store.

  3. Ltabanni - June 20, 2007

    If you do continue posting tips like this, and I hope you will, perhaps you could include more foods. There are many more foods readily available during summer like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, depending on your location of course. You should also suggest the best “low-carbon” foods by region.

  4. Anonymous - June 20, 2007

    I’d love to try it. Congratulations on posting a recipe on your website! I’d love to see more recipes too!

  5. Anna - June 20, 2007

    Barbara Kingsolver’s recent book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, is excellent reading on “locovore” issues.

  6. Jackie - June 20, 2007

    Another tip to preserve guacamole or just make it last longer out on the table is to leave a pit or two in the mix, it will help keep the color from going brown.

  7. Rebecca - June 20, 2007

    Excellent addition to the site!

  8. Melanie - June 21, 2007

    Love this idea! Please continue with the low-carbon diet recipes!

  9. Marthajoy - June 23, 2007

    Locally grown avocado is not available at the farmers’ market YET; hoping for next week!
    Thanks for the recipe–please continue.

  10. lkhoyt - June 24, 2007

    Nothing magic about leaving pits in–they only prevent browning by blocking out air wherever they touch. Covering with a layer of plastic wrap in direct contact with guacamole will be more effective. See for more interesting avocado lore.
    Our book club is reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’ve finished it and can highly recommend it.
    And don’t be dissin on the Florida avocados!

  11. Adam Stein - June 24, 2007

    Hm. It’s been so many years (decades?) since I actually had a Florida avocado that I probably should give them another shot. I remember them having a distinctly less appealing texture, but maybe that doesn’t matter when they’re mashed up in guac? I’m admit to some skepticism, but I’ll keep an eye out. Frankly, I don’t even see Florida avocados in the store all that often.

  12. Francois Wannenburg - June 26, 2007

    Thanks for a great website. The recipes are a great idea and a positive way to “put your money where your mouth is” (Excuse the pun) on a daily basis.
    I have many low-carbon recipes and preparation processes for veggies and meat. Maybe you can start a recipe section on the website?

  13. Adam Stein - June 26, 2007

    I’d love to, although I think the rest of the office thinks I’m a freak. Ideally, it would be cross-indexed by season and geography. Hopefully we’ll get there soon.
    In the meantime, if you have any recipes you’d like us to share, drop me a line (adam at Guests posts are welcome.

  14. Ilana - June 27, 2007

    Did you know avocado can be frozen? If you want to start your prep a day or 2 ahead of your party (or your avocados are ripe too early), mash up the avocado and place evenly in the bottom of a ziploc bag. Carefully roll/fold the bag around the avocado so you squeeze out all the air, then close bag. Place inside a 2nd ziploc for safe keeping and freeze.
    I think it takes 3-4 hrs to thaw in the fridge.

  15. Rob - June 27, 2007

    Now, this blog has been the source of a lot of controversy over the few months I’ve been reading it, but this takes the cake: cumin, optional?! What kind of aberrant mutation of guacamole are you trying to guide people to, here? :-)
    (Sadly, I live in Ireland, where avocadoes are never in season and never very nice, but with care and selection the occasional gem is to be found. I’ve always assumed that their short shelflife made them an especially inefficient foodstuff. Healthy and delicious, and as you say probably still better than meat, so oh well.)

  16. Francois Wannenburg - July 5, 2007

    Thanks Adam,
    I’ll be sending you some recipes soon.

  17. Laura - July 10, 2007

    Here’s an easy way to remove air from a ziplock bag – “zip” the bag almost to the corner, then quickly suck the remaining air out and close the bag. Good for freezing breads, etc., too.
    I had my first California avocado sandwich of the summer from California (the best in my book) last week, but I live in SC. Yikes, I know – I should turn to FL ones. Thank you for the recipe, cumin in never optional, and we are having guacamole tonight!

  18. Laura - July 19, 2007

    I LOVE guacamole and make it for all parties and friends parties as it gets lots of requests. I was just in Florida and i tried my exact same recipe with the Florida avocados and you can skip them. The guac doesn’t even come close to tasting half as good as the haas. The “Fla codos” are watery and tasteless in comparison. Also cumin is a must, so is kosher salt, ground black pepper, Serrano chili, and a dash of hot sauce. Try it and you’ll never go back! Enjoy and great addition to the site – Thanks!

  19. kfc coleslaw recipe - August 2, 2008

    This is a great tips. nice job Adam.

  20. Fr Greg Sharkey - September 8, 2008

    Here in Nepal, where local avocados grow more numerous and popular each year (they were only introduced a few decades ago) we have some interesting variations. For regular or kosher salt we substitute ‘black salt’, which can be found in Indian grocery stores in the US. (It’s actually purple and has a sulphurous scent that tastes better than it smells.) We also use an Himalayan wild pepper called ‘timur’. It’s nearest cousin is Szechuan peppercorn.

  21. Adam Stein - September 8, 2008

    Hey Greg — I fixed the attribution in your previous comment. And thanks for the recipe. It sounds great!