Guacamole is a delicious, versatile dip that’s been around for centuries, originating in Mexico under the Aztec Empire.
Today, there are endless ways to make this dip, with some adding fresh options like cilantro and lime, and others opting for unique ingredients like peas.
I wanted to find the best recipe for this timeless avocado-based dip, so I decided to test four options by chefs Aarón Sánchez, Enrique Olvera, Roberto Santibañez, and Bobby Flay.
Here’s how the recipes turned out and what I loved about each one:
Sánchez’s recipe called for plenty of fresh ingredients – and optional grasshoppers
Chef Sánchez’s recipe for guacamole includes an optional handful of crispy chapulines (Mexican grasshoppers) as a garnish.
I left these out based on my own personal preference, but I was still intrigued by all of the fresh ingredients in this dip, and I appreciated the additional garnish of queso fresco and sliced radish.
This guacamole was worth the wait
With all of the extra ingredients, this recipe took longer to make than the others.
I started by grinding a serrano chile using a mortar and pestle, before mixing in lime juice, onion, and cilantro.
From there, I mashed my avocados in a separate bowl.
The recipe then said to add salt and oregano, which is not on the ingredients list, so I trusted my gut that this was a typo and used the rest of my cilantro instead.
Finally, it was time to mix in the chili-paste mixture.
I also added freshly chopped onion and tomato, a sprinkle of queso fresco, and thinly sliced radish.
The fresh ingredients offered an array of flavors and a contrast of textures
Sánchez’s guacamole turned out amazing. All of the fresh ingredients added a variety of flavors.
The dip was spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. The cool, refreshing avocado, cilantro, and lime balanced out the heat from the serrano pepper.
The tomato, onion, and radish also added a nice crunch.
Even though it took the longest to make, the extra time and effort paid off in a big way.
I was excited to test this spicy pea guacamole from Olvera
Chef Olvera, head chef and owner of renowned restaurant Pujol, offers a unique twist on guacamole with the addition of peas.
I love peas, so I looked forward to seeing how they tasted in guacamole. The only thing that I was unsure about was the lack of lime juice, which is one of my favorite ingredients.
Aside from some issues with my small mortar, this was pretty easy to throw together
The first step involved breaking down the cilantro and pepper in a mortar.
Mine is small, so I started in the mortar and ended up moving the mix to a larger mixing bowl. I was still able to use the pestle to start breaking down these ingredients before adding in some thawed frozen peas and avocado.
I smashed this all together – leaving much of it in larger chunks as directed – then mixed in the salt.
The guacamole was thick and spicy
As expected, with no added liquid this was a very chunky guacamole.
In each bite, I first got the avocado flavor, followed by a hint of pea, then a long, slow burn from the serrano chile.
Because serranos are hotter than jalapeño, this was a spicier dip than some of the others, but certainly not in a bad way.
I enjoyed the flavors, but I definitely missed the lime. In the future, I’d add just a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the end.
Santibañez’s recipe called for the simplest ingredients
Santibañez, owner and chef of restaurants Fonda and Mi Vida, has a quick and easy guac recipe that results in a smaller portion than the others – making it ideal for a busy weekday snack or weeknight appetizer.
I had some trouble breaking down the onion and jalapeño, but otherwise, this was quick to make
I started this dip by breaking down the diced onion and jalapeño in the mortar, but the onions were releasing so much juice that everything started sliding out. I squished them as much as possible before adding the avocado.
Then, I transferred the mix to a larger bowl and smashed the avocado just slightly, because according to Santibañez, “There is a very important textural thing to guacamole – we never really mush up the avocado. You want to feel everything.”
At the end, I stirred in a squeeze of fresh lime juice. The entire process took just a few minutes.
The guacamole beautifully balanced spicy flavors with cooler ingredients
I loved the simplicity of this guacamole’s flavor profile. It had a cool, fresh taste with a slight kick from the jalapeño.
I could even still taste the avocado because it wasn’t overpowered by lime juice or cilantro.
The texture was also great because it wasn’t too chunky or too liquidy.
I was intrigued by the addition of canola oil in Flay’s guacamole recipe
Flay uses pretty standard ingredients in his guacamole recipe. But there was one interesting addition: canola oil.
I decided to try it, although I was concerned it would make the dip too greasy.
The recipe also said to use one or two jalapeños, and I decided to go with just one.
This was the easiest guacamole of the four to make
The longest step involved in making this guacamole was just chopping the produce. Otherwise, it was as straightforward as smashing everything together in a large bowl.
Even with washing and chopping the produce, this took less than 10 minutes to make.
The dip turned out a little too liquidy, but it tasted great
I thought the flavor of this guacamole turned out pretty good. It had a little too much tang from the lime juice, but the amount of heat was perfect – I was glad I opted for just one pepper.
The recipe called for a lot of lime juice, and combined with the canola oil, it made the guac just a bit too liquidy.
Next time, I’d use about half of the canola oil and lime juice. However, I noticed that the canola oil helped the leftovers last slightly longer in the fridge than the other recipes, so I wouldn’t omit it completely.
They all tasted amazing, but Sánchez’s guacamole is my all-time favorite
I can confidently say I’d give all of these recipes another try.
I might add a few tweaks and personal touches to some of them, but I could eat the guacamole using Sánchez’s exact recipe (sans grasshoppers) over and over again with no complaints.
I loved how each of these recipes brought their own unique spin, but Sánchez’s had just a bit more flavor and flair with all the extra ingredients and the beautiful presentation.
The spicy pea guacamole will be my go-to spring recipe when peas are fresh and in-season. For a quick guacamole, ideal for busy weeknight dinners, Flay’s will fit the bill. And when I want a simple option, I’d happily try Santibañez’s recipe again.
But when I have a little more time or am entertaining guests, Sánchez’s guacamole recipe will definitely join the table.
Read the original article on Insider