mama canales-garcia’s avocado-shrimp salsa

I’m not a summer person. Is it uncool to admit that you sort of hate sweating? Probably, so it’s a good thing you already knew I was a dork. New York City summers seem to be endless strings of heatwaves, and humidity so thick that even 82 degrees can feel like 105. Being pale and freckled, I seem to go through my body weight in sunscreen each summer, and still burn. Inside, the window air-conditioner units are always buzzing and always too cold; I consider summer something I must endure until my real love — crunchy fall leaves, cardigans, apple cider stands — returns in late September.

tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, avocado and shrimp
tiny shrimps, cut tinier is triply redundant, right?

Or so I thought. This summer, something has shifted and it’s like I finally paid attention, and when I did, I realized I’ve had it all wrong. Summer is awesomely, fantastically busy, and with only the good stuff, long days and social butterfly weekends. We haven’t even put the kid to bed on Sunday night before we start discussing how many friends-with-pools/barbecues/ferry excursions/beach towns/playground sprinklers/grilled anything we might be able to stuff into the next weekend. When the heat starts melting your brain, and with it, any ridiculous attempts at dissecting something you read in The New Yorker that week, you get to instead have intense discussions about the ideal popsicle format, how to best fill water balloons, which beaches have the silkiest sand and who makes the best Aperol Spritz. (Buvette, you’re winning.) I realized that there’s barely a month left to summer yesterday, and felt sad, because we need more time. The whole time I’ve been kvetching, summer waged a quiet war on my view of the seasons (“Does fall have watermelon this good? I didn’t think so!” “When was the last time you saw a rainbow through a sprinkler in January?!”) and it won.

chop this: small tomatoes or big

mince that: red onion, but you should use white
mince this: jalapeno, or you can skip it

And you should too. My friend Danny is an excellent cook, which is good because when he met his wife, my friend Jocelyn (who you might already know by now), she used her oven for sweater storage, and thought it was strange that I did not. He’s always got a batch of homemade tomatillo salsa in the fridge, and he uses it on everything he can throughout the week. We came over one night with plans to go out for dinner and he was making chicken tacos on a George Foreman grill and we thought, “Really? This is what you want instead?” until we tried them, and have been nudging him to make them for us since. (Nudge.)

mama canales-garcia's avocado shrimp salsa

And this is the salsa he puts out at every party with tortilla chips, or at least I thought it was his. As should be no surprise, behind every great cook is an even greater one, and this in fact originates with his mother, Mama Canales-Garcia, a woman I haven’t met but am certain we would all adore because seriously, look at this. In it, you take the tomatoes you were probably going to use to make a pico de gallo and the avocados you were going to make guacamole with, and the shrimp you’d destined for a grill and combine them into an all-in-one salsa/dip/salad/taco filling/most requested pot-luck dish/ideal dinner for any of the al fresco heat wave meals to come. Summer is even more grand, it turns out, with this in it.

a little more lime in the salsa

More salsas: Salsa Fresca, Cantaloupe Salsa, Black Bean Confetti Salad and (Not Danny’s) Tomatillo Salsa

One year ago: Zucchini Rice Gratin
Two years ago: Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey
Three years ago: Raspberry Brown Sugar Gratin
Four years ago: Peach and Creme Fraiche Pie
Five years ago: Sauteed Radish and Sugar Snaps with Dill
Six years ago: Red Pepper Soup (we love this, still)

Mama Canales-Garcia’s Avocado and Shrimp Salsa

I didn’t get a chance to make this with Danny directing me (on their wedding china, against their giant loft windows, sigh), so I made a couple bloopers. One, Danny doesn’t use jalalpeños, because he finds them unreliable (some are so mild they taste like bell peppers, some are so hot they’ll ruin the dish). Instead, he leaves the heat on the side in the form of Tapatio hot sauce. Always Tapatio, don’t even ask. Danny also shares my view that finely chopped white onions are vastly superior to red ones in salsas and guacamoles. Alas, three different stores failed to produce one, and red it was. I hope Mama Canales-Garcia forgives us. :)

Please, adjust everything here to taste. Maybe you want more tomatoes or shrimp or lime. You might want extra heat and no onions. This recipe is intended for your kitchen, you plate, your belly, so make it the way you’d like it.

Makes about 6 cups salsa

1 pound small shrimp, shelled and deveined or pre-cooked and defrosted
2 firm-ripe avocados, halved, scored into a small dice
2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered or 2 cups chopped tomatoes, drained a little
1/2 small white onion, very finely chopped (use red if you can’t find white)
1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
Drizzle of olive oil
Juice of 1 to 2 limes
Handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Hot sauce, on the side
Tortilla chips, to serve

To cook the shrimp: Bring salted water* to a boil and turn off heat. Add shrimp, cover pot and let stand until firm and pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain shrimp, pat dry and chill.

Make salsa: Chop shrimp into small bites and put in medium bowl. Scoop avocados into bowl. Add tomatoes, white onion, jalapeño (if using, to taste) and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the juice of one lime, and a second one, if needed. Add salt to taste, then cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

* If you have more time, you can first make a shrimp stock with about 3 cups water, 1 cup beer or wine, the reserved shrimp shells, additional lime juice or the peels from the lime juice you’ll use in the salad and some peppercorns or red pepper flakes. Boil these together for 20 minutes, then strain the mixture. Cook the shrimp in this stock instead.

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219 comments on mama canales-garcia’s avocado-shrimp salsa

  1. I always love your recipes. Mainly because they are truly original and yours. This one is no exception. I love all the indigents on the recipe so I’ll be putting this together very very soon. :-)

  2. Liz L.

    How did you read my mind? I’m going to a bbq on Saturday and was trying to think of a ceviche/dip/salsa/summe- type thing to bring that didn’t require a fork. Thanks, I cannot wait to try this!

  3. Zoë

    This looks amazing and I may use it for a Luau potluck I’ve been invited to, but my big question is do you have Danny’s tomatillo salsa recipe? I’ve been searching for a good one because I’m addicted to (don’t judge me) Chipotle’s tomatillo salsa and want to make any salsa with tomatillos.

  4. Zoë

    Oh, just noticed you have a tomatillo salsa recipe on your site. Duh, should have checked first. Is that still what you would reccommend? From your October 2008 post with the acorn squash quesadillas?

  5. And now I’m waiting to be invited to a potluck. This looks scrumptious. Beautiful post, beautiful recipe. What’s your secret for the right avocado-pick – after-purchase/pre-guacamole?

    1. deb

      Tammy — To live in California. :) Seriously, I never get it right. I waited too long to make this and now have 5 avocados in the fridge about to become guac.

      Guacamole — I’m probably opening a can of worms here, but is anyone else wildly opposed to garlic in their guacamole? I’m just curious. And also probably stirring the pot. It just tastes wrong, wrong, wrong to me.

      1. Jill form Detroit

        I like garlic in almost everything but Not in Guac, NO, NO, No! A little onion, (and white is best for raw Mexican dishes, like guacamole and pico), lime juice, salt and maybe diced tomato (but i never put it in).

    1. deb

      Belinda — Our avocado stayed green. But, if you’re nervous, you can first toss it with the first half-lime’s worth of juice to make sure it is fully coated, then add it to the salad.

    1. deb

      JP — I’m quite particular about onion varieties in dishes, so it may not bother you, but I only like yellow onions for cooking with heat.

      Alyssa — Me too, but I was making this for my husband who likes it. Long story! Anyway, use parsley or skip it.

  6. Guacamole takes garlic very well, to answer the general question posted by Deb.

    This article makes me want to go to my spot in Westport, WA, catch some lingcod, make about a half-gallon of ceviche, and eat it all in one sitting. Or just buy some shrimp. Either way.

  7. Alyssa

    I despise cilantro, although I know that’s usually the go-to for salsa. Is that what you used here? Is it worth it to substitute with parsley or should I leave the herbs out??

  8. Maggie

    As a newly diagnosed gluten intolerant person (DH for those in the know), I very much appreciate this salad / salsa dish. One question – how long would it keep if you made ahead (I’m thinking this would be a great and FILLING lunch option for me, since I now struggle sans sandwiches…)?

    Deb – first time commenting, but love the site and cookbook. My sister and I both got each other the cookbook for Christmas without telling the other…

  9. Mike B

    Deb, not much of a fan of minced garlic in guac either, but I like a little mashed into a paste then blended throughout. Either way, it should be eaten that day imo.

  10. liz

    first time commenting, and holy cow this looks amazing!!! i too am a New Yorker with a complicated relationship with summer, but share your love for farmer’s markets. and my new job is around the corner from the one at Rockefeller Center! guess where i’ll be on my lunch break on Wednesday… :)

  11. My wife and I are huge salsa fans – can’t wait to try this one. Also linked over to your cantaloupe salsa recipe. Hardest part will be choosing which one to try first.
    Enjoy what’s left of summer.

  12. Kimberly

    I’m with you 100% on the no-garlic-in-guac opinion.

    It is fortuitous that you posted this now, I just had a shrimp salad from Whole Foods at a pot luck this weekend. It was delicious, but pretty expensive considering the ingredients. I’m excited to make it on my own! Thanks!

  13. Robin

    I grew up in a very Mexico-influenced part of the country (Arizona), about thirty miles from the border. Garlic in guacamole is strange to me. I like it best with nothing more than salt and lime added to those delicious avocados, but it’s one of those things that is highly customizable and some people seem to like it more as a salsa/guacamole combination with all those chunky things they put in it.

    1. deb

      Guacamole — I’m so loving this discussion, and that I’m not alone in finding garlic all wrong in it. Opinions on diced tomatoes as well? Needless to say, I am anti-.

      P.S. Does anyone remember when Trader Joe’s sold frozen avocado? It was such a good deal, and so inexpensive for guacamole for those of us living on the wrong side of the country for perfect avocados.

  14. Deanna

    Time to go get some chips from my favorite Mexican grocery store so I can have this for dinner. It’s pretty brilliant. I might be alone in thinking this, but I bet some mango would be amazing in here too.

    As for guacamole, every time I watch Ina make guacamole I get irrationally irritated. She always insists avocados have no flavor (an opinion I very strongly disagree with) and she adds garlic. Maybe it’s my SoCal upbringing, but I think guacamole should be avocados, salt, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro…if that. Usually when I say I want guacamole, I mean mashed avocado and salt.

  15. Deb-raw garlic can definitely be overwhelming in guacamole. Have you ever tried it with roasted garlic? (then again, what isn’t good with roasted garlic).
    Love the recipe-I tend to eat/shovel salsa and chips like it’s dinner and this actually could be-perfect!

  16. Rachel

    I’m so glad you brought up the garlic in guacamole thing! I always find it WAY too overpowering. My idea of perfect is just avocado, salt, hit of Tabasco, and lemon or lime juice.

  17. Tracy

    My favorite guacamole recipe is Roberto Santibañez’ Classic Guacamole – I assume you mentioned it here at some point, because I have spent the past year addicted to every recipe mentioned on your amazing blog. Here is one link. Absolutely the world’s best guac. And no, it does not have garlic in it.

    But today I will try your current recommendation because it also looks delicious.

  18. Stacy

    Nope, no garlic in my guac. I like my avocados mashed with a little chopped onion, salt, lime juice and bit of cilantro, but if I don’t have it, nbd. I never like Trader Joe’s, if it’s the same one you’re thinking of because it had a strong garlic taste to me.

  19. Brooks

    I’ve had sixty-two years in which to come to come to some sort of detente with the Ninth Circle of Hell that is summer in NYC. I cannot conceive of this ever happening.

    Fall and winter are my seasons. The problem with spring is that by early March I’m already dreading summer.

    Mama Canale’s dish looks beautiful. Thank you (and thank her) for the recipe!

  20. Maria

    This looks delish, you can almost say its a play on ceviche de camaron. Or even coctel de camaron minus the liquid. As for the garlic in guac I say big no-no, but I put tomatoes in mine along with onion, jalapenos, serrano chiles, lemon, and salt. I find the plain guacamole too boring.

  21. Mike B

    Re: guac. I think it matters also what variety of avocado is being used. Hass avocados have a wonderful, full, nutty taste when ripe. I’ve had some other (particularly smooth-skinned) types that def need help in the taste category. They can be bland and kind of watery. Fortunate to be in so Cal for this reason alone. Stores practically give the things away.

  22. Talk about a modern take on shrimp cocktail, what a great idea! My CSA has dumped a few pounds of white onions on me in the last couple weeks, so any new salsa ideas like this are more than welcome!

  23. Alexis

    I was fortunate to meet Danny’s mother back in 2009. Sweet lady who taught her son very well! This is one of the fabulous Garcia dishes. But what’s even better s when you mix Garcia experimentation with tried and true Smit Kitch recipes and-voila!- a fabulous new beast. Brisket tacos, I’m talking about you!

  24. JanetP

    Garlic yes, tomatoes no. I didn’t like TJ’s frozen avocados that much — they tasted funny to me, probably the citric acid they put on them to keep color. Anyway, this salad looks absolutely lovely, and I bet it would be great with leftover lobster too.

  25. Jocelyn

    @Alexis: OMG the tacos Danny makes out of Deb’s brisket are to DIE for. He even pickles the onion. My mouth is watering right now!

  26. Kristina

    No garlic or tomatoes in the guac. Avocados, salt, lime juice, green onions (with the white part diced fine), cilantro, and when no ones looking a small spoonful of best foods mayonnaise. Weird, I know, but perfectly creamy and you don’t put enough mayo to taste it- just a small scoop! I’m born and raised in SoCal, in case that matters ;)

  27. Sarah

    Hi Deb, I agree re: garlic being too much in guacamole. I found the ideal onion-ey flavour comes from using a shallot. That’s straight out of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and the first time I made it, I realized that’s exactly how to make guacamole taste like guacamole.

  28. Vanessa

    I’m totally biased, as Mama Canales-Garcia is my Tia, but this is the best salsa ever. If you ever get a chance, you should ask Mama Canales-Garcia to make posole for you! She is so attentive to detail and the end result is a delicate broth with melt-in-your-mouth-hominy. Don’t get me started on her tamales! Hopefully, Danny will throw down this Christmas.

  29. Maria in Oregon

    I really hate summer! I’m dodging a party after work this evening because with crap A/C in my car, I’ll be dripping wet and miserable by the time I get there. I’m freezing all day in my air-conditioned office, then I drive home and there’s sweat dripping in my eyes, soaking my blouse, dripping off my chin, down my neck, and I feel like throwing up. Seriously, bring on the fall with cool days and crunchy leaves!

    That said, this dish looks good. Reminds me of something, I think he called it ceviche, that someone I know made a couple of weeks ago, but he “cooks” the shrimp in lime juice. He also uses sliced radishes. It’s to die for.

  30. Heidi C

    When I make guacamole, it has avocado, lime juice, and salt. I agree on the no tomato thing, but I don’t mind garlic.

  31. Katie H

    My favorite version of this is shrimp, avocado, jicama, and grapefruit. A little shallots or onion and jalapeño, cilantro and salt.

  32. Rose

    Californian here. Guacamole may have a little fresh diced tomato (not too much, of course) but no garlic. If your guacamole is anything less than minimum 90% avocado, you’re definitely doing it wrong.

    Here, we like it with lime (lemon if you prefer it) and salt, not much else needed.

    Do you recommend bay shrimp only? Any other suggestions for protein substitutions?

  33. Nena

    I’m thinking of leaving the shrimp whole, and serving over a lettuce mix for a dinner salad. with chips on the side!

  34. Cat

    Absolutely no garlic in the guac! Never ever! Though, as another poster pointed out, I also only ever buy Haas.

    Would this salsa be as good without the tomatoes? My daughter is allergic, but she likes shrimp and I think she’d really go for this dish.

  35. Melissa

    garlic in guacamole? I’ve never even heard this suggested, but it doesn’t sound right. I am also ambivalent about the tomatoes. I prefer good salsa fresca, so I like my tomatoes that way.

    Deb, do you have a recommendation for those of us shrimp averse? I was thinking white beans, but I don’t know if that’s quite the right effect. This looks so good though, that I am thinking about making it with the shrmp. Who knows, maybe I would like it. My husband would love it even if I didn’t, and he’d be pleased to eat all of it.

    1. deb

      ATG — I find them milder and more neutral somehow. I love their slight crunch but also how they’re almost invisible in the food.

      Shayley — You can use lemon.

  36. Sally

    I remember when Trader Joe’s sold the frozen avocados. I don’t like garlic in my guacamole and like #34 Robin, like guacamole with only avocado, lime juice and salt, though I will add other ingredients (depends on who else will be eating it).

    This salsa/salad/dip sounds wonderful. All I need are the avocados. I have white onions!

  37. Megan

    I’m half Nicaraguan, on my mother’s side. My maternal grandmother makes pico de gallo first (tomatoes, white onion, serrano chile, lime or lemon juice, salt, and white pepper) in order to make her guacamole. Garlic and cilantro are optional in the pico; sometimes she uses them and sometimes she doesn’t. Then you mash the avocados, and add the pico and salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I add more lime or lemon juice as well. I make extra pico so that I can enjoy it for the rest of the week, or however long it lasts. It’s absolutely delicious with scrambled eggs!

  38. Meg

    I’m neutral on the guac situation re: garlic–usually add a clove minced very finely, but that’s because I believe garlic can go in everything. Cilantro is also optional. Used to be a red-onion aficionado and have since switched to white; I think it has a slightly cleaner flavor.

    …However, it MUST be lime, not lemon, and plenty of it!

  39. Cara

    I had everything, except cilantro, and so this was lunch today! Amazing! I used red onion and have found that if I let it pre-marinate in the lime juice for 5-10 minutes before mixing it, it’s a bit more mild and perfect for my fickle, heartburn-prone, pregnant belly. That was just about the time it took me to chop everything else up and YUM. I did opt to add the avocado right before eating rather than risking it getting brown though, but I’m going to eat this for lunch for the next few days too. If I was planning on serving it all at once, I wouldn’t have done that.
    Thanks Deb!

  40. Kim

    You hate cilantro? Deb!!! I am so disappointed! I dearly love the stuff and have never understood how anyone can find it soapy.

  41. Katie

    I’m with Megan on guac – I always first make pico de gallo by mashing the ingredients one at a time with a mortar and pestle and then mix some into the mashed avocados. If you remove the middle part of the garlic (like I read about in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table), the taste is a lot less…assertive. I use 1 garlic clove (sans middle) per pico recipe and just a few spoonfuls of pico per avocado. So there’s not a lot in there, anyway.

  42. This sounds fantastic! I do put a clove of garlic that I mash with kosher salt in my guacamole, plus a little finely minced onion, minced jalapeno, salt, lime juice, cilantro & Tapatio {LOVE Tapatio!}. Looking forward to trying this with homemade corn tortilla chips!

  43. Sharon from California

    @deb: I didn’t realize the origin of the recipe but Tracy’s (comment 42) is exactly the recipe I use for guacamole. It’s plain and simple (no garlic, no tomato) but all about the technique.
    I don’t have room for a molcajete in my kitchen so I just chop everything but the avocado into a fine paste on my cutting board then mix it with the avocado in a bowl. Ever since I’ve learned this technique we have become the guac suppliers for parties.

  44. Rachel

    I learned to make guacamole when I lived in Cuernavaca. No garlic! These days I put the following in my guac: diced avocado, lime juice, a tiny bit of finely minced onion, ground cumin, salt……and boatloads of cilantro.

  45. Such a refreshing and healthy summer recipe! You’ve combined some of my favorite ingredients in one dish: tomatoes, avocado and shrimps! How is it that I’ve never thought about combining them all together myself?! Good job Mama Canales Garcias :)

    xo, Elisa

  46. This looks great, minus the shrimp. We don’t eat shrimp but I wonder how it would be with either slightly seared tuna slices or with grouper that has been made into a quick ceviche.
    Re: guac – I make it with Haas avocados only and lime, sometime a bit of minced garlic, salt and lots of cilantro. Son likes minced scallion in it. Daughter likes a bit of heat so a bit of minced jalapeño. More often than not I make why we call “mash”. You can probably guess at the idea. Mash up an avocado, add salt and pepper. Eat. DH stared calling avocados guacamoles when we were first married because that’s all he thought you could do with them. Silly boy.

  47. Duna

    I make something very similar, but I add mangoes, sweet corn, and red peppers (and sometimes black beans), which makes it even more colourful and a legitimate full meal. Another good thing to do is to mix the shrimp, lime juice, salt and cilantro ahead of time and let it sit for a few hours or overnight – so much flavour!

  48. Debra

    Do you think the food police would arrest me if I used sriracha in that yummy recipe?

    Re guac: best ever is made in the store at Whole Foods.

  49. Christine

    Must have been on the same wave length last night – made a similar tomato avocado salsa, but instead of shrim, we served it over pan fried trout filets – that my husband then rolled into corn tortillas. Love this idea with shrimp as a dipping salsa!

  50. Mamie Brouwer

    Well, I can taste this in my head without it even passing over my lips. It tastes like summer. I would suggest that, since you’re already using lime in this dish, to combine uncooked prawn and scallops in the lime juice for several hours as a cebeche, before combining with the fresh ingredients. I love cebeche having eaten my weight equivilent during a trip along coastal Peru. Either way, this will be a keeper in my summer quick dish list.

  51. I live in Mexico on the coast so it’s always summer and I love it! I always use garlic, tomato and cilantro in my guacamole and cholula. Never thought about making it a main course by adding shrimp. Since we can get it fresh nearby I will try this for sure.

  52. Liz S.

    This looks awesome – but I think we would be substituting marinated grilled chicken breasts (neither of us does shellfish for taste/medical reasons) for the shrimp. I would be happy just downing it as a chopped salad!

  53. SallyO

    This looks amazing! As far as guac, I’d have to say I’m a purist. Haas avocados, for the creamy, buttery texture, finely chopped white or sweet onion, not too much tho, finely chopped jalapenos, a sprinke of sea salt, lime (or lemon) juice and cilantro. No garlic, not ever! I live in the DC area, and the best guacamole I ever had was at Jose Andres’ Cafe Atlantico. It’s made table-side in a big molecajete and you can’t even imagine how yummy. I’m also a huge fan of tomatillo salsa, which is so danged easy to make. I usually have some in the fridge at any point in time. 1lb. of tomatillos roughly chopped, a quarter of a medium onion roughly chopped, 1 small jalapeno, a quarter cup of cider vinegar (so it keeps longer) couple ofminced garlic cloves, juice of half a lime, and a small handfful of cilantro. Whir it up in a food processor (or blender), add salt and pepper to taste. Viola! I put it on everything from meat to seafood and even scrambled eggs.

  54. I cannot really picture a vegetarian protein that would go well in this, which is too bad because it is awfully pretty.

    I know they make vegan shrimp now, but for some reason the idea of even trying it frightens me.

  55. Cary

    I’ve been making a version of this for parties for awhile now…disappears fast!
    Try adding or subbing quickly poached and quartered tiny bay scallops, they really take on flavors well.

  56. I make one time a similar salad, now i want try yours, 15 minutes and I will see how good that is! Thanks for that recipe, also you have always have this good photos, looks very professional!

  57. JP

    Just to add my two bits, no garlic in guac, but besides the avocados and lemon/lime juice and salt we sometimes add…do not go into shock here…a spoonful of sour cream. You would be surprised as I was how it smooths things out and what flavor! Yum! Only Hass avocados, of course, as mentioned above (no other sort are worth it as far as my taste buds are concerned).

    1. deb

      Good Reads list — The list was generated by Google Reader (which I used to read the listed sites). Google Reader shut down July 1st, so the page went blank and I had to take it down. I can’t put it back up until I find another solution. Sadly, none of the other RSS readers I’ve checked out have this feature.

  58. Huh. So, I find myself in the minority. I do like garlic in my guac- but I love garlic in everything. So there’s that…I tend to use lemon juice in my quest to keep avocados green. I find that lemon works better than lime for some odd reason. The salad above is super pretty- all the colors of summertime. Summer is the most wonderful time of the year for produce, hands down. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, green beans, field peas, fresh basil, cucumbers, berries, potatoes…our market tables are overflowing with so much goodness. We are super spoiled down South!

  59. Kim M

    For those who can’t eat an entire avocado in 1 sitting, or for us SINGLES out there.. i like to leave the pit in the halved or quartered avocado. it keeps nicely this way in the fridge.

  60. Laurie

    Came for your writing – stayed for the recipes. Love your blog. Love your writing. Shocker of shocks I’m starting to try cooking thanks to you. Please keep it up. If you ever write a book (of any kind) I’m in for a copy.

  61. Nickii

    Love this salsa recipe. Think I’ll skip the chips and just eat it with a spoon.
    I too prefered the white onions to the red until I read about quick pickling the red with vinegar, salt and sugar. Now I prefer the red. It isn’t too much extra work and they taste so good.

  62. Jocelyn

    After buying a jar of pickles my husband saves the juice and slices onions, red or white, into the left over pickle juice. Then he uses them on tacos or wraps or whatever.

  63. I, too, am a summertime grouch here in NYC, but this recipe sounds like the perfect way to turn my mood around! It’s so colorful and the spiciness should help with cooling off. I’d love to make this and add sweet yellow corn & basil, I can never have too many herbs!

  64. Cindy

    I agree with Maria. Definitely looks like Coctel de Camarones or a Campechana without the “cocktail” sauce. Looks delicious and very portable for a barbecue. There is a salad almost identical to this one-from the region of Jalisco, Mexico that does not contain shrimp, but hold on to your shorts, includes pork skins, yes pork skins! Perhaps your friend’s mom is from Jalisco? I make this salad as often as I can. Or at least as often as I can hide pork skins from my husband long enough to make it into this salad. People always knock this salad until they try it. As a Texican, I can most definitely agree with you that garlic has no place in my guacamole!

  65. Allie B.

    I (and the family) all despise cilantro (it’s one of those things you either LOVE or HATE). Do you think dill would be a good sub for the cilantro?

  66. Sally

    Deb — Another cilantro-hater here. I got a chuckle from the New York Times article. I’m convinced that a huge part of the reason I like Ina Garten so much is that she’s also a cilantro-hater!

  67. I don’t like raw garlic (or onion) in my guacamole, but –brace yourself– I do like a tiny bit of garlic powder in it. It adds a little zing but without that strong garlicky business. I don’t like tomatoes in it either. The only chunks should be the avocado that didn’t get smooshed.

    Also, I hated cilantro as a teenager, tolerated it by my 30’s, and love it now that I’m 40. So you never know.

  68. Deb,
    You, mama and your friend Danny, have it right. These are some of my fav’s and it takes me to MX but not, because with the right, hand-picked produce and what ever fish you like, wow its a favourite! For sure.

  69. Hillary

    This is my dream: a guacamole discussion!
    I like mine with GIANT chunks of tomato and onion and heavy on the cilantro. I love to smear avocado with salt on bread, crackers, eggs, beans, etc. but I don’t consider this guac unless it contains tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, lime, and cilantro. I don’t put garlic in my guacamole, but I do think avocado and garlic work well together. I like to make a dip with avocado, Greek yogurt, garlic, and lime – combined until super smooth. It’s delicious – but again I don’t consider this guacamole.

    I studied abroad in Brazil and learned that Brazilians use avocados in smoothies and milkshakes and rarely/never use them in savory dishes. My host family was grossed out when I told them I like to add onions and tomatoes and salt!

  70. Mel

    Tip for avocados (from a picky former-Californian): select them unripe (this is pretty much the only option for the organic ones from TJ’s, where I am) and then ripen them in a paper bag *along with an apple* on the counter. Depending how hard they are when you get them, they should be ripe and tender in a day or two, ready for guac in 3 or so days. Transfer to the fridge as they get to your desired ripeness. Whenever I wait for them to ripen without the help of the apple, they rot inside before they get ripe enough- what a disappointment!

    This recipe looks delicious! Thanks!

  71. Devin

    Loved this and so did my husband! I turned it into a main dish by brushing a little olive oil on some yummy 12 grain bread and grilling it, and then piling on the salsa! Excellent!!

  72. You read my mind about summer! I usually can’t stand it, but this year seems to be different. I think that’s mainly due to the fact that it hasn’t been ridiculously hot the last couple of weeks.

    I can see this salsa on my table or sitting on my desk with a few chips to munch away at every day for the rest of the season!

  73. Ellie Hughes

    This is a perfect WW recipe for me.

    Loved the New Yorker comment as well as your cookbook. The spatch cocked lemon chicken was outstanding but made that before WW.

  74. I am so thrilled for you on your discovery of the beauty of summer!!! Your wonderful prose has a way of showing things in a whole new light.

    Thanks for posting this delicious-looking recipe — perfect for my paleo friends (and seafood-eating ones, too).

  75. Anna

    Here in Dallas we’ve been having an unusually cool summer, so I’m actually enjoying the season for once! I do envy your real autumn, though!

  76. Javajoanne

    I make this but I add a cup or so of Clamato juice… but don’t by that brand… the store brand is exactly the same but much cheaper. I also add diced cucumber and some kosher salt… mmmmmm!!! =) Thanks for reminding me about this delicacy… must… make… now…

  77. Janelle F.

    I love it! I have been wondering why I feel this sense of sadness as summer ends (and we have4+ months of 95-100 degree days)–I mean, it’s not like I have to go back to school anymore–but I think you’ve hit it–adventures, fun, the best watermelon and peaches and corn and tomatoes…mmmmm…

  78. Susan

    I love salsa’s like this. They can be a salad, like this one, or a dip or condiment. I like your idea to use beans instead of the shrimp for those of us who don’t love seafood.
    About guacamole; I mostly keep to the basic ingredients of avocado, shallots, lemon or lime juice (just a little) and salt and pepper. I do mash a tablespoon or two of cream cheese with half an avocado first and just fold in the rest of the ingredients. That little bit of cream cheese gives it a little bit of body and seems to help retard the browning of the guac a little more.

  79. Dawn

    This was DELICIOUS. We swapped out green onions and added corn and black beans…I cannot wait to have it again. Thanks for another winner!

  80. Dahlink

    When I first moved away from California my great-aunt sent me a whole big box of Haas avocados (organic, home-grown). I was thrilled until we opened the box and found nothing but brown mush. I think I cried.

    I do believe that those of us who find cilantro “soapy” have our genes to thank. We can tolerate it (and even enjoy it) in small quantities. But not liking limes? Can’t imagine that!

  81. Lena

    It is stinking hot here yesterday, today, tomorrow….. of all places – Zürich! This is exactly what my palate is craving….. citrus, cilantro, tomatoes, more HEAT! How can anyone be wrong with Tapatio!? Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  82. Laura

    Thank you for this delicious recipe! I though you might like to know that I made it last night — a very hot night in Paris — as part of a main dish. I served a healthy amount on one side of the dinner plate, with freshly cooked (but not too hot) Thai rice on the other side, garnished with a basil leaf.

    My guests LOVED it, and I did, too — so much so that I plan to make it again for a different set of guests tonight!

  83. jmarie3

    made this last night and it turned out great! i might food processor the shrimp, tomatoes and garlic (swapped for onion, didn’t realize the controversy here!) next time to speed things up.

  84. Betsy

    I made this for a party last night, along with your cantaloupe salsa recipe, and both were huge hits. Thanks so much for always providing consistently reliable recipes.

  85. Laura W

    Made this this weekend with tilapia instead of shrimp (because it was cheaper here in the miles-from-shrimping-waters, northern part of Texas), and my husband and I inhaled it. Seasoned the tilapia with salt, pepper, and a little bit of granulated garlic and then cooked in a cast-iron skillet for a few minutes. I’m sure the shrimp would have been better, but whitefish was a tasty, budget-friendly subsitute.

  86. Abi

    OMG… made this yesterday for lunch. It was so good. Hubby fried up some fresh tortilla chips too. The best lazy Sunday afternoon lunch! Thanks for sharing!

  87. I would eat this as a lunch by itself, maybe over a pile of lettuce in a crunchy corn tortilla bowl. And I think this would also be super delicious with little bits of mango, pineapple, and maybe some black beans?

  88. Yolanda

    Holy man does this ever look good. Just bought a bunch of HUGE avocadoes from Costco a couple days ago and they are ripening now. Can’t wait to make this tonight, it’s basically everything that I love about summer, in one dish.

  89. Mary B.

    This was fantastic! I used jarred jalapeno instead of fresh, as I prefer things mildly hot – and it was just perfect. We had it both as a salsa with tortilla chips, and leftover as a side salad. Fresh, easy, and wonderful!

  90. I’m a little late on this, but this salsa is perfection, especially when it’s 107 out and the last thing you feel like doing is cooking. Thank you, Deb, for saving dinnertime!

  91. Meghan

    Are you me?? My fiance and I, dedicated lovers of autumn, JUST talked about how much we’ve actually been enjoying this summer last night. It helps that the Pacific Northwest is getting treated to a real summer this year!

  92. Toronto is a lot like New York, except that we had no heat until July, and then floods! I am with you on summer, but then there’s winter right after the beautiful fall. So I’ve decided to enjoy summer this year. This recipe looks amazing, and I want to rush out to get the ingredients and make my husband and son ecstatic! Thank you.

  93. Lynn

    I made this yesterday with a few tweaks. I blackend the shrimp with creole seasoning and i added a little bit of garlic. Delicious!

  94. I made this again, doubling the recipe, like two days ago. This time the shrimp seemed kind of tasteless—I’m not sure why. Maybe I cooked them for too long? The water seemed to take a really long time to boil, maybe because I was cooking two pounds of shrimp instead of one. But other than that, it was delicious. I added a ripe mango we had sitting around and served it with hint of lime Tostitos, over Uncle Ben’s rice :)

  95. CarolJ

    Deb, thank you for this idea. I used the recipe to make shrimp tacos for supper last night. Being allergic to tomatoes, I subbed in a diced peach, and also added the kernels from a leftover cob of sweetcorn. Piled into yellow corn tortillas. Really delicious!

  96. deb

    A question! Those of you who have commented back about your no-garlic-in-guac preferences, how do you feel about garlic in a cooked tomato salsa? I’m, uh, doing research. For a project. (Read: you!) :)

  97. Lisa Cornely

    In answer to your question about the garlic… I love garlic in guac and in salsa. I always use it.

    I absolutely adored this recipe (I did add some garlic, but that was the only change from the recipe). It was amazing. I seriously can’t wait to make it again. I am thinking I may have to make this tonight again.

    Thanks so much

  98. Faith

    Deb! Another amazingly easy and delicious dish! I’ve made it 4 times already and everyone loves it. I also add quinoa to mine! I could eat this by the spoonful! Thank you!

  99. C Rios

    Deb, made this tonight for the hubby. It smells amazing! I’m not going to try it until he does, because I’m not much of a shrimp fan and I don’t want to use up my monthly tolerance allotment before he gets home. But, wow! Thank. You!

  100. Traci

    Just made this for dinner. It was amazing. I added some grilled corn — nice addition. Thanks again for a wonderful recipe! :)

  101. Deb – I don’t like garlic in my guac either. In fact, I read somewhere that authentic guacamole doesn’t use garlic. I also use lemon instead of lime. I do use the red onion though – never tried the white but not opposed to it. This dish looks delish!

  102. Not much of a cooked tomato salsa fan but If I had to eat it, some garlic in it would be more. Than welcome. In a guac though…never. And we go through a hell of a lot of garlic in this house, it just doesn’t feel right in guacamole…right?

  103. Sally

    This is delicious! I’m getting ready to make it for the third time. It’s a great summer meal. The only thing I do differently is that I use larger shrimp and roast them. I’ve become a big fan of roasting shrimp in the last several years.

  104. Anne

    Made this for a quick pre-movie snack. It was so much better when we came home 2 hours later. These kind of recipes help us to hold on to Summer for a little while longer!

  105. Lyra

    Wasn’t in the mood for shrimp, so I made it without and it was STILL delicious. Like the perfect balance between pico and guac. Thanks, Deb!

  106. Betty Marcus

    I had a catering job yesterday, and served this as part of the appetizer spread. I hadn’t made the recipe previously for lack of time, but it sounded so refreshing, and obviously so simple. Well, I had a number of people who went back for their FOURTH helping on this winner. Some of the crowd ate this with the chips I provided plus Tapatio, but most guests just heaped their plates with the Avocado/Shrimp delight and enjoyed every bite! Great recipe…very refreshing and light…it will be a staple in our house!

  107. Jess

    Just tried this and LOVED it! I know, I know, it’s the middle of winter and I really should know better – but I stumbled upon this recipe late last night and woke up this morning, still salivating. I added corn and diced orange bell peppers (for more of a crunch), skipped the olive oil, jalepeño and hot sauce. It was pure magic. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  108. I’ve made this recipe last week, and it was simply delicious. The weather was great too, which made this recipe very seasonal. I didn’t use this recipe as a salsa, but more as a salad. I made a honey-mustard vinaigrette on the side. A great combo! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!

  109. Ohiogirl


    I am a happy ex-Ohioan now living in CA and I confess – I never get tired of the great avocados here!

    I’d never had green salsa until moving here and that’s now a fav as well. This recipe is one I use often – very simple but VERY tasty. If you like the herdez canned, it is similar to that but fruitier and fresher.

    Thanks for this amazing looking recipe, I can’t wait to try it!

  110. Jenna

    I am incredibly pregnant (due next week) and this recipe just changed my life. Yum! Thank you! I’ve been following you since 2007 and somehow missed this a couple of years ago, so sad, but so grateful now.

  111. Jennie

    This is going to be my recipe of the season!! (my other guacamole recipe I like is goat cheese- grilled corn guacamole by joy the baker) Thanks! 90 plus weather in Seattle (Vashon) and we don’t know how to deal. This helps!

  112. Ally K

    Deb, you are hitting the nail on the head right now! Just finished my shrimp off, so I think, I will omit that and serve salsa on top of steak. With chips. You know, to eat more salsa with after I eat my steak.

  113. Fantastic for our backyard barbecue in the heat. Only change was grilling the shrimp and then serving alongside the salsa with basket of chips and grill roasted corn on the cob. Another hit with my family, Deb!

  114. Alex

    Deanne – that sounds amazing! My second thought after reading this recipe (the first was “OMG YUM!”) was to make this into more of a main dish with whole grilled shrimp. Then of course I see your comment and your addition of the corn on the side and that sounds like perfection! Definitely filing this one away for July/August/September BBQs.

  115. I made this recently and ate it on top of salad (and then on its own because it tasted so freaking good). I am so glad that this recipe is here. It is a welcome respite from the summer heat that’s exacerbated by cooking in a kitchen without air-conditioning.

  116. Jill

    I’ve always wanted to love ceviche much than I ever do when I actually eat it. The lime juice/onions/cilantro just overwhelm and I end up picking out bits of fish and avocado. This sounds like the perfect resolution to that.

  117. Niki

    I died and went to heaven eating this! We ate it taco style with some toasted corn tortillas….as well as spoonfuls from the bowl. My only changes were adding some blackened corn (hello, farmers market overload) and replacing the shrimp with salmon I had on hand. Delish!!

  118. Larry

    If using whole shrimp, cook whole in the shell. Bring heavily salted water, to a boil, put shrimp in. Allow to cook in boiling water for 3 minutes only. Drain and put immediately in ice water for a minimum of 5 minutes then shell. Twist the tail and the meat comes out easily and is very firm. Use the tail shell and the whole head for stock. I have found this method to be the easiest, tastiest and most efficient way to cook shrimp. Shelling a raw shrimp is not a fun chore, this eliminates the hassle.

  119. Andrea

    My shrimp-allergic hubby is out of town so this was my chance! I made it as written except I used jumbo shrimp dusted with cumin and ancho chili powder, put them on skewers, and grilled them. Then I chopped them up with all the other ingredients and make tacos with it. They were awesome!!! Then I grilled some smores just for myself because why not gild the lily (as my friend Deb says). Thanks for another still awesome recipe!

  120. Lovingthisrecipe

    Every time I take this somewhere I’m always begged for the recipe. I always make it with garden tomatoes,onions and hot peppers(poblamo this year). It’s a mind blowingly awesome recipe when made with freshly picked ingredients.. A never fail crowd pleaser! Personal tweaks aside, four years later I always look forward to August just because I know this will end up in My MOUTH. Homemade mozzerella, basil and garden tomatoes is the only other August thing that makes me sooo happy I food dance. Thank you.

  121. Liza

    It’s 100F this week around here this week and no AC, so this is a real life saver!!
    So many thanks for sharing the recipe, Deb!!! ❤️

  122. Lindsay

    My family adores this recipe – it has become a summer staple. I’ve even added a can of black beans and called it dinner! But I make one change – I don’t boil my shrimp, I broil them. I toss them in EVOO, salt and a bit of chili powder (you could use cayenne as well) and put them onto a preheated cookie sheet under the broiler. Depending on the size of the shrimp, I turn them over in about 2 minutes, and let them go for another minute of 2. When I take them out, I put them immediately on a plate to stop cooking. I use this same method – but with Old Bay instead of chili powder – for shrimp cocktail. It gives an already amazing recipe one bit of additional punch!

  123. Kumiaki

    Here on an island in Puget sound, I have a refrigerator full of fresh caught dungeness crab and will try some in place of the shrimp. I think it will work well and save me a trip to the store. Thanks for the recipe!

  124. Meg

    Oh man! I made this yesterday and used it as a side dish to make having take-out leftovers more palatable. Served it on a bed of shredded butter lettuce. There was just enough left for me to have for lunch today. All the acid in the dish kept the avocado from getting brown and ugly. I can’t wait to make this again.

  125. Friendly cooks don’t let cooks boil their shrimp! Please try STEAMING fresh shrimp! a small amount of water w bay or seafood seasoning, lemon juice, a little wine or vermouth, garlic, onion pieces or powder & bay leaves. Place a cookie rack or an oil screen over; lay (heads off for more space) shrimp and sprinkle w more seafood , garlic, pepper, celery seed, bay, paprika–onion flakes–you get the idea. Or go for Mexican flavors. Shell on or off doesn’t matter. You can throw the shells in the water afterwards for a flavorful stock (15-20) and you’re done.

  126. Sally K

    I’ve been making this since you first posted the recipe. I do a couple of things differently. I omit the cilantro and I use large shrimp that I roast, then cut up in pieces about the same size as the tomatoes. I’m making it tonight for my supper. Thanks for such a great recipe!

  127. Lisa

    OMG! Can’t stop eating this! I had a cucumber on hand, so I added 1/2 of it that I seeded and finely diced, and also tossed in a tablespoon of capers. Not a fan of spicy, so I replaced the jalapeño with an equal amount of finely diced red peppers. So refreshing!

  128. RuthC

    Made this basically as directed, with the exception of using larger shrimp that I chopped into small pieces.

    It was super fresh, delicious, and perfect for dinner on a super hot summer day.