Avocado Salad

4.92 from 35 votes
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This fresh avocado salad tossed in a tasty cilantro lime dressing comes together in 30 minutes! It’s a delicious side dish for a barbecue or potluck.

Bowl with avocado salad recipe.

Recipe Science

  • Avocados add a creamy texture to salad due to their monounsaturated fats and help balance the acidic dressing.
  • To keep the avocado’s green color, add it to the salad just before serving to minimize air exposure and reduce oxidation.
  • Citrus juice and vinegar add flavor and prevent browning by inhibiting the enzyme polyphenol oxidase with acids.

Why It Works

This salad features creamy chunks of avocado as the star. The components come together quickly—just chop the produce, whisk the vinaigrette, and you’ll have a fresh and flavorful side salad ready to eat.

The base flavors are inspired by those irresistible bowls of pico de gallo but amplified to salad form. The fruits and vegetables are cut into hearty pieces to catch the zesty cilantro lime dressing. I love how the natural creaminess of the avocado coats and adds extra richness to each bite.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Avocados: I use Hass avocados, which have creamy flesh and a light, nutty flavor. They have dark, pebbly skin with a bright green interior. Make sure to pick ripe avocados, but not mushy.
  • Vegetables: A colorful mix of diced English cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and minced jalapeños.
  • Dressing: A tangy combination of lime zest, lime juice, honey, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and avocado oil.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

This easy avocado salad is customizable! Give these tasty variations a try:

  • Avocado Varieties: Zutano or Fuerte work well. However, due to their fat levels, they may have slight texture differences.
  • Cucumber Options: Smaller Persian cucumber slices work well. If using traditional cucumber, peel away some of the waxy skin and remove the seeds
  • Veggies: Add crunch using red or green bell pepper, corn, roasted chilies, grilled zucchini, or jicama.
  • Fruit: Add a hint of sweetness with diced mango, pineapple, or papaya.
  • Sweetener: Agave or maple syrup works well in the dressing.
  • Vinegar: Use mild varieties like red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or rice wine vinegar.
  • Oil: Instead of avocado oil, use extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil.
  • Fresh Herbs: Add chopped chives, green onions, parsley, basil, dill, or oregano.
  • Add Protein: Grilled shrimp or grilled chicken keeps the salad light but makes it a heartier meal.

How to Make Avocado Salad

Person cutting open an avocado and spoon out the pieces.

Step 1: Prepare the Avocados

Cut the avocados into big chunks, about ¾-inch in size. Because the flesh is exceptionally soft, it will start to break down even with gentle mixing. Therefore, make large pieces to still get a nice creamy bite.

Wait to cut the fruit until just before serving. The natural acids and antioxidants in the citrus juices of the dressing prevent browning, but only temporarily.

Tips for Perfect Execution: Avocado flesh is prone to oxidation (oxygen exposure), so it will turn from green to brown if exposed to air for too long. If preparing ahead, use plastic wrap to prevent the avocados from turning brown.

Diced avocado and sliced red onions and tomatoes in a bowl.

Step 2: Combine the Mix-ins

I add various mix-ins that provide contrasting textures to create a colorful and flavorful salad. I chop English cucumbers into bite-sized pieces to provide a nice crunch. Ripe cherry tomatoes add sweetness and some acidity to the salad.

Sliced radish and red onion give the salad some peppery and spicy flavor. For a bit of heat, I add finely minced jalapeno peppers.

Whisking a bowl of avocado salad dressing.

Step 3: Make the Salad Dressing

An excellent sweet and tangy vinaigrette brings all of the salad components together. I felt lime juice naturally complements the creamy avocado for the dressing. This first step is to grab a medium bowl and whisk together the lime juice, zest, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, mustard, fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper.

This allows the seasonings to infuse, the sweeteners to dissolve, and the mustard to be incorporated to help keep the emulsion sauce stable. Slowly drizzle in the avocado or olive oil, constantly whisking to break the fat into tiny droplets. This creates a thickened dressing.

Pouring cilantro lime salad dressing into a bowl of avocado, tomato, and cucumbers.

Step 4: Serve the Avocado Salad

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients and very gently stir to combine. The avocado will make a light creamy coating over the components as it’s mixed. Do not over-mix, or the fruit will break down too much.

Serving Tips: For the best texture, I recommend serving the salad the same day. If you have leftovers, serve them with tortilla chips for a dip the next day. It’s delicious!

Close up of a spoon mixing salad ingredients together.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you pick a ripe avocado?

They should be firm with a slight give when squeezed. If you remove the small stem, the area underneath should be green. If brown, it’s ripe. If the interior flesh is too soft, it won’t hold its shape when mixed. Some breakdown on the surface is okay to create a creamier salad, but we are not good for guacamole.

How do you keep diced avocados green?

Use acidulated water to slow the browning by combining 4 cups of cold water with 1 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice. The natural ascorbic acid in citrus acts as an antioxidant, interacting with oxygen instead of the enzymatic browning enzymes in the flesh. Keep the soaking process under 10 minutes max, or the exterior will soften too much.

Can I put avocado in a salad the night before?

It’s best to cut and add the avocado to the salad the day of serving. It will have the freshest taste and brightest green color. You can drizzle some of the citrus dressing to help preserve the color, but the texture will be softer due to the acids.

Serve This With

If you tried this Avocado Salad recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Avocado Salad

Fresh avocado salad recipe with cilantro lime dressing. A healthy side dish in just 30 minutes that pairs nicely with barbecued foods and other proteins.
4.92 from 35 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients 
 

Avocado Salad

  • 3 cups diced avocado, ¾" dice (about 3 large avocados)
  • 2 cups English cucumber, quartered, ¼" thick slices
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup radish, halved, cut into ⅛" thick slices
  • ½ cup red onion, 1" long, ⅛" thick slices
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno pepper, optional

Cilantro Lime Dressing (about 1 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup avocado oil, or olive oil

Instructions 

  • Prepare the Avocados – Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, and twist to separate the halves. Remove the pits, then cut them into about ¾-inch dice. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or foil if not used right away.
  • Combine the Mix-ins – To the bowl of avocados, add the cucumbers, tomatoes, radish, red onion, and jalapeno pepper. Cover and set aside.
  • Make the Salad Dressing – In a medium bowl, whisk together lime zest, lime juice, honey, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the avocado oil, consistently whisking until a thickened dressing is formed. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
  • To Serve – Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and gently toss to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 6 cups
  • Serving Size: ½ cup
  • Make It Vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey in the dressing.
  • Storing: Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12 servings
Calories 198kcal (10%)Carbohydrates 11g (4%)Protein 2g (4%)Fat 18g (28%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Sodium 111mg (5%)Potassium 393mg (11%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 5g (6%)Vitamin A 226IU (5%)Vitamin C 15mg (18%)Calcium 15mg (2%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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18 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Jennifer says

    This is a perfect side salad dish, fresh and bright flavors and would be perfect with so many meals. I served with sautéed shrimp in a lime sauce, the two dishes together were so tasty, served with flour tortillas and ended up with clean plates! I followed exactly with the exception of substituting celery for the radishes, which worked well to my taste. Thank you Jessica, this one’s a keeper!!🌟

  2. Chefjeff says

    Excellent dressing! Nice and light pairing well as you said with bbq and also with Mexican / Southwest dishes. I sub Splenda in for honey at 1.5x

  3. Michael Kraemer says

    I am trying to push salads for lunch as an alternative to what I have been eating. As my wife will not touch cilantro, the dressing has lasted for days. To boost the protein I have added egg, and smoked turkey breast (packaged lunch meat, thinly sliced). Very tasty.

  4. Belinda Donner says

    I am in love with this recipe. I was looking for a yummy light salad (because it is so hot out) to go with my BBQ’d salmon. It was delicious, a big hit with my guests. Thank you Jessica for another winner.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for making the recipe and sharing it on your blog! Pairing the avocado salad with salmon sounds perfect!

  5. Susan Laitin says

    This salad is fantastic–I’ve made it twice in the past week. The minced jalapeno adds just enough heat. The lime dressing is my new favorite vinaigrette. Thanks for another great recipe!