Cooking with Dining Fresh Salsa and Guacamole


This week we have two special and easy recipes from Jeff Kurto, Director of Dining Services. These student favorite snacks can be made in the smallest kitchen, or right in your dorm room. The freshness of the cilantro and tomatoes set this apart from the store bought version. Grab a bag of chips, some friends and enjoy!

Fresh chopped tomato salsa, also known as salsa Mexicana or pico de gallo, is the most popular salsa in and outside of Mexico. We love it with chips, quesadillas, grilled chicken, fish, or steak. The only trick is to use the freshest ingredients and not to hold it for very long, so the flavors remain fresh.

Shopping list

  • 5 large ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 ripe lime
  • 1 small bunch Cilantro
  • 2 jalapeno
  • cumin powder
  • Salt and pepper


Makes 2 cups; Serves 6 as an appetizer with chips


  • 5 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and finely diced (if you like your salsa runny, leave the seeds)
  • ¼ red onion minced
  • 2 Jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Stir and toss well. Serve immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator no longer than a day.


Shopping List

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 ripe lime
  • Salt and pepper


  • Guacamole should be rich in fresh flavors with a chunky texture.
  • Look for the dark bumpy skinned “Haas” avocados at their peak of ripeness.
  • Avoid mushy avocados with seeds that rattle when shaken as they are past their prime and will be less than delicious. Tomatoes are optional depending on their quality. If they are overly watery they will dilute the nutty richness of the guacamole but can always be served in slices on the side.


  • 3 ripe avocados, medium sized
  • 1-2 jalepenos, seeded, stemmed and finely chopped
  • ½ small red onion diced
  • 1 bu. cilantro, washed and stemmed, chopped coarsely, 4 Tbsp.
  • juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium, ripe tomato, cored and seeded, diced (optional)


  • Cut the avocados in quarters, discard the seeds and peel.
  • Place in a mixing bowl and mash minimally with a fork.
  • Add diced jalepeno, onion, chopped cilantro,
  • lime juice, salt and pepper and diced tomatoes if desired.
  • Mix just until combined and chunks of avocado are still visible.
  • Serve in pottery bowl or on a plate lined with a lettuce leaf.
  • If not served immediately, guacamole is best kept in the refrigerator with the avocado pit immersed in it and tightly covered with plastic wrap.

If you are having problems, or need help, reach out on twitter @uniondiningjeff, and please share your photos on Instagram @uniondining & @uniondiningjeff.

Good luck!


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