Latin Twist: Tomato, Avocado, and Cilantro Salsa


With Cinco de Mayo around the corner…not to mention Mother’s Day and wow, SPRING, salsa is still queen! This one—Tomato, Avocado, and Cilantro Salsa—also known as Ají Rojo, is one you may want to serve, or have served to you. I recommend serving it with fresh corn or green plantain chips. However, you may have some other ideas for serving! In fact, when Wes, my now twenty-one year-old son was just 9, he would enjoy  his Tomato, Avocado, and Cilantro Salsa with a spoon. Which ever way you serve/enjoy it, I’m sure it will be a hit! ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Latin Twist: Tomato, Avocado, and Cilantro Salsa

Yield: About 4 1/2 cups

Latin Twist: Tomato, Avocado, and Cilantro Salsa

Tomato, Avocado, and Cilantro Salsa, is great for Cinco de Mayo, and wow--only 1/2 a lime so won't break that bank! Originally published in Nueva Salsa (Palomino/Gargagliano), this salsa is a huge hit every time I make it!


  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle purée, or rocoto paste (both available in Latin markets) to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a large bowl, combine the avocados, red onions, tomatoes, and tomato juice.
  2. Gently stir with a wooden spoon or your hand just until blended.
  3. Gently stir in the chipotle purée or rocoto paste, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  4. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then stir in the cilantro and serve.
  5. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  6. Return to room temperature and stir in the cilantro just before serving.


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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