Tuna-Avocado Ceviche with Salsa Macha

No matter what you serve it on, once you make and taste your first salsa macha, it will earn its place in your fridge forever.

Tuna-Avocado Ceviche with Salsa Macha
Photo: Jen Causey
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

Salsa macha is the kind of condiment that stops you in your tracks and as soon you taste it. It also shatters your expectations of what you think Mexican food can be. Directly translated into English, it means "brave salsa." It's olive oil. It's toasted smoky chiles. It's toasted nuts and seeds. It's fried garlic. The sum of all these delicious parts is a convenient and crunchy salsa that virtually never goes bad and tastes amazing on pretty much anything it touches: quesadillas, tacos, Mexican-style street corn, salad, pizza, crusty bread, and seafood. It's Mexico's answer to the infused olive oils of Italy and the fiery chile oils of Asia.

You can experience this unique salsa in Mexico City at street food stands and in nut-growing regions like Michoacán, where macadamias are added to the mix. While it's traditionally a very spicy salsa, we like to temper the heat just a bit so we can taste the grassy qualities of the good olive oil (we love a buttery Arbequina variety). The beautiful thing about this salsa is that once you get the ratios down, you can experiment with other nuts, seeds, and chiles. It's also great because you can make it any time of the year, unlike tomato salsas that only taste their best during peak season.

When you add a couple of spoonfuls to cubed raw fish, salsa macha is a game changer that transforms an everyday ceviche into an extraordinary dish. Paola created this recipe as a heartier way of getting her ceviche fix during a weekend getaway in the desert with friends. She grew up eating salsa macha at her grandfather's restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, where it is spooned over butterflied, wood-roasted whole fish. I love the meaty tuna that she uses in this recipe — it stands up to the boldness of the salsa. This ceviche is great on top of tostadas or eaten like poke as an appetizer. And the best part is that you can make the salsa ahead of time, and stir it together with the remaining ingredients just before you're ready to eat.


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh ahi or albacore tuna, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1/2 cup Salsa Macha, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 cup diced English cucumber

  • 1 cup diced red onion

  • 1 medium-size firm avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice (from about 4 Key limes), plus more to taste

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • Tostadas, for serving


  1. Place fish in a glass or ceramic bowl. Give the salsa macha a good stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Pour salsa macha over fish, and stir gently with a spoon until the fish is completely coated. Season with salt. Let stand 5 minutes.

  2. Gently stir in the cucumber, onion, and avocado. Add lime juice. Taste and add more salsa macha or lime juice, if desired. Stir in cilantro just before serving. Season with additional salt, and serve immediately with tostadas.

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