Pro Spotlight | Chefs Milliken & Feniger's California Avocado Guacamole Tarts

Pro Spotlight | Chefs Milliken & Feniger's California Avocado Guacamole Tarts

[note title=”Pro Spotlight” align=”right” width=”250″] The Pro Spotlight is a new feature that showcases recipes developed by professional chefs. Today’s recipe was created by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, both alumni of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” and is one of two recipes recently created for their partnership with the California Avocado Commission. Stay tuned for their other delicious creation, Cumin Glazed Ribs with California Avocado Pineapple Salsa!

Click here for past Pro Spotlights.[/note]

Summer through early fall marks the peak of California avocado season, so chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are offering up two new recipe ideas that feature the delicious fruit. These delectable dishes are perfect for the next get-together and allow chefs at any level to take advantage of the premium-quality California avocados that are available at markets now. First up are these fabulous California Avocado Guacamole Tarts – I love how they created the shells out of flour tortillas! I am sure these bold bites will be a hit at your next summer party.

California avocados are such a versatile fruit, I just love incorporating them into different dishes. All the recipes in which we feature the fruit have this incredible creaminess from the avocado that our customers just can’t get enough of,” said Feniger. “When California avocados are in season, we are always trying out new ways to use the fruit in our dishes,” added Milliken.


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California Avocado Guacamole Tarts Print Friendly and PDF

Serves: 8

Prep Time: 30 minutes; Cooking Time: 20 minutes; Total Time: 50 minutes

California Avocado Guacamole

  • 3 ripe, fresh California avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Place avocados in a mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher or fork until chunky.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and combine with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve immediately.


California Avocado Guacamole Tarts

  • 32 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 (12-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. achiote paste
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder (optional)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup California Avocado Guacamole (see make-ahead recipe above)
  • 8 strips bacon, fried until very crispy and crumbled into bits
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss tomatoes, olive oil and oregano with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Spread mixture out in a baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until tomatoes are soft, juicy and shriveled with concentrated flavor. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, using a round cookie cutter, about 4 1/2-inches in diameter, cut tortillas into circles.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, achiote paste, paprika, chile powder, cayenne and salt. Brush both sides of each tortilla circle with chile-lime mixture.
  5. To create tart shells, turn a muffin tin upside down and lay the tortilla circles over the tops of the muffin cups. Bake for 1 minute at 350°F to warm and soften tortillas, and then place a second muffin tin over the top of the tortillas to create a tart shell mold.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes to set tart shape, remove second muffin tin and continue to bake until crisp and lightly golden, about 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool finished tart shells to room temperature before serving.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, combine cabbage, sour cream, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. To assemble tarts, spread a spoonful of cabbage mixture into bottom of tart shells. Place 2 tomatoes in each tart and press down lightly to flatten over cabbage mixture. Top with a two spoonfuls of guacamole. Add a generous sprinkle of crispy bacon bits and two more tomatoes, unflattened this time. Finish with a touch of cotija cheese and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 490; Total Fat 30 g (Sat 5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 3.5 g, Mono 19 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 740 mg; Total Carbohydrates 49 g; Dietary Fiber 11 g; Protein 8 g


Feniger, who competed on last year’s season two of “Top Chef Masters,” and Milliken, who just finished up season three of the show as one of the finalists have been business partners for more than 25 years. Their cooking talents have inspired the popular Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., Downtown Los Angeles and Las Vegas. They also have contributed to the nation’s gourmet food truck cravings with the Border Grill Truck, which brings their delicious food to businesses and neighborhoods throughout Southern California. Additionally, Feniger owns Susan Feniger’s STREET in Los Angeles, serving street food from around the world.

For more recipes that feature fresh California avocados from chefs Milliken and Feniger, visit the California Avocado Commission website at

Recipe courtesy California Avocado Commission.



  1. Maureen

    I can’t get over how beautiful this looks!! Then my question is, “could I make this myself and have it look half as good??” LOL

  2. A Canadian Foodie

    I love these two chefs and watched them a gazillion years ago as they were on the very first year of food tv network. I cannot wait to try this recipe.

  3. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    Liren – you know how I LOVE appetizers. You have hit this one out of the ball park! A must bookmark for future must makes. Can’t believe this weather – I was driving home tonight from work and it was registering 63 degrees on my car tempurature gauge – crazy! SO ready for warmer weather this weekend! (PS – Love the new “Pro-series” – super creative!)

  4. Cristina

    These guacamole tarts look so elegant and inviting. I’m so making these for a dinner-party I’m planning. Just beautiful! Who knew guacamole (which I love) could be so elegant?

    btw:what a great idea, your Pro Spotlights. I’ll look fwd to them.

    Have a fantastic weekend, Liren!

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