You’ll have some of the best meals ever at this 5-star resort in southern Arizona (bonus recipe!)

The Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain’s Avocado Cactus

MARANA, AZ (The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain) -- Situated between Arizona’s two biggest cities, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is an enchanting escape from everyday life. The land is part of what makes The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain unique. The resort prides itself on being one with Mother Nature and all she provides, including some of the food served in its restaurants. As Suzanne Bissett said during a recent visit, “You can taste nature’s bounty!”

That bounty is one thing Chef Emily Dillport, the executive chef at The Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain, loves. She and her team take the farm-to-table concept a step further by using food foraged from the property.

“Our guests want to know where their food is coming from,” she said. “They want local; they want seasonal.”

They get both at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. There’s a 50-tree citrus grove featuring everything from Meyer lemons to tangelos.

“We like to utilize it all year long,” Chef Emily explained. “We love to be creative with different ways to use the citrus.” That means infused oils and vinegars, as well as marmalades and preserves.

But the citrus trees are not the only things bearing fruit. One of Chef Emily’s favorite fruits comes from the barrel cactus. She showed Suzanne how to harvest them -- very carefully.

Chef Emily showed Suzanne how to harvest the fruit of the barrel cactus.
Chef Emily showed Suzanne how to harvest the fruit of the barrel cactus.(Arizona's Family)

“A lot of people don’t know that these have seeds in them that are very delicious,” she said. “They’re a wonderful addition to many dishes.”

One of those dishes is a uniquely southern Arizona offering Chef Emily created called the Avocado Cactus. Taking the seeds they collected, She and Suzanne headed to the kitchen to get creative.

How to make Chef Emily’s Avocado Cactus!

This is one of the most popular appetizers at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, and Chef Emily shared her recipe! (Keep scrolling.)

The Avocado Cactus is a signature dish at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.
The Avocado Cactus is a signature dish at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.(Arizona's Family)


  • 1/2 avocado, cut horizontally (not vertically) to give you the cactus shape
  • 2 oz. yellowfin tuna, finely chopped
  • 1 oz. Poke Sauce
    • 1 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
    • 1 Tbsp. ginger
    • 1 Tbsp. garlic
    • 1 tsp. toasted black sesame seeds
    • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
    • 1 TBsp. sugar
  • 1.5 oz. Spicy Mayo
    • 1 cup mayo
    • 2 Tbsp. sriracha
    • 1 Tbsp. sambal
    • 1 Tbsp. ground ancho chili
    • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup Ancho Tempura
    • 1 cup prepared tempura mix, prepare according to directions on package
    • 1 Tbsp. ground ancho chili
    • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. barrel cactus seeds, toasted ( You can substitute chia or sesame seeds.)
  • Chili threads for garnish

“Desert-to-table at its finest!”


Using a channel knife, cut 1/4-inch thick lines vertically down the half avocado. Space your lines 3/4 inch apart. Use a blow torch to char the avocado around the outside until the majority is covered. Set aside.

Throw all of the ingredients for the Poke Sauce into your blender and blend until smooth. Chill.

Combine the ingredients for your Spicy Mayo in a bowl and mix well. Chill.

Prepare the tempura mix according to the direction on the package, then add chili and salt and mix well. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.

Using a deep fat fryer or sauté pan 3/4 of an inch of oil, fry the tempura batter at 350 degrees F. The tempura should spread into small pebble-size pieces. Prepare a plate with paper towels for the finished tempura.

Once the tempura is a golden brown cover, remove with a fine strainer to avoid catching a lot of oil. Place the tempura onto the covered plate for 2 minutes to dry, and then season with salt to taste.

Place tuna in a small mixing bowl and add the Poke Sauce and barrel cactus seeds. Season with salt if needed. Mix well.

Add the Spicy Mayo to the inside of the avocado, and then add the tuna and pack well.

Place the tempura neatly into a bowl. Place the avocado (tuna side down) into the middle of the tempura. Top the avocado with a small dot of Spicy Mayo and garnish with chili threads.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain(The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain)

The Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain is southern Arizona’s only Forbes Five Star/AAA Five Diamond hotel, and to say its food is outstanding is an understatement. The resort’s flagship restaurant, CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar, has a Four Star rating from Forbes Travel Guide. “Whether you’re staying upstairs at the resort or 45 minutes away in the city, it’s worth making a trip to the upscale-but-playful, intimate-but-convivial CORE for a memorable meal,” Forbes says on its website. But CORE is not the only place to nosh on some amazing eats, and you don’t have to be a resort guest to partake.

Ignite | Cayton’s Burger Bistro | Turquesa Latin Grill | TO|GO

🔗 One of the best resorts in the world is just a short drive from Phoenix

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain | 15000 North Scenic Springs Drive, Marana, AZ | 520-572-3000

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Sponsored - The above content is created on behalf of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain and does not reflect the opinions of Gray Media or its editorial staff. To learn more about The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, visit