Fake Guacamole, a.k.a. Taqueria Salsa Verde
Craving fresh guacamole but not loving the insane avocado prices right now? I’ve got you covered with my Fake Guacamole, a.k.a. the top secret Taqueria Salsa Verde recipe your favorite Mexican restaurants have been hiding for years.
This creamy guacamole salsa has a flavor and texture similar to my avocado and tomatillo salsa, but there are exactly zero avocados in it. The magic ingredient? Summer’s favorite squash, the humble zucchini!
Why I Love This Recipe
I’m so excited to share this fake guacamole recipe with you today. Known as “guacamole falso” in Spanish, this secret sauce is a favorite of many taquerias because it’s super economical. As I’m sure you’ve heard, restaurants typically operate on razor thin margins, and fluctuations in ingredient costs can really send things into a tailspin.
Whenever there’s an avocado shortage or a spike in avocado prices (even Costco was selling them for $2 a pop last time I visited), this zucchini guacamole comes to the rescue. And amigos? It tastes just like the real thing. It’s creamy, dreamy, spicy, bright, and everything you could possibly want from taqueria-style avocado salsa — just without the avocados.
Not only is this recipe an excellent way to use up your bumper crop of garden zucchinis, it also has the added benefit of not oxidizing. Yep, you heard that right! This tasty taqueria guacamole doesn’t brown, meaning you can leave a bowl of it on your buffet table at room temperature for hours. It’s pure magic!
So, run, don’t walk, and get the 9 economical ingredients you need to make this easy “guacamole” recipe. Your friends, family, and tastebuds will never know the difference, but you’ll save a boatload of money in the meantime. Watch the video and consider this mic dropped.
Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, this simple faux guacamole made with calabacitas requires just 9 easy-to-find ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to grab:
- Neutral Oil – I typically reach for either avocado or canola oil, but feel free to use peanut, grapeseed, vegetable, sunflower seed, or corn oil instead.
- Onion – White or yellow will work here, but I like the sharper bite of white onions for this riff on salsa verde.
- Garlic – Only fresh cloves will do the trick here.
- Jalapeños & Serranos – Using this tag-team of chiles intensifies the overall flavor of this taqueria salsa. Remember that serranos are about 4-5 times as spicy as a typical jalapeño, so feel free to use only jalapeños for more of a “medium” heat, or omit serranos for a “mild” salsa.
- Tomatillos – Fresh is best! Remove husks and rinse off sticky film before grilling.
- Zucchini – Any variety of zucchini, summer squash, or Mexican squash will work — even the yellow ones. I grow an adorable round variety in my summer garden and it works perfectly!
- Cilantro – Bright, fresh, and herbaceous, cilantro is a staple in the Mexican kitchen. If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who can only taste soap, feel free to omit or swap in parsley leaves instead.
- Coarse Salt – If you’re swapping in a finer salt, be sure to check this conversion chart for proper measurement.
How To Make Guacamole Falso
You’ll flip over how simple it is to make this easy fake guacamole. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Sauté. In a skillet with oil, fry onion, garlic, chiles, tomatillos, and zucchini over medium heat until skin browns. Stir constantly for even browning. Let cool and reserve oil.
Step 2: Blend. Place the cooled, cooked ingredients with oil in a blender or food processor. Add cilantro and salt, and blend until smooth to a semi-thick consistency.
Step 3: Enjoy! Serve salsa paired with your favorite tacos or serve as an appetizer with tortilla chips. Watch the look of disbelief on your friend’s and family’s faces when you tell them it’s guacamole made with zucchini instead of avocado. Be satisfied in knowing the secrets of the best taqueros.
- Bigger isn’t always better. I suggest reaching for small to medium-sized zucchini rather than the super-mondo ones, which can often turn watery and flavorless, or worse, bitter.
- For a milder flavor, remove the seeds and white membranes of your chile peppers. That’s where nearly all the capsaicin (the compound that causes a spicy sensation) lives.
- Since we’re puréeing this guacamole, feel free to use the cilantro stems. They have just as much sweet, herbaceous flavor as the stems, but are a bit crunchy for my taste in some applications. Here they’ll be blitzed to oblivion, so use what you can!
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally speaking, freezing guacamole isn’t a great idea because the avocado changes texture when exposed to extreme cold. That said, you can totally freeze this Mexican squash guacamole because there are no avocados to become mushy! Which is yet another reason why I’m head-over-heels for this fake guacamole/taqueria salsa.
Yep! This tasty taqueria-style mock-amole made with zucchini is a common swap for Mom & Pop shops, especially when avocado prices soar. Other avocado substitutes that I’ve heard of include peas, broccoli, and even lettuce!
Well, I’d contend that this taqueria guacamole IS real because it’s made with whole food ingredients. However, if you’re trying to spot when guac is made without avocados, it’s more likely to have a thinner salsa-like consistency, rather than a chunky dip.
That said, avocado salsa and this taqueria guacamole falso are almost indistinguishable from one another unless you try them side by side. The only difference I can detect is that the zucchini guac has a slightly sweeter flavor profile than it’s avocado cousin.
More Mexican Salsa Recipes
If you try this recipe for my Fake Guacamole (a.k.a. Taqueria Salsa Verde), let me know how it turns out by leaving me a star rating, comment below, and tag @muybuenocooking on the gram!
Fake Guacamole, a.k.a. Taqueria Salsa Verde
- 1/2 cup oil (avocado or canola)
- 1/2 white onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 jalapeños, stemmed
- 2 serranos, stemmed
- 4 tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
- 1 large zucchini or 2 Mexican squash, cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- coarse salt
- In a skillet with oil, fry onion, garlic, chiles, tomatillos, and zucchini over medium heat until skin browns. Stir constantly for even browning.
- Let cool and reserve oil. Place the cooled, cooked ingredients with oil in a blender.
- Add cilantro and salt, and blend until smooth to a semi-thick consistency.
- Serve salsa paired with your favorite tacos or serve as an appetizer with tortilla chips.
- Since this fake guacamole doesn’t have any avocado, feel free to freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months without any change in texture or taste.
- Remember that serranos are about 4-5 times as spicy as a typical jalapeño, so feel free to use only jalapeños for more of a “medium” heat, or omit serranos for a “mild” salsa.