"Waiter, there's a squash in my guac!"
August 7, 2019 12:31 PM   Subscribe

The high price of avocados in the US this summer is caused by a combination of an increasing demand plus California's smallest crop in over a decade, partly due to last year's heat wave. This has caused some taquerias to resort to surreptitiously substituting avocado in their guacamole with Mexican grey (or calabacitas) squash and tomatillos.

But instead of letting this get you down or blaming it on Millenials and their insatiable cravings for avocado toast, cheer yourself up with some homemade mockamole (though be sure to disclose it to your fellow snackers).

And fear not - although we're at the end of the California avocado season, Mexican avocados will be showing up in stores in a few weeks.
posted by Greg_Ace (50 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
As long as they don't start mushing peas in there.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:36 PM on August 7, 2019 [12 favorites]


Holy squacamole
posted by solotoro at 12:41 PM on August 7, 2019 [9 favorites]


Or if you find yourself with calabacitas (squash), cook up some calabacitas (dish). You can (should?) leave out the cheese, but add in (black) beans.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:43 PM on August 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


So is that squash interchangeable with your (literal) garden-variety American zucchini? Because if so and if it really does come out close to real guac, it's a lot more sustainable and growable in a lot more climates than avocado guac and that's awesome.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:52 PM on August 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


Edamame can also be used to make guacamole, though I've only ever cut it half and half with the real thing.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:56 PM on August 7, 2019


Cilantro shortages are causing taquerias to use dishwater as a substitute.
posted by peeedro at 12:57 PM on August 7, 2019 [31 favorites]


I made this last weekend. I went with the lighter colored mexican style green squash and overall thought that the color could have been darker/greener, so yeah, when i do it next i will probably use a "regular" American* zucchini although ill make sure its a smaller/tender one. Overall it tasted really good and i will do this again - although probably following Jacquilynnes model and doing it 50/50 w real quac.

I posted it to my Instagram story and whoo-boy did it get a much more intense response than my usual content. Most people were puzzled as to why id try (although one person with an avocado allergy was really really excited).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:09 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


also, after checking out the link to Mexican gray squash, i gotta say that if i ever form a gang "Flavor Friends" is a serious front runner for a name.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:11 PM on August 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


So is that squash interchangeable with your (literal) garden-variety American zucchini?

The inner meat [of the Mexican gray squash] is also denser than other Zucchini and not as moist, providing a sweet or at times a somewhat spicier flavored squash.

There was a mention in one of the articles linked to in the FPP that the fake-guac is a little thinner and more liquidy than proper guac, so I'd guess it would be even more so when using "regular" zucchini. I'd guess that lightly roasting the zucchini and tomatillos would remove some of the water, which would help thicken the end product.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:12 PM on August 7, 2019 [8 favorites]


Next time we make calabacitas (the dish), I'll sample the different squash we have to give a first-hand report back, but Greg_Ace's linked summary sounds about right.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:21 PM on August 7, 2019


Does mockamole turn brown at the same rate as the real stuff?
posted by soelo at 1:25 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I will not have the good name of guacamole sullied in this house with the mention of SQUASH and EDAMAME and other PROPHETS OF A FALSE GOD. I don't care if they're six bucks apiece, if you're serving something you call "guacamole," you will buy as many avocados as it takes.
posted by Mayor West at 1:25 PM on August 7, 2019 [13 favorites]


"Even the fake guacamole oxidized and started to turn brown after about 30 minutes."
Sorry, I had not read the thing yet...
posted by soelo at 1:27 PM on August 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


Man, Americans. The NPR transcript has Cabral trying to explain like three times this isn't replacing guacamole, the salad made from avocados mashed roughly in a molcajete. It's replacing the green avocado salsa you find in taquerias, which already has a bunch of stuff in it that's not avocado (most notably tomatillo). It's a wet pourable sauce, not a chunky salad. As delicious as avocado salsa is, it's not trying to be guacamole.

Green taqueria sauce should be made with avocado. But substituting pureed squash in that doesn't seem awful, and as the interview says the result is pretty good. But the headline goes with "guacamole". And so we have our August Outrage.

Like tobascodagama says, at least it's not fucking peas.
posted by Nelson at 1:39 PM on August 7, 2019 [30 favorites]


at least it's not fucking peas.

I eat my peas with guacamole,
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste unholy,
But it keeps them on the knife!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:43 PM on August 7, 2019 [9 favorites]


This is kind of sad in my opinion, because the guacamole salsa is very prevalent in California and not as much across the rest of the southwest, so it's presence is the thing that makes California Mexican unique from Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas Mexican food (where guacamole the thick dip has always been a thing).
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:29 PM on August 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've never had this guacamole salsa, but now I really want some.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:36 PM on August 7, 2019


I don't know why people are dismayed. This is just adding to the number of things you can do with excess zucchini, a field in which there are rarely breakthroughs.
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:43 PM on August 7, 2019 [29 favorites]


Incidentally, "Zucchini Breakthrough" is the name of my new band. or maybe porn film
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:53 PM on August 7, 2019 [16 favorites]


Fava bean and sesame dip from Lydia Bastianich. I can't find the recipe on Lydia's actual site so linked to this one.

I miss runny green sauce on taquitos, the best don't have avocado in them at all I think-- it's more like passing a bottle of vermouth over the martini glass and proclaiming it "dry".
posted by twentyfeetof tacos at 3:26 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


My spouse loves guacamole but has a real oral allergy to zucchini but not to any other squash (that we know of). It makes the inside of her mouth itch and her doctor told her that that is an oral allergy reaction that can sometimes, although rarely, become a full-on systemic anaphylactic reaction with life-threatening consequences. Does anyone know if calabacitas can cause the same reaction? I seem to not be able to find any comparative info.
posted by bz at 3:29 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


If you need to stretch your guacamole, just use sour cream.
posted by GuyZero at 3:58 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I read an article from someone who did a side by side taste test, and he said they taste nearly identical, though the squash one could be a little watery. I would try it.
posted by xammerboy at 4:13 PM on August 7, 2019


This is kind of sad in my opinion, because the guacamole salsa is very prevalent in California and not as much across the rest of the southwest, so it's presence is the thing that makes California Mexican unique from Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas Mexican food (where guacamole the thick dip has always been a thing).

I can happily attest to it being common in midwestern Mexican restaurants - it's criminal that we as a nation don't talk about how awesome authentic Mexican restaurants have been brought everywhere Mexican immigrants have gone, because I can think of a good dozen restaurants and food trucks offhand just in a small burg like Sioux City Iowa and the immediate surrounding area that you'd have had to live in the southwest to experience even a couple decades ago, and that's just a small sample. Midwestern Mexican food has been a punchline for ages and that hasn't been the reality for a long time, to the extreme benefit of everyone! I'm curious about why it is more of a California style out here than Texas or other styles, maybe the agricultural work in California and the Midwest sees a flow of people looking for similar work and bringing the California Mexican food style along.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:20 PM on August 7, 2019 [9 favorites]


The NPR transcript has Cabral trying to explain like three times this isn't replacing guacamole, the salad made from avocados mashed roughly in a molcajete. It's replacing the green avocado salsa you find in taquerias, which already has a bunch of stuff in it that's not avocado (most notably tomatillo)

That makes so much more sense! I was utterly perplexed at the claim that actual chunky real guacamole could be made with squash.

This is one of those moments where I feel like I must have been living in a slightly-off parallel universe all my life. I have never heard of that smooth, relatively thick, green taqueria salsa referred to as guacamole. Never! (Until now). Do people really do that?
posted by treepour at 4:58 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm not a fan of avocado, so this 'calabamole' might be up my alley.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:13 PM on August 7, 2019


Trendy food abbreviations set my teeth on edge. What are you going to do with those extra milliseconds you save by not saying or writing "guacamole," "margaritas," or "appetizers?"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:02 PM on August 7, 2019


My talk with the avocado farmer at last week's farmers market:

Her: Yeah these Reed avocados don't turn black.. They stay green. You can tell if they're ripe by feel, same feeling as the Hass. We'll have a limited quantity of Hass in a few weeks.

Me: Limited? Why?

Her: There was a heat wave at the wrong time.

Me: ...So, limited avocados because of climate change?

Her: Yeah.

Me: What the f.... When I think about all the people who don't realize how many comforts we take for granted now, that climate change is taking away, aargh, and they won't do the main thing that's really effective which is to contact our legislators...

Her:Yeah. Well, I'm guilty of that too, getting busy and just not doing it.

Me: We all are! But we can talk about it and if we've never done it before, contacting legislators just once is better than zero.

Her: True.

I'll follow up on this next time I see her.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:52 PM on August 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've never had this guacamole salsa, but now I really want some.

It's the vivid green stuff in the squeeze bottle at the taco truck/taqueria. Not the waterier regular salsa verde, this has the more intense green and smoother texture from the avocado. It tastes great, but depending on who is making it, approach with caution until you know the heat level.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:12 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah taqueria avocado green salsa is great. I agree with The_Vegetables that it feels like a particularly California thing although it's by no means unique to here. Your grocery store might carry it if it has a good selection of fresh salsas in the refrigerated section. Look for the green sauce that lists avocado as a prominent ingredient. I linked the Casa Sanchez version before; that's what I buy, but it's a Bay Area product.

You could probably make your own, for that matter. Take a very sour tomatillo salsa and add some pureed / mashed smooth avocado to it. That's really all it is. Good stuff though, for when regular salsa doesn't have enough fat in it.

(PS: Mexican crema is more or less the same thing as French crème fraîche, but 1/3 the price. You're welcome.)
posted by Nelson at 7:17 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Around here in Boston, the Mexican places only have salsa verde and then a couple of the usual red sauces. Plus chunky guac on the side, of course.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:46 PM on August 7, 2019


I would really like to try calabacitas salsa. That sounds pretty good.

The avocado shortage has been a bummer, but that's climate change for ya. Any talk of adding peas (or edamame) to guacamole makes me cringe and think about my joke recipe for pea guacamole called Pea Wilson. It comes with a discussion of Prop 187 and Pete Wilson's legacy of San Diego and California.
posted by kendrak at 10:08 PM on August 7, 2019


guacamole salsa

This is the ATM machine and PIN number of food.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:18 AM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


All y'all who are assuming that tomatillo-based "green avocado salsa" is universally familiar in the US: you are wrong. American Mexican cuisine varies widely in different regions. Not all of us are blessed to live in California or Texas.

I know what proper guacamole is, of course: a thick glop, consisting mostly of mashed avocados, plus salt and lime juice, and usually a bit of finely chopped cilantro, onion, chile, and/or tomato. Try to pour it, and it'll just stay in the bowl.

The "green avocado salsa" that Nelson links to is obviously something different. I found this YouTube video, which gives a better sense of the texture – thinner than guacamole, but not quite watery. Almost a pancake-batter texture – like equal parts guac and salsa verde mixed together. I have never encountered this. But now I'll be keeping an eye out for it.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:05 AM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


Before this it never occurred to me to make dip with squash and peas, and now that sounds better to me than guacamole.
posted by Flexagon at 6:27 AM on August 8, 2019


Not all of us are blessed to live in California or Texas.
It's not at all common in Texas. Salsa verde made of tomatillos with no avocado is the 3rd most common in most of the southwest, behind pico de gallo and tomato-based salsa. After that would be New Mexico/Arizona green salsa or red sala made from hatch chilies (I think?) that is poured on top of tacos/burritos/whatever prior to serving. Avocado salsa is relatively rare.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:36 AM on August 8, 2019 [2 favorites]


if you're serving something you call "guacamole," you will buy as many avocados as it takes.

Eh, although in the US I'd probably be annoyed to get guacamole that wasn't mostly avocado, AFAIK "guacamole" just a shortened portmanteau of "aguacate" and "mole," and mole is just the Nahuatl word for salsa ("sauce") - any Mexican mefites wanna weigh in on the semantics there?

I've had radically different things called guacamole, with different ingredients and consistencies, in different parts of the US, Mexico and the Caribbean - the one unifier being that there's an avocado in there somewhere.

I do think sour cream in guacamole (as is common in much of the midwest) is way grosser than squash or peas, either of which I could see an argument for. Not to mention the whole "surprise dairy" factor. I've had an avocado salad with fresh chick peas in it, and it was pretty damn good - nice fresh earthy thing going on. I don't feel like nice fresh green peas would be much different.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:16 AM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


The avocado salsa described here isn’t universal in Mexico (and Mexican diaspora communities), either. I associate it with Michoacán and Jalisco food (and the associated diasporas) in particular but I’m not sure if that is completely correct.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:26 AM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


I do think sour cream in guacamole (as is common in much of the midwest) is way grosser than squash or peas

this was truly one of the only genuine low-points in the most recently released season of Queer Eye, when a bona fide mexican grandma told Antoni that it was okay and that she sometimes put crema in her guacamole.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:31 AM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


(I should clarify that I find sour cream gross not because of any implied lack of authenticity, but rather my own rapidly declining ability to process dairy, which also has the side effect of making crema, buttermilk and their ilk smell really bad to me now. Getting old is stupid.)
posted by aspersioncast at 8:43 AM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


Eh. Avocado is fatty enough, and guac (in the US) usually accompanies fried and/or cheese-drenched foods. Adding a bunch of sour cream to that seems...excessive.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:25 AM on August 8, 2019


If anyone wants to try a commercially available version, my roommate ALWAYS has a bottle of Del Primo in the fridge. (A lot cheaper to get it from a local market if you can, but that link shows the product.)

Also, agree that framing this as "guacamole" in the headline is really misleading. "Guacamole flavor sauce" like the labeling from this brand is a lot more accurate, and isn't going to make random people ordering chunky restaurant guacamole start quizzing their servers over whether or not it has squash in it.

Frankly, I'm kind of puzzled that NPR set up this segment without the host even seeming to know what the product under discussion was-- she seems to be mis-framing the discussion from the very beginning, and the headline made it worse.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:28 AM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


Del Primo ingredients: WATER, JALAPENO PEPPER, TOMATILLO, CANOLA OIL, ZUCCHINI, CORIANDER, ONION... this is not the avocado salsa you are looking for.
posted by Nelson at 9:32 AM on August 8, 2019


this is not the avocado salsa you are looking for

The article in this FPP is about guacamole flavored taco sauces being made with squash and without avocado because of cost. The sauce I linked to is an example of that, marketed as guacamole FLAVORED. This is...literally a common version of the product under discussion?
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:40 AM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


I really want a time machine so I can go back to the house I lived in in SoCal that had a huge avocado tree in the back yard, so I could slap myself in the face and tell myself to eat more of those delicious things before they ended up being like 3-4 bucks each where I am in time and space right now.

Even without that tree there was a time in my life where people would beg me to take home and/or eat avocados. I've turned down entire boxes of them. Because younger me was apparently an idiot that wanted to eat Cap'n Crunch and drink Mountain Dew instead of eating avocados.
posted by loquacious at 9:47 AM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


My family calls this stuff “guacasauce” to differentiate from guacamole. As in “pass the guacasauce”.
posted by q*ben at 1:21 PM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


I am both a bit embarrassed and truly unsurprised by the amount of time im spending in this thread.

I do think that Del Primo link a fiendish thingy posted is spot on - the original LATACO article on the stuff mentions that the oil from fry-charring the jalapeno is required to emulsify the final product. Much as my SF-native self loves Casa Sanchez (and its a lot, like i have considered getting the corn rocket tattoo ) but neither the consistency nor the ingredients list leads me to believe thats the right stuff. If anything i think that is the product that the taqueros who are passing off calabacita-based "guac" are trying to copy.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:38 PM on August 8, 2019


My apologies, the Del Primo thing is pretty much exactly what this NPR article is talking about. I was being snotty because I like the avocado-based salsa like Casa Sanchez. They're simply different products although truthfully I suspect they both taste more similar than different, a fattier / milder form of a tomatillo salsa.

Anyone got a plate of beans? I gotta a lotta salsa I gotta eat.
posted by Nelson at 5:09 PM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


Missing from the article is the observation that nearly any single component of nearly any salsa recipe can be substituted for a different vegetable with potentially pleasing results.

I might make a fucking Okra and Asparagus salsa for the hell of it.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:45 PM on August 11, 2019


I might make a fucking Okra and Asparagus salsa for the hell of it.

I think this is antipasto but I'm not sure.
posted by GuyZero at 3:11 PM on August 12, 2019


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