It’s been almost a year since I discovered the awesomeness that is guacamole taco sauce. This smooth and creamy avocado salsa is highly addictive stuff, bringing just enough heat to tingle the tastebuds without feeling like you need to call the fire department.
Now that we’re all stuck at home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m finding myself in need of just such a condiment that can work for a variety of uses. I’ve read through like a hundred variations of this recipe online, and after a little experimentation, I think I’ve settled on the most straightforward version that only takes maybe 15 minutes to throw together and doesn’t require hard-to-find ingredients.
The recipe below is a great starting point that wont steer you wrong, and produces just enough to last a few meals. However, the magic of it is that you can scale and modify it however you like.
Use an extra avocado if you want it even creamier. Throw an extra pepper or two in there for added zing. Double or triple the recipe to bring to a party. (No matter how much you bring, it will go fast!) It’s really a versatile sauce that allows for a lot of playing around.
Note: The hero image above depicts a thicker salsa than what we’re aiming for here. I just don’t happen to have a fresh batch on hand to get a photo of right now; ours is about gone and I need to make more 😋
What You’ll Need:
- Cutting board
- Basic chef knife
- Medium saucepan
- Spider strainer
- Personal/mini blender — If you already own a large blender, that’s fine; it just might be overkill for this job unless you’re going to scale the recipe up.
- Mason jar or other storage container — I’ve had decent luck with the leftover jars of Bonne Maman preserves after they’ve been washed. However, this recipe does produce a slight bit more than they can handle, so I have to be ready to use some of it right away — or less ideally, put the whole blender container in my small RV fridge.
- 5 small tomatillos, husks peeled and skin washed (see notes)
- 2 small ripe avocados, pitted (you already know how to do that, right?), with the flesh sliced or cubed
- 2 serrano peppers (3 if you want some extra heat), with stems removed
- 2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
- ¼ of an onion, roughly chopped
- ~¼ cup fresh cilantro (you really don’t need very much, unless you’re super into cilantro-forward dishes)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Juice of 1 lime
1. In a medium saucepan, cover the tomatillos with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let them simmer for 5–10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until they’re soft enough they look ready to burst (but don’t let them actually do that!) — they’ll be much paler in color when they’re ready to come out.
Use the spider strainer to gently remove the tomatillos and set them aside on a cutting board to cool a little, or put them straight into your blender, whichever you prefer.
👉 Reserve that water for blending with later. You shouldn’t need more than maybe half a cup, but keep all of it just in case.
2. In a cast iron skillet or directly atop a propane burner, roast the serranos on all sides until they’ve taken on a good amount of color. If you like, chop the peppers into smaller pieces for easier blending. There’s no need to de-seed them; we want that heat, which will be offset by the creaminess of the avocados.
🔥🌶 Roasting the peppers develops a lot of excellent flavor, but the recipe still works fine if you’d rather skip this step. You can also substitute jalapeños or whatever other type pepper you wish, based on your spice tolerance.
3. Add the boiled tomatillos, roasted serranos, avocado chunks, garlic cloves, cilantro, chopped onion, and a generous amount of kosher salt to blender. Cut a lime in two and squeeze the juice of one half into the mix — reserve the other half in case you need it for taste later. Also add a small amount of the tomatillo cooking water, maybe a couple tablespoons to start with.
4. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to pour easily after, add some more of the tomatillo water (in small amounts!) and keep blending until it reaches the right consistency. Use a spoon to taste the salsa as you go, adding a little more lime juice and/or salt as needed.
5. The mixture will likely still be pretty warm at this point thanks to the boiled tomatillos, so set the blender container aside to cool a few minutes before pouring it into a container and/or refrigerating.
6. Serve however you like. Dip your favorite chips in it, pour some of it over tacos (even breakfast tacos!), spoon a little of it onto salmon, smear it on toast…the sky’s the limit!
🌮 This sauce was destined to be eaten on tacos first and foremost. A pro tip I have for that is, if you’re going to use packaged corn tortillas, heat them on both sides in a cast iron skillet — or better yet, directly over a propane stove burner — using tongs to flip them.
The key thing is that you use dry heat — not a microwave, and not a pan with oil. They’ll take on a beautiful spotty color with a perfectly crispy texture, and taste like something straight from a restaurant. Don’t sleep on this tip!
🚿 When you remove their husks, the tomatillos will feel sticky to the touch. This is totally normal! Just rinse off that stickiness thoroughly before boiling them.
🕑 The salsa keeps in the fridge for about a week or two, depending on how often you open it. Between my wife and I, this stuff goes so fast that shelf life isn’t much of a concern.