We’ve all been hearing about the looming avocado shortage for some time — but with less fruit available, and typically only at monstrously high prices, some restaurants have found a creative way to work around the loss: What many have been calling “mockamole.” What is “mockamole,” you ask? Basically, it’s a guacamole-like dip made with other vegetables in the place of the coveted avocado. Does it taste exactly the same? Of course not — but as far as many restaurants are concerned, it’s miles better than the guac that results from using frozen avocado pulp.
One such restaurant is a location of Chacho’s, a Tex-Mex chain, in San Antonio, Texas. Back in July, this Chacho’s posted a sign in alerting customers to the avocado situation: “Temporarily there are no avocados available for us to buy. Consequently, we cannot make or sell guacamole,” the sign read. However, they noted, “We have produced a ‘Mockamole’ made from several green vegetables that we think is delicious.” For items that usually come with guac, customers were given the choice between getting the mockamole instead, or else to substitute shredded cheese, queso, or sour cream for the missing dip.
In an email sent to MySA.com in July, Chacho’s elaborated on the makeup of the mockamole, as well as why they opted to create it in the first place. “We can buy frozen avocado pulp, but it tastes so artificial that we refuse to use it,” the email stated. Enter mockamole. Chacho’s version is made using “broccoli, green peas, and other green vegetables,” along with a number of spices.
Interestingly, according to Chacho’s, the reason for their avocado shortage wasn’t because of the trade war our current presidential administration has been flirting with starting; it was because they were between the growing seasons in California and Mexico — the two places from which the restaurant usually sources its avocados. Quartz additionally noted that the California avocado crop has been unusually small this year, which likely isn’t helping matters: In February 2019, the California avocado industry was already anticipating this growing season yielding the smallest crop in a decade due to the severe heatwave conditions that struck previous year. The estimate for production at the time was around 175 million pounds — which, according to Fresh Fruit Portal, was 48 % lower than the previous year’s crop.
(Tariffs could very well make it almost impossible to get a hold of avocados in the future, though. As Quartz put it, "Mockamole is what a trade war with Mexico would taste like." Just, y'know... FYI.)
Chacho’s did also note in their July email to MySA.com that the avocado season had since resumed and that a new batch of avocados was on its way from Mexico that week. “Hopefully, we won’t go through this again for another four or five years,” the email said.
But Chacho’s is far from the only restaurant that has come up with a guac substitute using other ingredients, especially as the cost of avocados continues to rise. According to Insider, some spots have been replacing avocados with calabacitas — a kind of squash. “Not only is Mexican squash currently more affordable than avocados, but when churned into a paste alongside tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno, it boasts a bright green hue reminiscent of the real deal,” the outlet wrote last week.
It’s worth noting, too, that the idea of mockamole isn’t new. Indeed, it’s actually been around for quite a while, as evinced by this post originally published in 2009 on Tamp Bay alternative newsweekly site Creative Loafing. The recipe included in the Creative Loafing post uses frozen green peas which have been thawed and drained as its main ingredient; all you have to do to make it is to combine the peas with any other ingredients you usually like to include in your guac — cumin, garlic, lemon or lime juice, onions, you name it — in a blender or food processor and whirl away.
Green peas actually pop up again and again as the main base ingredient in mockamole recipes — so, uh, remember when the New York Times published a recipe for guacamole that included peas in its Food section in 2015 and was widely ridiculed for it? We… might owe them apology.
But if green peas don’t do it for you, you can also substitute any number of veggies — calabacitas, broccoli, edamame, and asparagus are all commonly-used options. Or, you can do as Chacho’s did back in July and use a combination of many veggies to make up your perfect blend. Again, it won’t taste exactly like your beloved avocado-based dip… but in the absence of actual avocados, it’ll get the job done. And hey, something guac-like is better than no guac at all, right?