My Tia’s Venezuelan Avocado-Cilantro Guasacaca Sauce Recipe Is So Good for Your Heart (but It’s Better for Your Soul)

Photo: Stocksy/ Tatjana Zlatkovic
One thing I love about my Venezuelan family is that no matter how far apart we may be, conversations about food (on the WhatsApp family group chat) keep us bound together. One recipe that remains pinned to the chat at all times? My tía Lindy’s famous guasacaca recipe.

What is guasacaca, you may be wondering? Think of it as the Venezuelan lovechild of guacamole and salsa verde. It’s vibrant green, highly flavorful, and pairs well with just about any recipe—think grilled chicken, roasted veggies, and (swoon) homemade arepas. The best part: All you need is a blender to whip together this tasty and nutrient-rich dipping sauce.

Ahead, discover some of the most traditional ways to consume guasacaca and tips for making it last as long as possible when stowed away in the fridge.

What is guasacaca? 

In Peru, there’s ají verde, while in Argentina, there’s chimichurri—but ask Venezuelans (or Dominicans) what their favorite green sauce to dunk things into is, and they’ll more than likely say it’s guasacaca, aka wasakaka.

Guasacaca is made in the blender from a medley of deliciously vibrant green veggies: avocado, green bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, parsley, and lime. But like most family recipes, you’ll discover that how guasacaca is prepared varies from household to household and depending on where you go. Some folks may include Worcestershire sauce for added umami, while others may leave out the avocado altogether (this will yield a less viscous consistency).

To that end, my family's non-negotiables for making this recipe include avocado, garlic (the more, the merrier IMO), scallions, cilantro, parsley, and lime. However, for even more tanginess and zestiness, we also like to throw in some jalapeños for heat and vinegar for acidity to balance the flavors, but both are optional.

That said, if all of the above wasn’t enough of an excuse to give this tasty sauce a try, did you know that one avocado is packed with 14 grams of fiber? (That’s about half of your recommended daily intake.) Plus, if you’re one of the lucky ones that don’t think that cilantro tastes like a bar of soap, it’s time to load up because research on the Blue Zones has shown that cilantro is a longevity-boosting herb thanks to quercetin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. I’m saying it loud and clear: It’s time to take the backseat, ketchup.

What’s the best way to eat guasacaca? 

Like most condiments, guasacaca pairs well with whatever your heart desires and simply enhances what you’re eating with its tongue-tingling flavors—which is why you can use it as you would guacamole, salsa verde, or hey, mustard for that matter. This sauce's tangy and refreshing flavor profile compliments richer proteins like grilled fish, meat, or poultry. It's also is a match made in heaven for milder-tasting dishes, like roasted veggies or even a bowl of tortilla chips.

For a more traditional Venezuelan approach, my aunt Lindy recommends pairing guasacaca with grilled skirt steak and fried or boiled yuca batons, which she says is simply “delicioso.” And this almost goes without saying, but you can’t go wrong with homemade arepas, vegan empanadas, or my personal favorite, tequeños (Venezuelan breaded cheese sticks) slathered with a generous amount of fresh guasacaca.

Tip for storing this sauce to last as long as possible

According to my aunt Lindy, you can store the sauce in a glass airtight container for up to a week. She also recommends adding the pit of the avocado into the mix to help reduce oxidation. (Although this may be more of an 'old tias' tale.') When I previously tested five ways to keep an avocado from turning brown, I found that the “pit method” wasn’t as effective as other techniques. But, hey, whatever works for you.

To that end, the most important aspect of preserving this sauce (as successfully as possible) is reducing the oxygen exposure that can react with the oxidation-prone avocados found in the mixture. So, adding a thin layer of plastic wrap to cover the surface and pressing it down to remove any excess air before sealing it off with the lid can work wonders in prolonging the freshness of this sauce. (And avoid double-dipping at all costs, which can lead to quicker spoilage.)

@wherejuliaeats Guasacaca ?? también conocida como la mejor salsa para acompañar una parrilla #guasacaca #guasacacavenezolana #salsavenezolana #comidavenezolana #parrillavenezolana ♬ Dulce - Los Amigos Invisibles

Venezuelan guasacaca recipe 

Yields 4 servings

1 medium avocado
1 garlic clove (or more to taste)
1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped and seeds removed
1/4 scallions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 jalapeño pepper, optional
2 Tbsp rice vinegar, optional
Juice of a lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Neutral oil, to taste

1. In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients except for the oil. In the opening of the lid, slowly add the oil until the ingredients are homogenous and emulsified. Add more or less liquid to reach desired consistency.

An RD shares the benefits of avocados:

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