Crispy Mushroom Tacos with Salsa Macha and Garlic Crema

By Holly Haines


The salsa macha really makes this taco, and I vividly remember the first time I ever had it at Lola55 in San Diego. I’d never had anything like it, it was spicy, oily, crunchy, and I wanted it on everything. Salsa macha is now something I always have on hand. Leftovers keep well refrigerated, and it’s fun to switch up the chiles (guajillo, ancho, California, morita, New Mexico) and the nuts (pistachios, pepitas, almonds) and find interesting combinations. I never make it the same way twice, but usually add in 2-3 chile de arbol - they’re tiny and spicy and provide just the right amount of kick. Do wear gloves when dealing with the chiles, and I say that as someone who has deseeded them and then taken out her contact lenses.

Active Time: 45 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins

Crispy Mushroom Tacos with Salsa Macha and Garlic Crema


  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 5 limes
  • 1 ¼ lbs shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 ripe avocados


  • 2 oz dried chiles (guajillo, ancho pasilla, chile de arbol, New Mexico; see headnote)
  • 1 cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 small corn tortillas


  • ½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 375:

2. Make the salsa macha:

  • Wearing gloves, remove the stems and seeds from 2 oz dried chilies and discard. Cut or tear the chiles into roughly 2” pieces. Peel 6 cloves of garlic.
  • In a medium saucepan, place 1 cup grapeseed oil, 1/2 cup peanuts and 6 cloves garlic. Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic just starts to brown in spots, 5-7 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the chilies. Let steep in the oil for 15 minutes.
  • Scrape everything into a food processor and pulse until the peanuts are broken down into tiny pieces, like a loose crunchy peanut butter. It should be drizzelable but homogeneous with lots of little bits of crunchy chilies and nuts. Transfer to a bowl and season with the juice of 2 limes and 1½ teaspoons kosher salt; add more of either to taste.

3. Roast the mushrooms:

  • Remove the stems from 1 ¼ pounds mushrooms. If your mushrooms are especially dirty, give them a quick rinse. Otherwise, brush off any small pieces of dirt with a paper towel. Cut into 1/2” slices and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil and ¾ teaspoon each smoked paprika, dried oregano, and pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss together to coat the mushrooms with seasonings and oil. 
  • Place on the bottom rack in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through, until browned and crispy in spots, but still plump--they shouldn't be mushroom chips! While the mushrooms are cooking, make the garlic crema and start on the tortillas.

4. Make the garlic crema:

  • Finely chop 2 tablespoons of cilantro and place in a small bowl. Grate 1 clove of garlic into the same bowl, then add in ½ cup crema or sour cream, the juice of 1 lime and ½ teaspoon of salt.  If you like, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin down the consistency to something that can drizzle. Adjust salt and lime juice to taste.

4. Make the tortillas and prep the garnish:

  • Spread ¼ cup shredded cheese in an even layer in a circle in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Leave to melt, undisturbed. Once melted and starting to brown on the edges, place 1 corn tortilla on top, slightly offset from the circle of cheese to leave a little bit of the melting cheese visible. Continue to cook until the cheese is browned and toasty, another 30-45 seconds. Use a spatula to loosen the cheese from the pan and flip the tortilla. Cook for another 20 seconds, then move to a plate. Keep tortillas warm under a tea towel or in a tortilla warmer while you repeat with remaining tortillas and cheese.
  • Slice the avocados. Cut remaining 2 limes into wedges. Tear a handful of cilantro.

4. Assemble the tacos:

  • Schmear garlic crema over the center of each cheesy corn tortilla. Top with about ¼ cup shiitake mushrooms, a spoonful of salsa macha, a few slices of avocado and some torn cilantro. Serve lime wedges on the side for squeezing.

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