Zucchini Tacos with Queso Oaxaca and Salsa Macha

Put this veggie taco in your weekly rotation! Crisp tortillas are topped with blistered queso Oacaxa, grilled summer zucchini, and lots of rich and smoky salsa macha.

Salsa macha: Mexico’s “chili crisp”

A rich oil based sauce from Veracruz, salsa macha typically features a mixture of nuts, seeds, and dried chillies. Its unctuous and subtly smoky, with deep chocolate and coffee undertones from the dried chilies. Because this salsa uses nuts and oil as its base, its far more satiating than your average condiment. Slather it on tacos, grilled meats, eggs, roast potatoes, and grilled vegetables–it adds wonderful depth to pretty much anything it touches. I’ve adapted this salsa macha recipe from one of my favorite food creators, Sad Papi.

salsa macha

Substitutions and Adjustments

Dried chilies and queso Oaxaca can be widely found at most standard grocery store these days in addition to any local Mexican market. If you can’t find all three chilies, just adjust with the chilies you can find. For example, if you can’t find Guajillo, just use two ancho chilies. The flavors will be slightly different, but still equally delicious.

Queso oaxaca is mild and salty and, surprisingly, your best substitution would be just regular old string cheese. String cheese will melt just as good and provide a very similar flavor profile.

Zucchini Tacos with Queso Oaxaca and Salsa Macha

Recipe by Molly MossDifficulty: Easy



Put this veggie taco in your weekly rotation! Crisp tortillas are topped with blistered queso Oacaxa, grilled summer zucchini, and lots of rich and smoky salsa macha.


  • For the salsa macha
  • 1 dried guajillo chili

  • 1 dried ancho chili

  • 3 dried chili de arbol

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/4 cup peanuts

  • ⅛ cup sesame seeds

  • ⅔ cup canola oil

  • 1 tbsp dried mex oregano

  • 1.5-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

  • Salt to taste

  • For the tacos
  • 1.5 pound zucchini (look for smaller zucchini)

  • Olive oil

  • Zest and juice of 1 small lime

  • 1 tsp smokey adobo mexican seasoning (or any mix of spices that you want)

  • 8 corn tortillas

  • 8 oz Oaxacan cheese (use string cheese as a substitute)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Cilantro, raw minced onion, and lime wedges for serving


  • For the salsa macha
  • Remove the stem and seeds from the chilies and place the chilies in a heat proof bowl.
  • Add the peanuts, sesame seeds, and garlic to a small saucepan and cover with cold oil. Heat on medium until the garlic is golden brown and toasty, stirring regularly.
  • Pour the hot oil mixture over the chilies. Cover the bowl with a towel or tin foil and let steam for 10 minutes as everything cools.
  • Transfer the chili oil mixture to a food processor, and add the oregano and vinegar. Pulse until there are no large pieces of chilies, but a semi-chunky mixture remains.
  • Taste and add salt as needed.
  • For the tacos**
  • Preheat a grill over medium high heat.
  • Wash and dry the zucchini, then cut into wedges or batons (see image for reference). To do this, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then each half lengthwise again. For large zucchini, you may need to do an additional cut.
  • Place the zucchini on a baking sheet or in a bowl and coat with olive oil. Add the adobo (or dry seasoning of your choice), the lime zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Let sit while the grill preheats.
  • Grease a large sheet pan lightly with oil and spread the tortillas out evenly on the sheet pan so that none of them overlap. Slice the oaxacan cheese and evenly distribute the cheese between tortillas.
  • Right before you start grilling the zucchini, place an oven rack directly beneath the broiler and preheat the oven to broil.
  • Grill the zucchini for about 4 minutes on one side (covered), which should give you nice grill marks. Flip the zucchini and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of your zucchini.
  • When the zucchini are done, remove them from the grill and set aside.
  • Place the sheet pan with the tortillas directly under the broiler and broil for 1-2 minutes, checking at the one minute mark as they can go from perfect to extra toasty very quickly (a few of mine got a little too toasty).
  • To assemble, place a few wedges of zucchini in each taco and top with salsa macha and fresh cilantro and onion (if desired). Serve with lime wedges.
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