Yes, a Smoky and Spicy Salsa without chipotle peppers or liquid smoke. Personally, I am a fan of chipotle peppers when used with restraint. I often find that many recipes or dishes are over done with chipolte peppers and you miss all the other delicious flavors that make up a dish. For this smoky and spicy homemade salsa we are using dried peppers, pasilla and arbol chiles. This lends the smoky flavor without over powering the other flavors. This simple recipe for homemade smoked salsa comes together quickly with minimal simple ingredients that you should be able to find in the Latin foods section of your local grocery store, if you can't find these check out my suggested substitutes below. The pasilla pepper lends a slight smoky salsa flavor, while the chiles de arbol bring the spice making a addictive flavor profile that you will keep you coming back for more.
I make my smoky roasted salsa in my high power blender, but feel free to use a food processor in place of a blender. Both work well to break up and blend the simple ingredients. Similar to salsa verde recipes, I use tomatillos in this recipe, but the tomato and chiles turn this into a delicious salsa roja.
If you want a milder salsa, you can reduce the amount of chiles de arbol, but keep the pasilla chile. I hope this becomes one of your favorite salsas and it inspires you to try more of our great recipes. We love spicy food at the Whole Revolution, so check out some additional recipes that bring the extra heat and spicy kick. I love this salsa in breakfast burritos, because it brings the heat and flavor and harmonizes will with eggs and potatoes.
- Roma tomatoes or plum tomatoes
- Garlic cloves
- Dried pasilla
- Dried chile de arbol
- White onion or red onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh lime juice
- Sea salt or kosher salt
See recipe card for quantities.
- Peel and thoroughly wash tomatillos until not sticky to touch.
- Remove the chile heads, shake out the seeds and discard the head and seeds.
- Place a skillet over medium-high heat and heat for 1 minute. Place tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, and chile into the dry skillet. Once chiles have softened, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Remove the garlic cloves and place them with chiles. Let the remaining ingredients char for an additional 8-10 minutes, turning to get as much char as possible.
- Place charred ingredients into a small pot and add one cup of water. Bring to simmer and remove from the heat.
- Place tomatillos, tomatoes, chiles, and garlic into a high-speed blender. Keep the cooking water.
- Add ½ cup of cooking water and blend using the pulse function until ingredients are combined.
- In a large bowl, add the diced onion and chopped cilantro.
- Pour the blended salsa over the cilantro and onion. Mix until well combined.
- Add the lime juice and salt to taste. Mix well. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
If you are looking for a great salsa recipe utilized canned ingredients, like fire-roasted tomatoes, I suggest my Mom's Table Salsa, her original recipe that has graced our family dinner table for many years.
- Pasilla chiles - if you can find dried pasilla peppers, feel free to use a dried ancho chile
- Arbol chiles - cayenne, thai and japones can be substituted to bring the heat
- Tomatoes - though roma and plum are the most common, you could use any red fresh tomatoes
- Pan roast - you can also place ingredients on a sheet pan or baking sheet and place under the broiler, turning items until charred evenly
- High speed blender, food processor, or molcajete
- Large bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
This fresh smoked salsa recipe will keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to three days.
Don't blend your onion and cilantro into your salsa. Chop or dice the fresh cilantro and onion and add the salsa to the ingredients. This helps create texture, and balance of flavor in a great way. Serve with freshly made crispy tortilla chips for the perfect starter, appetizer or snack.
Adding any of a combination of the following ingredients will add spice to your salsa:
Canned or fresh jalapeno peppers
Crushed red pepper flakes
Canned chipotle chiles
It depends on the peppers you are using, but the longer the salsa has time to sit the better the flavors will meld together. Like spaghetti sauce, waiting till the next day to eat the salsa can make a huge difference in the flavor profile.
Yes, diluting your salsa with a small amount of water or broth can lower the level of heat. You can also try adding additional tomatoes to blend out the spice.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with [this recipe]:
A Smoky and Spicy Salsa Roja without Chipotle
- 1 Stovetop
- 10 tomatillos
- 2 Roma Tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large dried pasilla
- 4 chile de Arbol
- ½ large white yellow or red onion, finely diced
- 1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
- 2 limes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Peel and thoroughly wash tomatillos until not sticky to touch. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and heat for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatillos, tomatoes, garlic, and chile to the dry pan. Once chiles have softened, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Remove the garlic cloves and place them with chiles.
- Let the remaining ingredients char for an additional 8-10 minutes, turning to get as much char as possible. Place charred ingredients into a small pot and add one cup of water. Bring to simmer and remove from the heat. Place tomatillos, tomatoes, chiles, and garlic into a high-speed blender. Add ½ cup of water, and blend until well combined, adding more water as needed to create desired consistency.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the diced onion and chopped cilantro. Pour the chile sauce over the cilantro and onion. Mix until well combined. Add the juice from the limes and the salt. Mix well. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Enjoy!
One of the most important things to consider when making fresh salsa is cross contamination. Because you are using fresh ingredients follow the tips below to ensure your salsa is safe.
- Wash and dry all of your raw vegetables throughly
- Keep raw vegetables away from raw meats
- Keep salsa in the refrigerator until ready to serve
- If hot out, place salsa bowl on ice to keep cool
- Cook foods to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove