Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Árbol Chile Salsa

Roasted Tomato Salsa

My husband and girls adore a good bowl of salsa. We buy Mi Cocina‘s stuff in quart-size containers, and it disappears speedily. So yesterday, I tried a new recipe for a homemade version. Twas mighty tasty, so I thought I’d share with y’all…

Roasted Tomato and Árbol Chile Salsa

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine


  • 5 plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise (or 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • 12 dried árbol chiles, stems discarded
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Arrange the tomato halves cut side down on a rimmed sheet pan, and broil until the skins are charred and blistered, about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the tomatoes over, and broil until charred in spots, about 5 minutes more. Discard the tomato skins.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  5. Add the chopped garlic, and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. (Don’t let them get too brown as you will continue to cook them.)
  6. Add the árbol chiles to the skillet, and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  7. Scrape the chiles, garlic, and oil into a food processor or blender. Add the water and pulse, scraping down the sides, until a chunky puree forms, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the tomatoes, cumin, and oregano and pulse until the texture is right for you.
  9. Season with salt to taste.

This recipe delivers a garlicky, hot, not-so-tomato-y salsa, which was muy delicioso. Consider the following variations to get the taste and texture you prefer:

  • Double the tomatoes to make it sweeter and more tomato-y. I followed the original recipe — tasted it and loved it — but decided to add a can of fire-roasted tomatoes to get it closer to the kind of salsa we prefer. Bueno, bueno.
  • Stir in a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro at the end. We didn’t have any, but it would be a great addition.
  • If you prefer a less spicy salsa, consider reducing the number of chiles and/or deseeding the ones you use. I used all 12 and deseeded about half of them by cutting them in half and shaking the seeds out. The resulting concoction is a bit hot for my taste, but the family thinks it’s awesome.

A bit of chile trivia: The chile de árbol (Spanish for “tree chile”) is a Mexican pepper. It’s also referred to as the “bird’s beak chile” and the “rat’s tail chile”. I learned its heat index is between 15,000 and 30,000 Scoville units, compared to a jalapeno with a heat index of 3,500 – 8,000.

If you crave more, check out these other salsa recipes from the Important Media network:

Image Credit: rossination via flickr/CC

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About the Author

Hi all! I'm Mary Gerush - a recovering corporate worker bee turned good-farm-real-food advocate and writer who wants to help people understand what they're eating. I tend a tiny urban farm in Dallas, TX, and hope to scale up one day soon. Omnivore through-and-through, there's not much I love to eat more than a butter-basted grass fed steak fresh from a searing hot cast iron skillet. Follow me on , , and !
  • It is tough to beat a roasted salsa! It definitely changes the flavors of the ingredients when you get a good broil on them. I tried this with the ingredients for guacamole the other day and loved it. I’ll have to try your salsa recipe next.

    • Mary Gerush

      Thanks for the comment. I’d love to hear how you made your guac. Let me know if you like the salsa (and/or how you modify it to make it better)!

  • AEM

    I’m going to try it with New Mexico green chile!!