Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Árbol Chile Salsa

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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

3 thoughts on “Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Árbol Chile Salsa”

  1. 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.

    1. 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)!

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