Salsa Roja (Tested)

Serves     Makes about 1 cup


This is a basic salsa, that can be used for chips, on tacos, eggs, and of course, pupusas! It is not terribly spicy. If you like things spicier go ahead and leave the seeds in the chiles.


2 medium sized tomatoes, cut in half

½ small onion, cut into two thick slices

1 jalapeño pepper, cut in half and seeded

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 dried chiles, such as New Mexico, or Guajillo

2 dried chipotle chiles

1 tsp. kosher salt


Prepare a small baking sheet by lining it with foil. Place the tomatoes (cut side down), onion, jalapeño (cut side down), and garlic cloves on the baking sheet and put under the broiler. Broil until the vegetables start to become charred, checking every few minutes. You may have to remove some of the smaller items as they become done.

You don’t want them to char too quickly because you also want the onion and garlic to cook a little bit as well. You will have to position the broiler rack just the right distance from the element to achieve this.

Meanwhile, toast the dried chiles in a dry frying pan for a minute or two until they start to soften. Remove from pan and let cool. Remove the stem and shake out the seeds from the chiles. Put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them soak for about 20 to 30 minutes until they are softened. Remove from the water and set aside.

When the vegetables are ready and the chiles softened, put them in a blender and puree, along with the salt. You may need to add a splash of water to get things going. I found that I added up to one-quarter cup of water to get the consistency I wanted.

Serve with pupusas – or anything else that you like delicious sauce on!

El Salvador

Notes and Instructions

Recipe and photo credit: Linda McElroy