Salsa Roja (Made in the Blender!)

By Alexandra Caspero on April 28, 2022
A creamy salsa that's fantastic on tacos, burritos and more!
Makes 1 1/2 cups

Smoky, creamy salsa roja! Made in the blender in less than 10 minutes. Roja salsa with simple, pantry ingredients: dried chili peppers, canned fire roasted tomatoes and onions. 

It’s no secret that we love salsa in my house. My canning salsa recipe has hundreds of 5-star reviews, and we make at least a few dozen jars every summer to enjoy throughout the year. 

Mango salsa makes an appearance whenever I see honey mangoes on sale and no taco night would be complete with a batch of my creamy jalapeño salsa

With chips and salsa being my husbands favorite snack and lentil tacos being my weeknight dinner of choice, it’s safe to say that we go through a lot of salsa. 

This salsa roja is one of my favorite quick sauces to make– and ready in just 10 minutes with mostly pantry ingredients! Creamy and smoky it’s perfect for enchiladas, quesadillas, crispy tacos, nachos and more. 

Ingredients For Roja Salsa In A Skillet

My creamy jalapeño sauce is one of my absolute favorite recipes, inspired by the Salsa Doña recipe from Taco Deli in Austin, Texas. I love that it’s a creamy salsa recipe without any cream, relying on the blended roasted jalapeño peppers and garlic to create a silky infusion. 

When I tried a similar creamy roja sauce at our local taqueria a few years ago, I knew I wanted to try and recreate something similar. As with most of my inspired recipes, I can’t claim authenticity, but I can promise that if you love salsa then you will love this salsa roja. 

Roja Sauce With Chips

Salsa Roja Ingredient Notes 

  • Dried chili peppers: I use New Mexico Chili Peppers, but most will work depending on flavor and spice level. Chipotle peppers are also a great choice for a smokier sauce. Arbol chilies, ancho chilies, anaheim chilies or guajillo peppers will all work in this salsa roja recipe. If you want to use jalapeno peppers, then I recommend this jalapeno salsa instead.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes. The fire-roasted makes the salsa have more heat and flavor, and I don’t recommend regular diced tomatoes unless you don’t like any spice and prefer a very mild salsa.  
  • Oil: You can use either olive oil or a neutral-tasting oil for this.
  • Fresh lime juice: The hint of acid is nice at the end; if you don’t have fresh lime juice, you can use lemon juice or even a small splash of vinegar. 
Close Up Of Salsa Roja With A Chip

Instructions for making this Salsa Roja Recipe

Soften the dried peppers

Soften the peppers in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning to toast and soften. This will make it easier to handle and easier to remove the stem and seeds. If you want a very spicy salsa, then you can leave in the seeds but I prefer to remove them before cooking in the tomato sauce. 

Cook the onion

Saute the onion and garlic until very softened.

Add in the rest of the ingredients to the blender

Add in the tomatoes, cumin and salt, then transfer to a blender and puree until creamy and smooth. Add in a splash of lime juice at the end.

Roja Salsa With Chips

If you are new to working with dried peppers, you can usually find them in the produce aisle at most grocery stores or at speciality stores, like Penzey’s Spices

I love cooking with dried chile peppers as they impart so much flavor, much like dried mushrooms and spices do with other dishes. They are also very versatile and can be used in so many dishes like chili and homemade enchilada sauce

Roja Sauce In A Jar

I can’t wait for you to try this creamy salsa roja. It’s obviously great on it’s own with tortilla chips, but is the perfect red sauce to add flavor and spice to so many inspired Mexican dishes. Try it with: 

Ingredients For Roja Salsa In A Skillet

Hope you love this salsa as much as we do! It’s so yummy, and love that it’s made in the blender and ready in just 10 minutes.

More salsa recipes and sauces 

Salsa RojaIf you make this salsa roja recipe, come back and leave a comment and a rating! Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day. 

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Salsa Roja (Made in the Blender!)

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: ~1 1/2 cups
  • Category: sauce, salsa, healthy
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: Mexican Inspired, Tex Mex
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Smoky, creamy salsa roja! Made in the blender in less than 10 minutes. Roja salsa with simple, pantry ingredients: dried chili peppers, canned fire roasted tomatoes and onions. 


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: ~1 1/2 cups
  • Category: sauce, salsa, healthy
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: Mexican Inspired, Tex Mex
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: ~1 1/2 cups
  • Category: sauce, salsa, healthy
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: Mexican Inspired, Tex Mex
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 dried chili peppers (I use New Mexico Chili Peppers see note below)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • (15 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Instructions

  1. Place the chili pepper in a dry skillet over medium high heat and cook, 1-2 minutes per side, until softened and lightly toasted. Use a knife to remove the stem, shake the seeds out then roughly chop.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the same skillet and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until softened, then add in the garlic, tomatoes with their juice, cumin and salt. Add in the chopped dried peppers and cook for 5 minutes, until mixture is heated through and onion is very soft.
  3. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until creamy and smooth. Add in the splash of lime juice, then season to taste for salt as desired.

Notes

*Chipotle peppers are also a great choice for a smokier sauce. Arbol chilies, ancho chilies, anahheim chilies or guajillo peppers will all work in this recipe.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Sally
      December 1, 2023 AT 12:29 am

      This recipe is SO good! It is very similar to the salsa at my favorite local Mexican restaurant. I had no idea that the salsa had no dairy and was still a very creamy, light color. I like it extra spicy so I use 3-4 arbol chiles, but beware these are super spicy. I’ve made is several times now and it’s an easy reliable recipe.






    2. Kat abrams
      May 24, 2022 AT 12:12 pm

      This salsa was so quick and easy to make, packed with a lot of fresh flavor and a little kick. We ate it on everything!






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