Chile Pasilla Oaxaqueño Salsa


I am so inspired after my trip to Oaxaca and I’m not even sure where to begin. It was a Mexican culinary dream come true. I’ll be sure to write a full blog post all about it, but for now I wanted to share one of my inspirations…salsas.


The food was so amazing in Oaxaca and I was fascinated by the variety of salsas. They were so different, so flavorful, and most of them were made with chiles, herbs, and spices, that are native to Oaxaca. And they served the salsas with a variety of flavored corn tortillas that were toasted till crisp and everyone just cracked pieces off as needed. I loved this idea instead of unhealthy deep-fried tortilla chips.


I wanted to share a bit of Oaxaca and share a chile pasilla Oaxaqueño salsa I learned to make using a molcajete. I had the pleasure of learning how to make traditional Oaxacan dishes in the home of Reyna Mendoza and this salsa was one of the flavorful dishes we made in her cooking class. Reyna has collaborated with chefs Roberto Santibañez and Rick Bayless just to name a few. She is so knowledgeable and very humble — it was an honor to be in her beautiful outdoor kitchen learning from her.


The original salsa is actually made with pasilla Oaxaqueños that are produced only in the hilly Oaxaca region of southern Mexico. They have a strong smoky character, a scant hint of fruit, and a heat level that is pure and sharp but not overwhelming.

This chile is not very common in the United States so I substituted using regular pasilla chiles. Below is the simple recipe and if you want to go the traditional route feel free to make this salsa in a molcajete. I have included directions to make it in a blender for those of you who might not have a molcajete.

This salsa is rich, spicy, and makes a great table salsa and the perfect topping on tacos. Speaking of tacos, I hosted a taquiza recently and this salsa stole the show. I’ll share more about the taquiza later.


Like the crispy tortillas that were served with salsas in Oaxaca I have paired my salsa with Way Better Snacks. Their chips are first baked to reduce moisture and then, they fry them for a short time in sunflower or safflower oil to give the corn that delicious corn tortilla taste. Like in Oaxaca they have a variety of flavor options and are healthier than traditional tortilla chips.


I paired the smoky chile pasilla salsa with crunchy and mild black bean chips.

I also made a pico de gallo salsa and paired that with spicy sriracha chips, because spice with spice is always yummy.


I also made an avocado and tomatillo salsa and paired that with sweet potato chips, because I have always loved the combo of avocados and sweet potatoes.


Everybody loves to snack and Way Better Snacks is my new favorite chip and the perfect excuse to set up a salsa bar.

These chips are flavorful, crunchy, and baked with the highest-quality sprouted seeds, whole grains, and beans. They’re crazy tasty and high in antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins to boot. Sound too good to be true? It’s not, promise. And all their chips are GMO certified and gluten free. Bonus!


Chile Pasilla Oaxaqueño Salsa

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  • 5 chiles pasillas, preferably Oaxaqueños, stemmed and seeded
  • ½ pound tomatillo
  • 2 garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water


  • Roast tomatillos on a flat grill for 10 to 15 minutes or until soft.
  • Next roast chiles until soft and cover with hot water in a bowl to soften.
  • Blend chiles, garlic, and salt until smooth then add tomatillos and pulse blender two to three times to maintain a thick consistency.

I’d love to see what you cook!

Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.

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A special thanks to Way Better Snacks for sponsoring this blog post. Opinions are my own.

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