This pureed, Yucatan-inspired salsa is complex in flavor, because of the nature of its prepared ingredients. It is almost always used as a condiment, due to its intensity.

Serve with tostadas before or with a meal, or as a snack with vegetables.

MAKE AHEAD: The salsa can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.


1/2 cup hulled, raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

3 fresh plum tomatoes

1 tomatillo, husked and rinsed

1/4 of a small white onion, cut into chunks

6 cloves garlic

1 fresh chile de arbol or Thai/bird’s-eye chile pepper

4 dried guajillo chile peppers

1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more as needed


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2

Spread the pumpkin seeds on a small, rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the tomatoes, tomatillo, onion, garlic and fresh chile on a separate rimmed baking sheet; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the pumpkin seeds for about 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted; bake the tomato mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, until the ingredients have softened. Uncover to cool for a bit.

Step 3

Meanwhile, lightly toast the dried guajillo peppers in a dry skillet or over an open flame for about 30 seconds on each side, taking care not to burn them (or they will turn bitter). Place in a bowl and add enough water to cover; let sit for about 5 minutes and then drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Remove the seeds from the hydrated peppers.

Step 4

Combine the toasted pumpkin seeds, the rehydrated guajillos, the softened tomato mixture and salt in a blender; puree until smooth. Add a little of the reserved soaking liquid, as needed, to achieve a hummus-like consistency. Taste, and add more salt, as needed.

Step 5

Serve at room temperature.

Adapted from “Tu Casa Mi Casa: Mexican Recipes for the Home Cook,” by Enrique Olvera with Luis Arellano, Gonzalo Gout and Daniela Soto-Innes (Phaidon, 2019).

Tested by Bonnie Benwick; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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The nutritional analysis is based on 1/4-cup servings.


Calories: 60; Total Fat: 4 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 420 mg; Carbohydrates: 5 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 3 g.