Pasilla de Oaxaca-Tomatillo Salsa

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Not only does this salsa complement chicken flautas, it will enliven just about any dish, particularly grilled, broiled, or roasted meat, poultry, or fish. It has quite a kick from the chiles, and that is how it should be. The heat can always be controlled by the number of chiles used and whether some or all of the seeds and ribs are removed from them (the more you remove, the milder the sauce will be). Think of this as a blueprint, not a recipe. Just about any chile with a good kick, like chipotles, chiles de árbol, or piquin, can be substituted for the pasillas de Oaxaca.

On the Comal or Griddle: Heat the comal or griddle over medium-low heat. Add the tomatillos and cook, turning as necessary, until they are evenly softened and their skins are blackened, about 15 minutes.

Under the Broiler: Position the rack about 8 inches from the broiler and prehheat the broiler, to low if possible. Put the tomatillos on the broiler pan and broil, turning as necessary, until the skins are blackened evenly on all sides, about 20 minutes.

Either way, cool the tomatillos in a bowl to capture the juices. It is not necessary to skin or core the tomatillos before using them.

Makes1 1/3 cups

Cooking Methodroasting



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, kosher, lactose-free, low calorie, low carb, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian


Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturehot & spicy, savory, smoky, tangy

Type of Dishsauces


  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, washed, and roasted (see Notes)
  • 3 pasilla de Oaxaca chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, most seeds tapped out, and toasted
  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • Salt


While the tomatillos are cooling, soak the chiles: Put them in a bowl and pour over enough cold water to cover them completely. Soak until pliable but not completely softened, about 20 minutes. Drain.

Combine the drained chiles, garlic, and one-third of the cooled tomatillos in a blender jar and blend until smooth. Add the remaining tomatillos and blend, using quick on/off pulses, just until smooth; don’t overblend. Pour into a bowl and season with salt. The salsa can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours or refrigerated for up to 12 hours before serving.

Before roasting, remove the husks and wash thhe tomatillos thorougly to remove all traces of stickiness. Leave the cores intact.



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