Molcajete salsa is a rustic and chunky Mexican salsa made in a stone mortar and pestle. This salsa de molcajete is great on tortilla chips or on any of your favorite Mexican dishes.
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Did you know that good homemade traditional Mexican salsas made with the freshest ingredients can change your life?
It absolutely can.
And did you know that making your own Mexican salsa is super easy? It is. I promise.
The salsa recipe I’m sharing today is a rustic or old-fashioned kind of salsa because of the way that it’s prepare.
Molcajeteada means made or ground up in a molcajete.
Back before everyone in Mexico had blenders (or even before they were invented), cooks used their molcajetes to make their daily salsas.
A molcajete is a lava or volcanic rock mortar and pestle.
Sure, nowadays you can just grab the blender (or even a food processor), but there’s a certain magic in using a molcajete.
There are even many traditional cooks that believe that the flavors and ingredients only truly come alive when ground in a molcajete.
You’ll just have to try it yourself and see if it’s true…I think it is.
Why You Should Make This Molcajete Salsa Recipe
If you love the explosion of flavor and that unmatchable taste of authentic Mexican food and it’s incredible salsas, then you need to make this recipe.
When you use your authentic Mexican molcajete you get a salsa taste that is unlike any other salsa you can blend, buy at the store or get at most restaurants.
This salsa is savory, a little spicy, a tad sweet and just an explosion of deliciousness in every bite.
You can enjoy it with corn tortilla chips, on top of a vegan carne asada, on tacos, quesadillas and countless other Mexican dishes.
Plus it’s a great way to use up ripe tomatoes!
Using a Molcajete
To make this great salsa recipe you really do need to have a Mexican mortar and pestle.
If you’ve recently purchased a new molcajete and this will be your first time using it, then you need to make sure that you cure it first.
I have written a very informative guide teaching you how to use a splash of water, uncooked rice, a small amount of salt and some garlic cloves to cure the molcajete.
You can find that guide here, How to Cure a Molcajete. It covers not only how to cure and care for your Mexican molcajete but also the types of traditional molcajetes you can purchase.
Restaurant Style Salsa But Homemade
When you go to Mexican restaurants and they bring out a delicious salsa, you know the rest of the food is going to be great.
A good traditional Mexican restaurant will always send out a couple of salsas. Always look for that fresh taste. If you get one like this here, one which the ingredients are charred, you’ll know your about to enjoy some amazing flavors.
I love that smoky flavor that charring gives to my salsa ingredients.
So next time you’re at home and start craving that amazing restaurant salsa, just make a batch of this. Then grab some corn chips and enjoy!
Roasted Tomato Salsa
When it comes to salsa recipes there are not only hundreds of them in Mexico, but also within those traditional ones people tend to add their own special touches.
Use my recipe as a guide and you can always adjust the ingredients to fit your taste buds perfectly.
For example, you may want to add more chilies, or perhaps less. Some people don’t like garlic, so they omit it — or you can add less than in my recipe.
Many people don’t add cilantro, but I love including it because it gives the charred ingredients a burst of freshness.
Occasionally I’ll even add a splash of lime juice just for an extra punch of tartness.
Lastly, perhaps you want a less chunky salsa so you’ll grind the ingredients smoother than I have.
You see, it doesn’t matter. Just enjoy the process and the explosion of flavors that these fresh, healthy ingredients have and how they’ll transform your favorite Mexican foods.
Molcajete Salsa Ingredients
The ingredients for this authentic Mexican salsa are few. During the peek tomato season this recipe is a great way to use up extra good tomatoes or ripe tomatoes that are quite soft. Those give you the best salsa.
- ripe fresh roma tomatoes
- white onion
- serrano peppers or jalapeño peppers
How to Make Molcajete Salsa
To start with, make sure your molcajete is cured, clean and ready to use.
Heat up a comal, large frying pan or even cast iron skillet. Once hot place the tomatoes, chiles, onion and garlic on it. Allow to evenly char or blacken on all sides. Remove the vegetables as they’re ready.
Place the roasted garlic cloves with a sprinkling of salt, in the molcajete and grind until completely broken down. Next add the serrano chiles (remove the stems first) and grind them with the garlic until broken down. Now for the onion bits cut them into smaller pieces before placing it on the molcajete so that it’s easier to grind. If you too would like your salsa chunkier then only grind the onion pieces a bit before proceeding.
Place tomatoes, work in small batches, into the center of the molcajete. Use the pestle to carefully push down and help squash it down before beginning to grind it into the other ingredients. Grind into your desired consistency or chunkiness before adding the remaining tomatoes at a time.
Lastly, and only optional, if you’d like mix in some roughly chopped cilantro into the salsa. Taste the salsa and season with sea salt and lime juice if desired, stir again to combine and give your salsa one last taste before serving right in the molcajete.
More Salsa Recipes To Try
- Tomato & Arbol Chile Salsa | Salsa de Jitomate y Chiles de Arbol
- Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa
- Charred Habanero-Garlic and Cilantro Salsa
- Mango, Orange and Red Chile Salsa
Molcajete Salsa Recipe | Salsa Molcajeteada Recipe
Amigos, this recipe is incredibly easy to prepare. You can watch the tutorial video for a visual guide.
As previously mentioned, feel free to adjust the amount of any ingredients to your own taste.
So go on and grab your comal and your molcajete and get started!
Molcateje Salsa Recipe or Salsa Molcajeteada
- 3 whole Roma tomatoes (use 3 to 4)
- 2 whole Serrano chilies adjust according to heat tolerance
- 1/2 small white onion* ajdust to taste
- 2 whole garlic cloves adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon sea salt adjust to taste
- 1 handful fresh roughly chopped cilantro, optional
- 1/2 small lime, juiced
Kitchen Tools Needed:
- a molcajete or mortar and peslte
- a comal or a griddle or pan to char the ingredients
- Heat a comal (or griddle or pan) over medium-high heat. Once hot carefully place the tomatoes, the onion and chilies on to it. Allow to char on one side before flipping and turning until the chilies are softened and blistered, the onion soften (you can also cut the onion into smaller pieces to expediate the cooking), and once the tomatoes have blacked on all sides.
- In your molcajete first place the garlic cloves with a sprinkling of salt, grind until completely broken down. Next add the chilies (remove the stems first) and grind them with the garlic until broken down. Now for the onion cut it into smaller pieces before placing it on the molcajete so that it's easier to grind. If you too would like your salsa chunkier then only grind the onion pieces a bit before proceeding.
- Okay, now place one tomato at a time into the center of the molcajete, use the pestle to carefully push down and help squash it down before beginning to grind it into the other ingredients. Grind into your desired chunkiness before adding the remaining tomatoes at a time.
- Lastly, and only optional, if you'd like mix in some roughly chopped cilantro into the salsa. Taste the salsa and season with sea salt and lime juice if desired, stir again to combine and give your salsa one last taste before serving right in the molcajete. Enjoy!
Wasn’t that incredibly easy to prepare? Plus the calories are low — just don’t over do it with the corn chips.
This is one of my favorite salsas to make. It’s a great topping on so many dishes. It’s also a great appetizer or snack to bring out when you have guests.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…