Charred Tomatillo and Yellow Pepper Salsa Recipe

Suzanne Lehrer

My favorite way to incorporate dried chili into salsa is to let it soften in flavored liquid—here, boiling vegetable stock, but you could experiment with alcohol or juice as well. Dried, toasted pasilla chilies are blended with tomatillos and yellow peppers, blistered under a broiler to create a smoky edge for the natural sweetness of the vegetables. Smooth and beautiful in color, this salsa will work great in fish tacos, on roasted or grilled corn, or mixed into rice and beans.

Buyer beware: Pasilla chilies are often incorrectly sold as ancho chilies. True pasilla chilies are spicier than ancho, thinner, and darker in color. This salsa mellows drastically as it sits. Serve immediately to eat it at its spiciest.

Recipe Details

Charred Tomatillo and Yellow Pepper Salsa Recipe

Active 25 mins
Total 25 mins
Serves 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 dried pasilla chili, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 3 tomatillos, husks removed
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat broiler to high heat. Toast chili in dry skillet over medium heat until shriveling, 1 to 2 minutes, flipping halfway through. Add stock and bring to a boil. Transfer to blender or food processor and let sit until softened, about 15 minutes. Blend until smooth.

  2. Meanwhile, toss tomatillos and peppers with canola oil, then broil on foil-lined baking sheet until charred on all sides, turning frequently with tongs, 10 minutes for tomatillos, 13 to 15 minutes for bell peppers. Transfer to bowl to cool. Remove stems and seeds from bell peppers, then transfer to blender with chili purée along with tomatillos. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pulse just until combined. Add another 1/8 teaspoon salt if needed. Serve immediately, let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, or refrigerate up to overnight and then serve at room temperature.