Salsa Macha de Calabaza

Cranberries, stuffing, and sweet potatoes are all fine side dishes on Thanksgiving, but what about a savory Salsa Macha de Calabaza to compliment your turkey?

Salsa Macha de Calabaza combines roasted pumpkin seeds with a trio of dried chiles to create a side dish full of heat and nutty flavors. I always eat my turkey with salsa and guacamole, so I’m excited to use this new recipe at this year’s Thanksgiving celebration.

If you are unfamiliar with salsa machas, its a salsa that is usually made with roasted peanuts or sunflower seeds. I had never used pumpkin seeds in a salsa before, but with pumpkin being an ingredient you tend to use on Thanksgiving I wanted to try it in this version of salsa macha.

I ended up finding both unsalted pumpkin seeds and pepitas (another type of pumpkin seed) at Sprouts. I do love to eat pepitas, but I decided to go with the unsalted pumpkin seeds for this recipe as they are less tender and slightly fibrous.

Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious by themselves, but the addition of ancho, guajillo, and árbol peppers is what makes Salsa Macha de Calabaza captivating. Each of these three dried chiles brings it own unique flavor.

Anchos (on the right side of the photo) are dried poblanos with a mild heat and have a taste similar to chocolate. Guajillos (pictured to the left) are dried mirasol peppers and contain a smokey sweet flavor with a bit more heat than the anchos. The árbols (center of the photo) are dried serranos and is what provides the heat in Salsa Macha de Calabaza. Árbols are very hot, but when combined with the other chiles as well as the roasted pumpkin seeds that heat becomes tolerable and a welcomed treat to a Thanksgiving feast.

3 Guajillo Chiles, stemmed, seeded & roasted
5 Árbol Chiles, stemmed, seeded & roasted
1 Ancho Chile, stemmed, seeded & roasted
3 Garlic Cloves, roasted
4 large slices White Onion, roasted
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds, roasted
1 cup Water
¼ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Mesquite Salt (or ¼ tsp salt & ¼ tsp chipotle seasoning)

Remove the seeds and stems from the chiles. Then toast the chiles over the stove until lightly charred on each side (do not over roast or chiles will taste bitter). Transfer the chiles to a pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Once completed, place the chiles in the blender.

Roast the garlic cloves and onion slices over the stove until lightly charred on each side. Transfer them to the blender when they have finished roasting.

Rinse the pumpkin seeds in a colander with cold water. Dry the pumpkin seeds with a towel before placing them in a pan over the stove. Roast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat for five minutes or until lightly charred.

Add the roasted pumpkin seeds and the rest of the ingredients to the blender. Purée for two minutes until well-combined into a liquid mixture. Pour your salsa into a bowl and enjoy!

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