In this homemade enchilada red sauce, Roma tomatoes and onions are roasted and pureed with a combination of fresh garlic, oregano and dried spices.

I’ve never been a fan of enchilada red sauce until last week. True story.

Homemade Enchilada Red Sauce l

Remember this no-red-sauce-enchilada-recipe? It was a post where I declared my strong dislike for red sauce and how I was determined to create an enchi-recipe that didn’t call for the blessed sauce.

Well after years of thinking about it, I figured out why I’m not a fan. It’s because it’s from a can and resembles [in my humble opinion] a boring take on tomato sauce. Which then lead me to wondered how it would taste if I made it from scratch. What if I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned? And what if I roasted them? What if I used a combination of fresh herbs and dried, jarred spices? What if it turns out SO good that I find out I actually do like it?

I was on a mission to make a homemade enchilada red sauce.

Homemade Enchilada Red Sauce l

So that’s exactly what I did. I made a homemade-from-scratch-not-your-typical-canned-enchilada-sauce enchilada sauce. Fresh tomatoes and onions are roasted and blended with fresh oregano, garlic and spices. It’s pretty darn easy, maybe not as easy as opening a can but easy enough to make early on and use later that day or week for dinner. Oh and guess what? Me likey.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l halved

Start by halving 10 good-sized roma tomatoes.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l quartered onion

Quarter a medium onion. I’m using a vidalia… but any onion will do.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l arrange

Arrange them on a rimmed, aluminum sheet pan cut-side up.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l olive oil

Drizzle with couple tablespoons of olive oil…

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l season

Season with 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper. Slide this sheet pan of goodness into a preheated 375 degree oven and roast for 40-45 minutes.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l garlic, herbs and spices

While the tomatoes and onions are roasting you can get going on the spice mixture. You’ll need garlic, fresh oregano {which I’m SO glad I planted this year}, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l roughly chop garlic

Roughly chop up two medium cloves of garlic.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l olive oil in the pan

In an 8-inch skillet drizzle a tablespoon or so of olive oil.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l garlic with olive oil

Drop in the garlic cloves and sauté over medium heat. Stir the garlic around in the pan a few times until it’s fragrant and very lightly golden.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l fresh oregano

Strip the leaves from a few stems of fresh oregano until you have about two tablespoons.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l oregano in the pan

Add it to the pan with the garlic…

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l add spices

…along with the spices. Depending on how spicy you want it, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l stir and toast

Stir and return the pan to the stove-top. Cook, stirring often until the spices give off a toasty fragrance. Remove the pan from the heat and set off to the side.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l roasted

Once the tomatoes and onions are beautifully roasted and your kitchen is smelling all kinds of amazing; remove…

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l in the processor

…and carefully scrape the tomatoes, onions and ALL their juices into the bowl of a large food processor.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l add in the herbs and spices

Dump in the garlicky-oregano spice blend…

Homemade Enchilada Sauce l lemon juice

Squeeze in the juice of half a large and luscious lemon [or one small]. Season with a teaspoon of kosher salt, more or less to taste…

Homemade Enchilada Red Sauce l

And blend until combined.

Homemade Enchilada Red Sauce l

That’s it! I still have the jars in my fridge and I’ve mad-plans to make simple enchiladas later today before my daughter’s softball game.

So can you only imagine how good this Homemade Enchilada Red Sauce will be after spending some time in the fridge? Time in the fridge will only aid in melding flavors, enhancing an already fabulous enchi-red sauce.

More on that, to come.

If you’re looking for a 15-minute, semi-homemade enchilada sauce, try this recipe.

Enjoy! And if you give this recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Homemade Enchilada Red Sauce l

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Homemade Enchilada Red Sauce

Roma tomatoes and onions are roasted and pureed with a combination of fresh garlic, oregano and dried spices for a better-than-canned version of enchilada sauce. This recipe yields 4 cups.


  • 10 large Roma tomatoes, halved (about 3 to 4 pounds total)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered (root-end removed and discarded)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced


  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Arrange the tomato halves {cut-side up} and onion onto a rimmed, aluminum sheet pan. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Roast for 40-45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile; heat a tablespoon of olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until garlic is fragrant and lightly golden.
  • Remove off of the heat and add in the oregano, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Return back to the heat, stirring often until the spices give off a toasty fragrance. Remove the pan from the heat and set off to the side.
  • Add the roasted tomatoes, onions and all their juices to a large food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Next add the garlic and spices, lemon juice and a teaspoon of kosher salt. Blend until smooth.
  • Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1-2 weeks.
Serving: 1recipe, Calories: 644kcal, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 47g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 32g, Sodium: 4380mg, Potassium: 2273mg, Fiber: 22g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 10566IU, Vitamin C: 125mg, Calcium: 371mg, Iron: 12mg