Mesa Red Sauce

"The mexican "mother" sauce, to be served with quesadillas, enchiladas, huevos, etc, etc, etc... posted for ZWT5 from Rebar Modern Food Cookbook."
photo by White Rose Child photo by White Rose Child
photo by White Rose Child
photo by White Rose Child photo by White Rose Child
Ready In:
4 cups




  • 1. Heat vegetable oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the masa harina and stir constantly as it cooks and turns golden.
  • 2. Add the spices and stir for another 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in the tomato paste and sugar.
  • 3. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Season to taste.

Questions & Replies

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    First I cut the recipe down to 1 cup yield. Chipotle powder replaced ancho powder.<br/>We used this to make fluffy egg tostadas: corn tortillas, eggs, arugula and spinach,<br/>grated carrot, cilantro and Mesa red sauce. Served with a side of pinto beans. Very good!<br/>Reviewed for Veg Tag/November.
  2. DrMommaLaelle
    I love this red sauce recipe! I lost my Rebar Cookbook after not remembering who I loaned it to. Was so excited to find the recipe here. Thank you! It's a perfect balance of spice and flavor. Made it tonight with chicken and zucchini enchiladas. Yummy!
  3. Starrynews
    Mmm, spicy and flavorful; this is delicious! I omitted the salt and ground up a corn tortilla to use for the masa harina... as I couldn't find loose masa harina, but the corn tortillas were made from it :) Thanks for sharing!
  4. White Rose Child
    This is amazing stuff!!! As I sit here, I'm dunking cold leftover quesadillas in just-cooked mesa red sauce and having a hard time not licking it off my fingers- it's sooo tasty. Hot, but full of that indispensable Mexican flavor. I ended up using kamut flour, as it was the closest thing I had to the masa farina, but it seems perfect nonetheless. Also used regular chili power- and halved the recipe, as my family isn't too big on hot spicy stuff. However, I'd be reluctant to make quesadillas again without it! Thanks for posting, Katzen!


I'm a now vegan who used to make one heck of a souvlaki. I love cooking, I was a huge fan of Moosewood and Molly Katzen prior to going vegan (although that has nothing to do with my choosing the name Katzen - that's just what my German Grandma has called me all my life.) Aside from cooking, I also love scuba diving, cycling, politics, and reading.
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