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Tex-Mex taco sauce {gluten-free}

Tex-Mex taco sauce fills a tortilla.

When I went off to college and had to cook for myself, I made lots and lots of spaghetti with red sauce. One of the few things I knew how to cook, it would feed a crowd, and leftovers went right into the freezer. Maybe there was something meditative about stirring the sauce pot, or maybe I was avoiding doing my homework, or maybe both. All these (many) years later, I prepare spaghetti sauce basically the same way, and this Tex-Mex taco sauce is a peppy riff on that sauce I used to make in my college dorm. You can spice this up or down, by playing with the canned green chiles and chili pepper proportions, but don't leave out all of the hot pepper ingredients. After all, it wouldn't be Tex-Mex without a little something to make you kick up your heels. Cook the full amount of the recipe, and freeze it in smaller portions for tacos, quesadillas, burritos or Sloppy Joes.

Tex-Mex taco sauce, also good for quesadillas or burritos.

Tex-Mex taco sauce

From the pantry, you'll need: onion, canned chopped tomatoes, Ro*Tel, canned diced green chiles, ground cumin, chili powder, oregano.

Serves 8-10, or more.


1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey), preferably 93% lean
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1-1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 4-oz can diced green chiles
1 10-oz can Ro*Tel
28 oz canned chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste


In a wide nonstick skillet, brown the beef over low-medium heat, breaking it apart with a spatula.

When the beef is mostly browned, add the onion and green pepper, and continue to sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

Add the chili powder, cumin, ancho chile and oregano, and stir for 2 minutes, until the spices are mixed into the meat and a thick paste forms. Stir in the green chiles, then the Ro*Tel, and finally add the chopped tomatoes. Mix everything well, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently to keep the sauce from sticking, for 30 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is very thick.

Taste, and season with kosher salt.

Use the sauce as a filling for tortillas, or allow to cool completely, and freeze.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More Tex-Mex goodness:
Slow cooker Tex-Mex pot roast
Tex-Mex turkey lasagne
Tex-Mex penne
Tex-Mex salsa

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
New Mexico green chile sauce, from Barefeet in the Kitchen
Green chile mac and cheese, from Simply Recipes
Slow cooker pork and green chile stew, from Skinnytaste
Mexican baked eggs with black beans, tomatoes, green chiles, and cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa chili, from Damn Delicious

Tex-Mex taco sauce: make ahead and freeze.

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I love all these flavors, and I can think of so many ways to use this.

Kalyn, this is one of those sauces that's so handy to have in the freezer. So many ways to use it.

Sounds great, Lydia!

Susan, wish I'd made it this way in those college days!

There are 6 different styles of Ro*Tel; Original, Mild, Hot, Chunky, Mexican and Chili Fixin’s. Which one do you use in your recipe because I keep three in my pantry at all times???

Ken, use your favorite. I never see more than two varieties in my East Coast market, so I use original or mild in most of my recipes.

Lydia, Wal-Mart, Hawaii carries all of them.

I just finished dinner with tonight's version of this. It's always been excellent and very versitile.

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