A Taste Of The Canaries: Authentic Mojo Rojo Recipe

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Mojo Rojo, also known as Red Mojo, is a vibrant and flavorful sauce that hails from the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa. This piquant condiment is a staple in Canarian cuisine, adding a fiery kick to everything from papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) to fish and meat dishes.

While there are many variations of Mojo Rojo, this recipe focuses on a classic and versatile version that’s easy to whip up at home.

Favorite Mojo Rojo Sauce
Favorite Mojo Rojo Sauce


4 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped (seeds and stem removed)
  • 2-4 red Fresno chilies, stemmed and roughly chopped (adjust based on spice preference)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Roast the vegetables: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). In a baking dish, toss the garlic cloves, bell pepper, and Fresno chilies with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast the vegetables for 20-25 minutes, or until softened and slightly blistered.

    2. Grind the mixture: Once the vegetables are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a food processor or blender along with the cumin and smoked paprika. Pulse or blend until a coarse paste forms.

    3. Emulsify the sauce: With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil and red wine vinegar. This will help emulsify the sauce and create a smooth consistency.

    4. Thin the sauce (optional): If you prefer a thinner consistency, add the water one tablespoon at a time and blend until desired texture is reached.

    5. Season and adjust: Season the Mojo Rojo with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remember, you can always add more chilies for extra heat, but be cautious – the spiciness can build over time.

    6. Serve and store: Transfer the Mojo Rojo to a serving bowl and enjoy it immediately with your favorite dishes. You can also store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving, approximately 2 tablespoons):

    Calories: 50

  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.8g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 230mg (depending on salt content)
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Protein: 1g

  • Note: This is just an approximate nutritional breakdown and can vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.


    Mojo Rojo is a versatile sauce that can be enjoyed in countless ways. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    As a dipping sauce: Serve Mojo Rojo alongside papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes), grilled vegetables, or even crusty bread for a simple and flavorful appetizer.

  • Marinate meats and seafood: Marinate chicken, fish, or shrimp in Mojo Rojo before grilling, baking, or pan-frying for an extra burst of flavor and heat.
  • Liven up rice and beans: Add a spoonful of Mojo Rojo to cooked rice and beans for a quick and flavorful side dish.
  • Incorporate it into stews and soups: A splash of Mojo Rojo can add depth and complexity to stews, soups, and even lentil dishes.

  • FAQs about Mojo Rojo:

    1. What kind of peppers can I use in Mojo Rojo?

    Fresno chilies are a good starting point, but you can adjust the heat level based on your preference. For a milder sauce, use red bell peppers or poblano peppers. If you crave a fiery kick, consider serrano peppers or even habaneros (use extreme caution with habaneros!).

    2. Can I make Mojo Rojo ahead of time?

    Absolutely! In fact, the flavors tend to meld even better after the sauce has had some time to sit. You can make Mojo Rojo up to a week in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

    3. How long does Mojo Rojo last?

    Stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator, Mojo Rojo can last for up to a week.

    4. Can I freeze Mojo Rojo?