This Torta ahogada recipe is a crusty bread torta filled with refried beans and avocado, and drowned in a spicy chile de arbol salsa.

This torta ahogada recipe or Mexican “drowned” sandwich is a crusty bread torta filled with refried beans and avocado slices, and drowned in a spicy chile de árbol salsa. It is a classic dish from Guadalajara, and it is not for the faint of heart or stomach! The recipe is from Jason Wyrick’s new book Vegan Mexico.  Jason is the chef and author behind Vegan Tacos and the blog The Vegan Taste.


I am a huge fan of Jason and his recipes, so I was very excited when I received a copy of Vegan Mexico. It has taken me this long to write about it (the book was released in December), because I have been immersed in it since the day I got it! The book has over 100 recipes, all Mexican, and every one of them vegan. The recipes range from very easy to some more time consuming and complicated. My favorite part of the book is the stories and research behind the recipes. Each recipe giving you a little tid-bit of information on Mexican culture and tradition. It is exciting to see so many of my favorite recipes, and even some that I had not even thought of made vegan.


The only thing I would change in the book, would be to add more pictures. There are a good number of pictures, but I think some of the recipes could benefit from step-by-step pictures. Some of my favorite recipes so far is of course this Torta Ahogada, the Tomato Black Bean Soup, and the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas.  Jason’s book is available on Amazon in paperback ($12.12)  and kindle format ($7.99).


The Recipe: Torta Ahogada Recipe

This is like Jason Wyrick clearly states in his book, one of the spiciest meals you will ever eat. Legend says the sandwich was invented when a street vendor accidentally dropped a torta in a container of spicy salsa, this drowning it. If you would still like to try this, but aren’t a fan of heat, check the recipe notes for a non-spicy or less spicy version. Traditionally a crusty salted bread called birrote is used, but you can use french baguette or bolillo instead. Enjoy!



Torta Ahogada

This Torta ahogada recipe is a crusty bread torta filled with refried beans and avocado, and drowned in a spicy chile de arbol salsa. Recipe from Vegan Mexico Cookbook.
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Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 2 tortas
Author: Jason Wyrick



  • 2 Bolillo rolls or 6-inch long baguettes, split in half about 3/4 of the way
  • 1 cup Refried beans, using black beans, or store-bought refried black beans
  • 1 Ripe Hass avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

Sauce: (WARNING: See note)

  • 30 Chiles de árbol, stemmed, seeded, and rehydrated
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup White vinegar (white balsamic works best)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tsp. Dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. Salt


  • 2 Radishes, thinly sliced
  • 8 to 12 White pickled onions, separated into rings, or raw white onion rings (see note)
  • Lime wedges



  • Lightly toast the rolls or baguettes. Warm the beans and spread them evenly in each roll. Add the avocado slices. Place the sandwiches in bowls. 


  • In a blender or food processor, puree the rehydrated chiles de árbol, garlic, vinegar, water Mexican oregano, cumin, pepper, cloves, and salt. (Strain if you want a very smooth sauce.) Pour the sauce over the sandwiches. Garnish the sandwiches with the sliced radishes and pickled onions and serve with lime wedges. Eat these tortas with a fork and lots of napkins.


WARNING: This sandwich is hot, really hot! For a less spicy version omit the water and add 1 to 3 cups of crushed fire-roasted tomates to the salsa and omit or decrease the chiles de árbol to your taste. 
Another option is to make two sauces, a non-spicy tomato sauce and the chile de árbol sauce. This way you can drown your torta in the non-spicy tomato sauce and drizzle some of the árbol sauce on top.
You can find a recipe for pickled onions here and one for refried beans here. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @dorastable or tag #mexicangonevegan!
6 replies
  1. Matthew Wood
    Matthew Wood says:

    Torta Ahogada looks fantastic! Can’t wait to make it! I will eat it just like it is, but any suggestions for how I might make a milder version for my wife that is just a tasty?

    • dorastable
      dorastable says:

      HI Matthew, you are brave, I made the sauce with the 30 chiles and it was way too hot for me. If you look at the recipe notes I have added some options to make a less spicy version and a non-spicy tomato sauce as well. Enjoy!

  2. A
    A says:

    Hi Dora,
    The picture looks like it shows tomatoes in the blender, but the recipe doesn’t mention any. Are tomatoes needed for the sauce? If so, how many and how should they be prepared?

    • Dora S.
      Dora S. says:

      For a less spicy version of the sauce omit the water and add 1 to 3 cups of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes to the salsa and omit or decrease the chiles de árbol to your taste.

  3. Ninna
    Ninna says:

    I’m from Mexico, my dad is from Guadalajara and I have tried a version of this Torta Ahogada filled with any kind of fried mushrooms (wild ones are better) with a little onion and coriander. I bet if you add that to this plate, you’d end up with something really good.
    I’m so happy I’ve found this blog, it’s ultra nice to see Mexican recipes veganized and still staying as true as the originals. Congrats, dear Dora!


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