Ripples Recipe

(Variation of Tortilla Factory recipe)
By Steven Browning

When Reston was just in its teens in the early ‘70s, two employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs who had worked in Arizona and had relocated to this area opened a factory that produced corn-floured tortillas and chips. They soon supplied restaurants throughout the greater DC area. After a few years, they opened the Tortilla Factory Restaurant in Herndon. At the time, it was one of the few non-fast-food restaurants in the northern Virginia area and it quickly became quite popular. It closed a few years ago, after more than 35 years, but most everyone who ate there recalls the free tortilla chips and salsa provided at every table. As someone who worked at the Tortilla Factory during its entire life, I can attest to how much our customers enjoyed this salsa. This recipe is very close to the original Tortilla Factory version and it makes a delicious dip that can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated.

  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 chopped garlic clove (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano (Mexican preferable)
  • 2 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 4-6 oz. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½-3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil


Add ingredients to a blender or food processer and mix until chunky. If you want a slightly thinner salsa, rinse out the can of tomatoes with water and add to the salsa before mixing. The salsa can be served immediately but will taste better if it is stored in the refrigerator overnight.

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