LUBBOCK, Texas – In 2017, Dion’s debuted a green chile ranch dressing in Las Cruces, NM, that quickly caught the eyes and hearts of New Mexicans.

“We launched in Las Cruces first, and there were people traveling from Albuquerque, so it’s about a three-hour drive, and they were buying cases of it,” said Joel Moreno, regional manager at Dion’s. “We sold out within 10 minutes.”

The pizza restaurant decided to make the crowd-favorite available at all its stores across New Mexico, Texas and Colorado. 

It’s not only in the dressing that you’ll find green chiles. Dion’s has a signature green chile mix that’s sourced fresh from the Hatch and Rio Grande River Valleys in southern New Mexico. The batches vary in heat levels. Typically hotter weather stresses the plant which leads to more spice.

“If you need to cool it down, green chile ranch is perfect,” Moreno said. “All of our ingredients, the fresh buttermilk, definitely cut some of the heat in half.”

Chile is synonymous with New Mexico. It’s one of the official state vegetables, it’s part of the state’s official question, “Red or Green?” and as of this year, the smell of roasted chile is now the official state aroma. 

“Get it on your cheese toast, green chile and turkey is such a fantastic combination,” Moreno said. “We put it on literally anything. Green chile really adds that perfect heat to anything you’re looking for.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the Land of Enchantment produced more than 53,000 tons of chile peppers in 2022. Dion’s said it uses about 475,000 pounds of green chile per year throughout its 27 locations. 

“It’s different,” Moreno said. “Not a lot of places out here have green chile, so if you have a desire for some heat in your food, it’s definitely a great addition.”