This Restaurant-Style Salsa (aka Salsa Rojas) is easy to prepare and tastes so bright and delicious--just like restaurant salsa. Enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips or use as a topping for salads, burritos, or vegan quesadillas.
Have I mentioned that I love Mexican food? It's kind of an obsession, actually. The problem is that here in Germany there is literally NO GOOD MEXICAN FOOD. This is not an exaggeration. I could tell you stories, but unless you've actually experienced
All this is to say that living here has forced me to get really good at making my own Mexican dishes. And one of the recipes I love most is also one of the simplest: Restaurant-Style Salsa. You know, the kind you can eat by the boatload FOR FREE at most Mexican restaurants in the US. So whether you're stuck in the house or you just live in a country with no good Mexican food, the great news is that you can make your own Homemade Salsa with a few simple ingredients.
You'll love this Restaurant-Style Salsa recipe because it's:
- Super Simple & Quick
- Already Vegan / Dairy-Free
- Healthy & WFPB
- Just 7 ingredients
- Delicious & Flavorful
- A perfect partner to a margarita
- Ideal for gameday
Why make salsa with canned tomatoes?
You need to use canned whole tomatoes for this recipe to get the true restaurant-style salsa taste and texture. If you substitute with fresh tomatoes, the salsa will still taste delicious--it just won't be the same. If you do prefer fresh, be sure that your tomatoes are very ripe. You'll also want to remove as much of the seeds and liquid as possible before you add them to the food processor.
A note on the equipment
I recommend using a food processor for this recipe because it keeps things a bit chunkier. You can also use a mini food processor, but you might need to halve the recipe or make it in two batches. Alternatively, you could use a blender, but you'll have to be extra careful not to over-blend or else you'll end up with soup!
Precautions when chopping spicy peppers
- Always take precautions when chopping or working with spicy peppers. The spiciness comes from the seeds, so try to avoid direct contact between your fingers and the seeds.
- Be sure to wash hands and any surface the seeds come into contact with immediately after handling spicy peppers. Believe me when I say, you don't want to know what it feels like to touch a seed and then accidentally rub your eye!
Homemade Salsa Ingredients
- two canned whole tomatoes (unseasoned): For a restaurant-style salsa canned tomatoes just work best. They are denser and have a more pronounced flavor. Trust me!
- cilantro: My all-time favorite herb!
- jalapeno: For a spicy little kick.
- lime: For a touch of acid and flavor
- red onion: I prefer this with red onion for both the color and flavor, but white onion could be substituted in a pinch.
- garlic: Just a clove or two so as not the overpower.
- salt: Start with a little and add more as needed. If you're planning to eat this salsa with salted chips, be sure to taste the salsa with a chip. Sometimes you might think the salsa needs more salt but then it tastes just right when paired with a salted chip. You can always add more salt, but good luck removing it if you add too much!
How to Make Restaurant Style Salsa
- First, drain and rinse two cans of tomatoes.
- Prep the jalapeño. If you like more heat, you can leave the seeds in the jalapeño, but if you prefer things on the milder side, slice the jalapeño into quarters lengthwise and use a paring knife, small spoon, or gloved finger to carefully remove the seeds.
- Add the drained tomatoes into a *food processor with the roughly chopped cilantro, de-seeded jalapeño, and red onion. Throw in a peeled clove of garlic. Blend for a few seconds until everything is chopped and combined.
- Add lime juice and salt. (Don't oversalt--you can always add more salt later.)
- Pulse once or twice for a second--just enough to combine everything. Then taste to adjust seasonings if needed. And you're ready to serve.
- If you plan to eat this as a dip for salted tortilla chips, be sure to taste the salsa with a tortilla chip before adding more salt. The salsa alone could seem like it needs more salt, but once you add in a salted tortilla chip, it might be just right. You can always add another pinch of salt later if needed.
How to Serve Salsa Rojas
How to Store
If you don't manage to eat this easy homemade salsa all in one sitting you can, 1) give yourself major props for you
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This recipe was updated on March 6, 2021, to simplify the process and give more consistent results.
- 2 15 oz whole tomatoes (unseasoned)
- 1 small bunch cilantro (about 10 to 15 stems)
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 lime
- 1 red onion
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- Drain two cans of tomatoes (try to remove as much liquid as possible).
- Wash and pat the cilantro dry. Roughly chop the cilantro. Wash the jalapeno, cut off the stem, and either cube or cut lengthwise and remove the seeds (for a milder salsa). Peel and quarter the onion. Peel the garlic cloves.
- Add the cilantro, onion, garlic, and jalapeno to the food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until everything is incorporated.
- Add the drained tomatoes to the food processor, along with the juice of 1 lime and salt. Blend for a few seconds until everything is combined. (Do not over blend or you'll lose the chunkiness.)
- Taste and adjust salt if necessary. (If you plan to eat the salsa with salted chips, test the salsa with a salted chip. Sometimes the salsa alone will taste undersalted, but it will taste just right with the chip!)
- Serve right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- If you don't have fresh jalapenos, you can substitute with jarred jalapenos or ½ a green pepper, diced.
- If you don't have limes, you can substitute with store-bought lime juice.
- If you don't have fresh cilantro you can substitute with frozen or freeze-dried cilantro (rehydrated).
Did you try this recipe? Have a question? Just leave a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP!