Simple Fresh Tomato Salsa

Tomato Salsa Part 3

I love tomato salsa. Love it love it love it. Probably 75% of the whole reason I like to eat at Mexican restaurants is the bowl full of spicy red goodness plopped in front of you the moment you sit down. I’ve always contemplated sneaking a tupperware container into the restaurant and taking all the leftovers home with me.

I’ve tried making homemade salsa before. It was just okay. Something was always missing. It always tasted a little bland and it was always a lot of work. So I reverted back to store-bought jarred salsa. But the thing is, I can’t stand jarred salsa. I absolutely hate it. I’ve tried almost every brand imaginable and it all just tastes like chunky ketchup to me. Yuck. I will admit I like the “fresh” salsa you buy cold in plastic tubs. Those are acceptable, but expensive.

So I’ve found myself in this salsa limbo hell for years now, and then I tasted my mother-in-law’s homemade salsa and I about died of curiosity. It’s good. Really friggin’ good, and of course Jeff loves it because he grew up eating it. Problem is – the recipe literally makes a vat of salsa. Okay, maybe not a vat, but a good solid GALLON of salsa. What would we do with a gallon of salsa. We’d be drinking it morning noon and night and still not get through it before it goes sour. My sister-in-law explained the recipe to me a few weeks ago and it seems easy enough but it requires 10 tomatoes and this kind of spoils the whole thriftiness of making your own salsa. She confessed she’s tried splitting it in half but couldn’t achieve the same results, so she just makes it and gives it away.

Maybe someday when I’m feeling really charitable I’ll go for it and make the Brittain Bulk Salsa, it does taste heavenly, but for now I’ll just stick with this recipe. It tastes pretty close, requires a lot of the same ingredients and only makes about 6-8 cups. It’s passed Jeff’s test and certainly passed mine since it costs only about $3.00 to make and tastes like restaurant salsa. What’s also good about this recipe is that it’s easily adaptable to your taste. Like more garlic? Throw in an extra clove. Want more heat? Switch up the jalapeño for a habanero. Really love cilantro (what’s wrong with you)? Use a handful of fresh for the dried. Want something chunkier? Add corn or more onion. See? The possibilities are truly endless. This is a good basic salsa recipe to adapt to all your heart’s desires.

Fresh Tomato Salsa
Adapted from Life’s Ambrosia

First, you’ll need:

2 cloves garlic
1 small onion cut in half
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed (or not if you’re feeling spicy)

Put this in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until it looks like this:

Tomato Salsa Part 1

Next, you’ll need:

3 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 Tbsp. vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, but whatever kind you want to use)
1 palmful of dried cilantro (yeah I hate cilantro, but for some reason I can stomach dried a little better than fresh)
Salt to your taste (I added 3 big pinches of kosher salt, probably equaled about 1 1/2 tsp.)

Throw that in the processor with the chopped onion, garlic and pepper and pulse until the tomatoes are broken up and it looks kinda like this:

Tomato Salsa Part 2

Taste and add more salt if needed. Then chill for at least an hour to let the flavors marry and consummate.

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6 Responses to “Simple Fresh Tomato Salsa”


  1. 1 Cookie July 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    We LOVE salsa at our house and I always pick up a bottle if I see anything we haven’t tried. I agree though that the jarred stuff just isn’t the same as the homemade ones you get at an authentic Mexican restaurant (or Chevy’s!). Some of the gourmet jars though are really good but pretty pricey. I love how simple this recipe is and I definitely like the more watery salsa verses the thick kind. I’m definitely gonna try your recipe and I love how it makes a lot of salsa since we use it on everything!

    • 2 randomanderson July 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm

      Agree with you on the watery versus thick. This salsa has the perfect consistency regarding that. I hope you like it, too. Let me know if you get creative and find some awesome combination of ingredients.

  2. 3 Paul July 20, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    How about sharing the your Mother-in-law’s big home made recipe? We have a garden full of tomatoes.

    Thanks, I plan on making your’s tonight

    • 4 randomanderson July 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm

      I would love to share it with you if I had actually tried making it from the directions I had gotten and could translate it to a recipe that could easily be replicated. See, their salsa is kind of a family technique with “eyeballed” measurements that I wouldn’t know if I could master. Here’s a hint from the notes I took: 8-10 tomatoes, a little garlic salt, some green onions, half a jar of jalapeños, some dried cilantro…. They all know what looks right – they’ve been making it for years, but I’m the new girl in the family. Just a rookie.=) I’ve made the above recipe here a few times so far this summer and each time it’s great. It just gets better as the days go by. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. 5 EmettySat July 25, 2009 at 10:20 am

    oh my god. hehe

  4. 6 mina August 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I just made this with ingredients I had on hand, used green onion instead of cilantro, and grape tomatoes… delicious!


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