Fresh Salsa

Combine salsa ingredients, Leah Maroney
Leah Maroney
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Chill: 30 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 cups

This quick and refreshing salsa takes under an hour from chopping board to table. Sweet Roma tomatoes and fresh lime juice pair with onions and garlic to make a flavorful salsa without any sugar or additives. No need for store-bought salsa anymore!

You can make it as spicy as you'd like. Always start with less than what you think is appropriate and adjust. A salsa that's too spicy can overpower the flavors of the other foods you're serving.

The salsa is a fantastic addition to game day spreads, taco night, or as a condiment for sandwiches and cold cut plates. Serve it at your next barbecue for a refreshing side dish or offer it with chips as a casual appetizer.


  • 1 to 3 jalapeño peppers
  • 6 to 7 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 5 to 7 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Optional: 1 serrano chile
  • Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rinse the chile peppers under cold water, then pat dry. Seed and dice the peppers and add them to a non-reactive bowl.

    Chopped Jalapeño
    Leah Maroney
  3. Seed and dice the tomatoes. Add them to the bowl with the chiles.

    chopping tomato for salsa
    Leah Maroney
  4. Chop the onion and add it to the bowl with the tomatoes and chiles.

    Chopped onion for salsa
    Leah Maroney
  5. Wash the cilantro. Remove the leaves by inserting your fingers into the bunch in a claw-like position, pulling the leaves off as you pull your fingers out. When you have the majority of the leaves off, chop them up and add them to the bowl.

    Cilantro for salsa
    Leah Maroney
  6. Add the freshly squeezed lime juice to the vegetables. Alternatively, use the optional 1 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar.

    lime juice for salsa
    Leah Maroney
  7. Add the garlic. In a pinch, use 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, but fresh is best.

    Chopped garlic
    Leah Maroney
  8. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning, but keep in mind what you're serving with the salsa. If the rest of the meal is salty, like tortillas or chips, then keep the salt level on the lower side.

    Leah Maroney
  9. Mix all the ingredients by folding them together until they are well combined. So the flavors meld together, let the salsa sit for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. If it gets too watery, drain the liquid off with a strainer, or use a slotted spoon to serve.

  10. Serve and enjoy!


  • Roma tomatoes are great for salsa because they don't contain as much liquid as other types of tomatoes. Juicy tomatoes can make your salsa very watery when not properly seeded.
  • When in doubt, always use gloves to handle chiles you've never used before. To avoid unpleasant burns, abstain from bringing them too close to your nose or eyes.
  • Remember that not everyone loves cilantro. Many say that cilantro tastes like soap and are unwilling to eat it. Make two bowls of salsa every time, one with and one without so everyone can enjoy a refreshing side.
  • If you use any sort of rock salts, such as sea salt or Himalayan salt, give the salt at least 30 minutes to dissolve before adding more. Add a little, taste, wait, and taste again before adding more.
  • Salt naturally pulls liquids out of vegetables. If you're storing the salsa in the fridge for a couple of days, mix it up, and then strain it before serving.

Recipe Variations

The level of spiciness depends on your palate and how well you can tolerate heat. When cooking for a social occasion, less is always more. Offer additional chopped jalapeños on the side for more adventurous palates and remember that not all chiles are created equal:

  • Use one serrano chile for every 3 jalapeños.
  • Use one jalapeño for mild salsa or 2 to 3 jalapeños for a spicier salsa.
  • For hot salsa, use 5 jalapeños or 2 to 3 serrano chiles.
  • For extra hot salsa, use one habanero.
  • For a mild chile, use an Anaheim or a Poblano chile.
  • If you'd like a smokier flavor, roast the chiles.

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