Fresh ingredients make this homemade Tomato Salsa vibrant and tasty. Ready in just 20 minutes, this Salsa Roja recipe can’t be beat!
This simple homemade Salsa Roja recipe is the quintessential Mexican salsa! It’s perfect for burritos, tortillas, tacos and so much more!
I like my salsa a little chunky, but a lot of Mexican restaurants serve their Salsa Roja quite smooth. If that’s your preference, cook the vegetables until soft and puree them smoother at the end.
Why This Recipe Works
- Broiling the vegetables adds a wonderful smoky charred flavor to the salsa.
- Cooking the tomatoes over high heat ensures that they are cooked quickly without softening too much.
- Fresh coriander adds a pungent element while the lime juice adds brightness.
- Using Jalapeño pepper adds authentic flavor and a little heat without overpowering the dish.
Fresh Ingredients Make the Best Salsa
The freshest ingredients always produce the best Salsa Roja. Be sure to use tomatoes are that are fully ripened to give the salsa a vibrant color and richer flavor. Super fresh coriander that’s not wilted gives that deep herbal flavor that you’d expect from homemade salsa.
What Chili Peppers For Salsa Roja
The best thing about homemade salsa is you can adapt it to different levels of spiciness, here is a short guide for making salsa that’s right for you.
- If you prefer mild salsa: Use poblano peppers or canned diced green chile peppers. Poblano peppers widely available fresh in the US and are available dried in other countries too.
- For medium salsa: Use Anaheim, Red Chile Peppers, or Jalapeño peppers.
- If you like salsa super hot: use Serrano, scotch bonnet, or Habanero peppers for the ultimate spicy kick.
This recipe is perfect if you grow your own tomatoes, what could be better than picking fresh tomatoes and transforming them into a delicious super-fresh dish?
- Tomatoes: I used baby plum tomatoes because they’re sweet, juicy, and roast beautifully. If you like a meatier variety you can use beefsteak or Roma is a good all-rounder.
- Onions: I use red onions for Mexican cooking, but white work just as well.
- Chili Peppers: I use Jalapeño with most of the seeds removed for a milder salsa, but you can use whatever you like best (see my mini guide above).
- Cilantro – Also known as coriander in many parts of the world, is always best when fresh. Avoid using any wilted leaves as they will have lost some of their flavor.
- Chili Powder: Not to be confused with Chile powder (which is made solely from dried chiles), Chili Powder is a spice mix commonly used in Mexican-style dishes. In America, it’s most often made up of ground chili pepper, paprika, garlic, and cumin. If you can’t find it where you are, you can use extra cumin, paprika, and some cayenne pepper or similar ground chili powder.
How To Make Salsa Roja
- Broil the tomatoes, pepper, onion, and garlic.
- Place the broiled vegetables in a blender.
- Add fresh cilantro and ground cumin.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve and enjoy!
Step by Step Instructions
Arrange the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and peppers on a foil-covered baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
Place under the broiler for around 12 minutes until lightly charred.
Place the broiled vegetables into a blender.
Add the cilantro.
Season with salt and pepper
Add the ground cumin, olive oil, chili powder and lime juice.
Blend until your desired consistency. Season to taste.
Serve and enjoy!
Erren’s Top Tips
- To make this recipe your own, be sure to taste it before serving. For me, it needed more salt and a little more lime juice, but we all have different pallets so taste and make it perfect for you.
- If there’s a lot of liquid in your pan after roasting the vegetables, drain the excess to avoid a runny salsa.
- Like more smoky flavor? Add some smoked paprika.
- For an added kick, add a little hot sauce or Tabasco.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions ❄
- To store in the fridge: You can store salsa in the fridge for up to a week. Make sure it is in an airtight container.
- In the freezer: Salsa can be kept in the freezer (in a freezer-safe container) for up to a year. Defrost thoroughly in the fridge before use.
Can you leave the skins on tomatoes when making salsa?
You do not have to leave the skins on to make salsa, you can peel the tomatoes by placing them in hot water for a few minutes, then peeling the softened skin.
It is usual to use white onions, but red or yellow onions work just as well.
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Let’s Make Salsa Roja
- 1 lb plum tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 1 jalepeno pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch cilantro (coriander)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder*
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Line a baking sheet with foil (non stick foil works best). Adjust oven rack 5 inches from broiler element and heat broiler.
- Toss tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and garlic with oil and place on the prepared baking sheet. Broil, until vegetables are lightly charred, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes before using.
- Add vegetables, cilantro, cumin, chili Powder, olive oil, lime juice and salt to food processor and blend until your desired consistency.
- Taste and season with salt as needed, and serve. Salsa can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.