When tomatoes are in season, you need just 4 simple ingredients to make the best fresh tomato salsa you will ever taste. This quick and easy recipe is a staple in our house all summer long. It’s so delicious I’m sure it will become a favorite in your house too.
Nothing screams summer more than homemade salsa from tomatoes fresh from the garden or local farmers market. This easy recipe is a tasty addition to tacos, burritos or salad and is the perfect salsa to scoop up with a corn chip too.
Tomatoes that were picked before fully ripened and have sat in a refrigerated truck in transport have the least amount of natural flavor and will need some doctoring up to have a good taste…..but not FRESH SUMMER TOMATOES that have ripened on the vine. Let those fresh seasonal tomatoes shine like the superstars that they are! 4 simple ingredients is all you need for THE BEST salsa ever.
How do you make Fresh Tomato Salsa from scratch?
It depends. How much time do you have? Also, how comfortable are you in the kitchen, and with a knife? Serious questions, by the way. Because there are two different ways to do this….well, actually 3, but one’s a hybrid model!
- USE A FOOD PROCESSOR OR BLENDER: This is the quickest and easiest way to go. You pretty much dump everything into the bowl of the food processor or blender and pulse. Wham, BAM….done.
- CHOP BY HAND: I like this method and I am quick and efficient with a knife, so I find it quicker than washing a small appliance, and a bit meditative…but that’s me. Know your skill level and choose what will work well FOR YOU.
- HYBRID METHOD: This one is just like it sounds. MOST of the veggies will go into the processor, but you’ll cut just a bit by hand to get those delicious chunks. This is the method I recommend for most people, it’s quick and efficient, and you get those fresh chunks of veggies. The best of both worlds.
Is there a difference between Salsa and Pico de Gallo?
Good question. Generally, it’s a texture distinction that delineates the titles. Though, it’s also cultural. Depends where you come from and what the lingo was there.
A more chunky and fresh, uncooked mixture where each vegetable is recognizable, is usually called Pico de Gallo or Salsa Fresco. Kinda similar to my “chop by hand” method. Don’t mind me though, I call this chunky salsa.
Traditional Salsa has a more liquidy, thinner consistency and is sometimes cooked. This would describe my food processor method.
Oh hybrid model, where to classify you? Hard to say. Call it what you will, make it how you want to. Just make it, make lots of it, and make it often!
What’s in Fresh Salsa?
- TOMATOES: See below for suggestions on types of tomatoes….in my opinion, FRESH IS BEST. Focus on the main ingredient.
- CILANTRO: The more the better. YUM! If you’re one of those who find that cilantro tastes like soap, I’M SO SORRY. Truly I am. I would substitute with some fresh parsley and/or oregano. Fresh herbs really do bring out the best in those tomatoes.
- SCALLIONS: You can substitute the green onions for shallots, or red onion, or even sweet white onions…..but I’d chop them REALLY small, if you do.
- JALAPENO PEPPERS: There are so many delicious varieties of spicy peppers. Know your taste and your crowd. Fresh Tomato Salsa is AWESOME….but not if it’s too hot to eat. Jalapenos are fairly mild. If you remove the seeds and the membranes they’re really more flavorful than spicy.
- OPTIONAL: Salt, Cumin, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Pressed Garlic or Garlic Powder………the fresher your tomatoes, the less seasoning, if any, you will need.
What kind of Tomatoes are the best to use for homemade salsa?
I like a nice juicy beefsteak tomato in my salsa. BUT….whatever you have that is fresh is really going to give the most authentic taste.
Some people prefer Roma Tomatoes because they have less juice so the salsa won’t be so watery.
I have used heirloom varieties, grape tomatoes and pear tomatoes. They’re all good.
Red, orange, yellow. Yup. All good. I like to use a combo too. Usually the yellow tomatoes will be the sweetest. Paired with a more tart/acidic red tomato….DIVINE.
OR….if you are lucky enough to score some fresh tomatillos, they make awesome salsa too. The recipe is similar with just a few tweaks to this one.
What can I add to Fresh Salsa for flavor?
Back to those tomatoes. The fresher your tomatoes, the less need to embellish….but taste buds do play a role.
If you like spice, you may prefer a stronger pepper than jalapeno. I’d suggest a habanero or serrano. Raw garlic that’s been pressed or grated into the salsa will also add a bit of a kick. Some other ideas: a pinch of cumin, crushed red pepper or cayenne, salt, chili powder or garlic powder.
Personally, I prefer my salsa unadulterated so the fresh veggies stand out. There’s just something about fresh tomatoes at their peak that I swoon for.
Ok….so I love fresh tomatoes. In fact, I sometimes eat them straight from the garden. I also like to cut them up and drizzle with a splash of balsamic vinegar and call it a day.
What? You have too many garden tomatoes? Is there actually such a thing? Well, not anymore….this is by far, the BEST and most TASTY way to use up those tomatoes. It’s quick and easy and really has that fresh from the garden taste.
Whatever your skill level in the kitchen….you’ve got this! I’m here to help with easy directions and tips for those without knife skills. If you don’t have a garden…grab some local fresh tomatoes from a farmers market, or grocery store…beg some off a neighbor or friend. This is a recipe and a season you don’t want to miss! Homemade Fresh Tomato Salsa for everyone….STAT!
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes
- 4 scallions
- 2 jalapenos
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- FOOD PROCESSOR OR BLENDER METHOD: Core tomatoes and then add to processor or blender. Trim the root end from scallions and add both the green and the white part to processor. Remove the stem, seeds and membranes from jalapenos and add to processor along with cilantro leaves. Process by pulsing until desired chunkiness. Then add in salt, to taste along with other spices in notes section as desired.
- CHOP BY HAND METHOD: Core and dice tomatoes. Trim root end from scallions and thinly slice both the green and white parts. Remove the stem, seeds and membranes from jalapenos and cut into small dice. Roughly chop cilantro leaves. Mix everything together in a bowl. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and other spices as desired.
- THE HYBRID MODEL: (Perfection in my opinion): Put aside one tomato, 1 scallion and half a jalapeno to chop as directed above. Also set aside a couple sprigs of cilantro. Put remaining ingredients into the bowl of food processor or jar of blender and process as above. Mix the chunks of veggies together with the processed salsa and season to taste.
OPTIONAL: If salsa doesn't have as much heat as you like, add 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or a pinch of cayenne. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, cumin or smoked paprika to taste are also options. Personally I like the taste of the fresh ingredients to shine through so I leave mine plain and simple.
TOMATOES: The best tomatoes are the ones that have come straight from your garden or local farmers market. Roma tomatoes will give you a less watery salsa than beefsteak, but I think beefsteak provide more flavor. I have also used cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes.....use what you have or whatever the freshest tomato you can find. Tomatoes that were picked before fully ripened and have sat in a refrigerated truck in transport have the least amount of natural flavor and will need some doctoring up to have a good taste.
JALAPENOS: I find that jalapenos, when diced without the seeds or membranes add more flavor than heat. If you like salsa that is spicy, don't discard all the seeds or consider using a habanero or serrano pepper instead.
Salsa will stay good in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge for 4-6 days.
Serving Size1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 13Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 92mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 1g
The nutrition calculations were done using online tools. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you used. You are ultimately responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information is accurate, complete and useful.
More Great Summer Recipes
- Vegan Pasta Salad
- Zucchini + Corn Fritters
- Simple Roasted Tomatoes
- Veggie Kabobs
- Corn Salad with Pickles
- Ratatouille Salad
- Grilled Peaches
- Berry Crisp
Nope! Total waste of time. A good serrated knife or a blender/food processor will work beautifully to turn those tomatoes into salsa.
Store salsa in a jar with tight fitting lid in the fridge for 4-6 days.
Make salsa! YUM!
Yes! Tomatoes and jalapenos are both high in Vitamin C. Also, salsa is a low calorie, nutrient dense food, so it’s good for promoting weight loss too.