quick & easy restaurant-style salsa recipe

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Did I ever tell you that I LOVE homemade salsa? {if you follow along over here, then probably yes!}. I'm not a fan of the jar kind {or anything that tastes like it}, but you can send me to Chili's and I could eat theirs all day long. :)

Many years ago, my friend Smittee brought a fresh salsa to our community group that was a lot like Chili's {fresh and tangy}, and I instantly fell in love. I asked for her recipe, and then I have no idea what happened to it, or if she just told me and I remembered it. :) I looked everywhere for it to see how similar my recipe today is to it. I'm honestly quite terrible at following recipes, but I learned so much from hers! I never knew you could make salsa with canned tomatoes that would taste so good. I also learned one of my other favorite salsa secrets from it: adding a splash of vinegar to get the twang. :)

Again, I'm really bad at following recipes, so when I give you one, it's what tastes good to me. I did measure it all out, but you can tweak it to your tastes, and I'll tell you how. :D

Oh, and FYI, I live in Texas, and I LOVE salty, cilantro-y, very tangy salsa. Can't get enough of it. In fact I eat it with a fork, it's so good:

Is that weird? Or is it more weird that my 3 year-old eats it with a spoon and bowl?

I mean who eats salsa with a spoon, anyway? ;)

Here's the recipe:

6 cups diced tomatoes 
{this is roughly 4- 15 oz. cans- I measure out 6 cups exactly, with juice} 
1/2 bunch cilantro
juice of 1- 2 limes {how many depends on how tangy you like it} 
1/2 onion {or more, to taste} 
1.5 tbs. garlic powder or 1-2 fresh cloves
2 tbs. sea salt {you might want to start with less if using table salt}
1 tbs. white vinegar {add more to taste for twang- I use like 1.5}
optional: dash or more of red cayenne pepper for a kick


Blend all ingredients together. Adjust to taste {drained tomatoes = thicker salsa/ more lime, vinegar = more tangy/ more cayenne = more heat}. Serve, or for better flavor, refrigerate salsa for 3-4 hours.

This is a very tweak-able recipe- so if you don't like cilantro, use less. If you hate onion, use none. :) I encourage you to play with it according to your taste! If you like your salsa to be thicker, you can drain some of your tomatoes. If you prefer more bland salsa, you can also start with the smallest amount of lime and vinegar, and increase as needed after the first blending.

Now I love cilantro. So I use 1/2 bunch:

Sometimes I feel the need for more onion than 1/2, but it really depends on how strong that particular variety/batch is. Again, to your liking. :D I used 1/2 of a red onion, but I've also used white and green ones. {can you see why I'm so bad at recipes? I'll use whatever I have around!}

I just add everything to the blender at once- I do very little chopping:

Blend or food-process all of your ingredients:

Don't be afraid if it looks pink like soup. It's just the extra air. :D

Now the important part: taste your salsa, and add more of whatever you like. If it's too tangy for you, you can take it down with a teaspoon of sugar or so.

You can serve it right away, but I have to tell you, it's soooo much better if you let it sit for a few hours in the refrigerator. The flavors blend together so nicely after it settles.

Enjoy it on everything or with nothing like we do, or you know, just eat it with chips the old-fashioned way. :D

Here it is again to pin for later:

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6 cups diced tomatoes 
{this is roughly 4- 15 oz. cans- I measure out 6 cups exactly, with juice} 
1/2 bunch cilantro
juice of 1- 2 limes {how many depends on how tangy you like it} 
1/2 onion {or more, to taste} 
1.5 tbs. garlic powder or 1-2 fresh cloves
2 tbs. sea salt {start with less if using table salt}
1 tbs. white vinegar {add more to taste for twang}
optional: dash or more of red cayenne pepper for a kick

Blend all ingredients together. Adjust to taste {more lime, vinegar = more tangy, more cayenne = more heat}. Serve, or for better flavor, refrigerate salsa for 3-4 hours.

Let me know how you like it! :D {or if I messed up something royally! ha!}

What's your favorite way to make salsa? 
Or do you have a favorite secret ingredient? {and will you tell me? you don't have to kill me, I'll keep it quiet... ;)}


Sarah Beaugh said...

I make a blender version almost identical to this, except minus the vinegar. For heat we have added jarred jalapenos, fresh jalapenos, or a mix and/ or a dash of chipotle powder (adds flavor depth!). I am from SA which is the capitol of Mexican food! :) This is so good and everyone always wants the recipe!

Mandy said...

mmm! You're so right- the more South you go, the better the food!! :D I love the jalapeño idea- it's been a long time since we've had the heat in ours. For some reason I suddenly went from can't taste heat to it kills me, so we went mild a couple years back :D thank you for sharing!

Sarah Beaugh said...

For flavor, I would suggest adding mild jarred jalapenos (even just 2-3 slices) which really have no heat at all, but add a great dynamic to the salsa.

BTW- I stumbled onto your site via Pinterest and have loved all the encouragement found here. You had me at your curly haired how-to's. ;)

Rhonda @ herChristianHome said...

I love salsa so much that I can eat it with a spoon like soup, but when I tell others that, they give me an incredulous look. But it's the truth...it's that good! I'm going to try your recipe because it sounds so good. I do like lots of kick so I do add a jalapeno to mine as well. Do you really use that much salt or is that suppose to be tsp. instead of tbs.? I do like tangy & salty together as well.

Mandy said...

Oh, good! I'm not the only solo-sals eater! :D I do actually use that much, but like I mentioned, it is sea salt so it's bigger/different ratio than table salt. You should totally start with less if it's too much for you, but I think the amount of garlic and salt makes the recipe for me. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Sometime I add a little honey to salsa........
Enhances texture. J Chase

Kathy Klassen said...

I really want to pin this, but for some reason the pin it link isn't working...

Leigh Anne said...

I thought I left a comment but it didn't show up....so u may get 2!
I'm also a Texas girl and love salsa! I've made green salsa by roasting tomatillos, quartered onions & garlic in the oven. Nice & tangy! And I love the flavor that the roasting adds.
I also loved your lil gal eating it with a spoon....a girl after my own heart!
Gonna try your recipe....I heart cilantro too so I'm all in!

CJ said...

I LOVE SALSA!! I dislike any salsa from a jar though. So unless I can convince hubby to go downtown and buy some at the local mexican restaurant then I go without. Funny thing is the food at the mexican restaurant not so authentic but the salsa is the bomb! I have tried making a few different recipes but just never found THE ONE! I hope that this one is it. It would be less expensive than the restaurant salsa and more convenient too. A restaurant that used to be on the lake here served a gazpacho that tasted like a bowl of salsa...mmmmmmm.

Mandy said...

hmmm....I'm not sure why, but here is the actual pinterest link for you to repin: http://pinterest.com/pin/190980840420264069/ :D thank you!

Mandy said...

mmmmmm- I love tomatillos!! I love any green salsa, too! :D I need your recipe!! :D

Mandy said...

oh, great idea!! I bet it would taste great! And I'm so glad you're here! Thank you so much for your sweet encouragement! I'm so glad it's been helpful! :D

Mandy said...

:D I hope it is the ONE! :D Feel free to change it up and add whatever you like! :D Let me know how it goes! :D

Melony Merten said...

My recipe is almost identical to this one. I do add fresh jalapeño to mine though even if it's only a little.

One idea I wanted to pass along. I always cook my salsa for about 30 minutes after everything is blended. I love the way the flavors really meld together when I cook it. And to be honest warm salsa is simply Devine in mg book!!

Unknown said...

Is that 1.5 tablespoons of garlic powder?! This sounds so good I want to try it but sounds like an awful lot of garlic...

Stephanie Zürcher said...

I love homemade salsa (same basic recipe as yours) but pregnancy means that raw onions are a deal-breaker for me! So I sauté them first before adding to the mix. It keeps some onion flavor but doesn't upset my tummy! (I also can't tolerate garlic now, so I'm really thankful that my husband is so patient will all these pregnancy aversions!

Mandy said...

It is 1.5 tbs - we like garlic at our house but adjust yours if you aren't sure. I think it makes the salsa! :)

Mandy said...

oh, congratulations on your new baby!! :D

Mandy said...

I've never tried that! thank you for the tip!!! :D

Ginny said...

Loved! I don't know if I will ever buy jarred again!

WendyWarren said...

Since you are using canned tomatoes sometimes anyway...if you really want a "kick" to it, you can add the Rotel tomatoes...(they have a mild also) ;)
That's what I use, almost everything else is exactly like yours, except I never thought to add vinegar...
Your photos have me drueling for salsa! LOL!

Lindsay said...

This is pretty much my recipe with tweaks on the amounts...I use stewed tomatoes, sometimes store bought, but I recently canned my own...OMG..HUGE difference...I also add a chili lime flavor from Pampered Chef..it makes it taste AMAZEBALLS,but you can substitute it with adding a little chili powder and extra lime juice...! I too use fresh jalapeno..sometimes seeded sometimes not, I always try seeded FIRST- our jalapenos were smokin hot this year due to our drought...so a little spicier than even we like but I added green pepper to mild it out an then puree it in the food processor. :)I loveeee fresh salsa and make it at least once a week in the summer! :)-I also tried making my gpas canned salsa which is pretty much all of these ingredients cooked and then canned...I had so many ppl ask for the recipe :) Thanks for sharing your love of salsa!

ps found via pinterest :)

Anonymous said...

I am exactly the same... don't really like jarred salsa but I could eat a bowl full of homemade. Add a bit of cumin and some chilli powder for a deeper taste. i am wanting to try chipotle pepper next time I make it. You can get a really fresh flavor with about 5 fresh tomatos.. don't need to cut... just squish into the bottom of the blender.

sueann said...

I live in Cedar Park TX and wanted to start a mommy and coffee group to talk about whatever and prayer. Would you be interested in helping me? I have small children also.