As much as our vegetable garden appears to be a fun family project, there’s no denying that it’s really my husband’s domain. He’s really the one who takes care of ours- constantly checking and pruning and feeding and harvesting. And me? I do it for Garden Fresh Salsa. This recipe is totally customizable according to your preferences. I use fresh tomatoes (sometimes supplemented with canned tomatoes), onions, peppers, cilantro, and a touch of chipotle chili powder. Salsa is delicious on so much more than tortilla chips, too. We serve it on salads, baked potatoes, over grilled chicken, you name it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing my friends.
- Tomatoes – Salsa is a fantastic way to use up those garden tomatoes! Store bought will of course work, too. If you find you are short on the tomatoes, use 2 less, omit the tomato juice, and add one can diced tomatoes instead. The flavor and texture of canned tomatoes actually works really well in fresh salsa, I do it all the time.
- Peppers –You’ll notice the recipe calls for a few varieties of peppers. I use different peppers depending on what I have or what the store has. I like poblanos and Anaheims (neither are spicy) and you can find those in most grocery stores. I call for one of each in the recipe, but you can use 2 of either one or the other. If you don’t want to use those, or can’t find them, you could use a plain ol’ green pepper. But c’mon, you’re making salsa, be adventurous! Here’s what they look like if you’re not sure.
- Jalapeño – The jalapeño is optional here. If you prefer, you can leave it out.
- Tomato Juice – You can find these little 5.3 ounce cans in the juice section of the grocery store, and they usually come in a 6-pack. They are great to have on hand for soups and stews too.
How to Make Garden Fresh Salsa
- The first thing you want to do is roast your chili peppers (not your jalapeño, if using). Note that roasting isn’t necessary if you are just using a green bell pepper. Slice the tops off your peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Slice the peppers and place skin-side-up on a cookie sheet. You’ll pop them under the broiler until the skin is blackened and bubbly, then remove then from the oven and transfer them immediately to a zip top bag and seal. This will steam the skins for easy removal. This is just one method for roasting peppers, you can see other methods (like the grill pictured below) here: How to Roast Peppers.
- While the peppers are cooking or steaming, combine tomatoes, onions, green onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Oh, and the jalapeño if you’re using it. Stir to combine.
- My little secret ingredient (k, not so secret anymore) is a wee bit of chipotle chili powder.
People who love my salsa are always saying, “it just has that….flavor. What is that??” I think it’s probably the chipotle pepper coming through. It adds mostly smokiness- which really compliments the roasted peppers- and a little bit of heat. I add 1/4 teaspoon, but that might be too much flavor for some people. Start with a bit less and go from there if you’d rather. And you could certainly add canned chipotle chilis if you’ve got some left over from this Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad or these Baked Chipotle Beef Taquitos– but I always just add the powder since it’s so little.
- Next, pull those peppers out of the bag, remove and discard the charred skin, then dice and stir into the salsa mixture.
- Once that’s all stirred up, add tomato juice until it’s the consistency you like. I add the whole little can.
- Process in a food processor (or carefully in a blender in really small batches) until it’s the consistency you prefer. I like mine on the chunky side.
- Then don’t you DARE bust out the tortilla chips yet! Put that stuff in a container in the fridge and leave it alone for several hours. It’s going to taste totally different when it comes out. Salsa has to sit around to reach perfection. Let it do its thing before you devour it and it will be a million times better.*I need to add that this recipe is not for canning. If you want to preserve salsa you should use a recipe specified for that purpose. Canned salsa needs to have a certain acidity in order to avoid bacterial contamination. Check with your local extension office for details.
Okay, now you can devour it!
We love eating salsa on pretty much everything at our house! From tacos to fajitas, salads to baked potatoes, and spooned over nearly any meat from the grill.
If you’ve got tons of tomatoes you need to use up, my #1 favorite thing to do is make Oven Roasted Tomatoes. You can make TONS with any variety. They’re to die for.
If you’re looking for ways to use up other garden produce, consider these:
Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles
Roasted Sweeet Corn and Tomato Soup
- Can this Garden Fresh Salsa be canned? Nope. This recipe has not been written or tested for safe canning. Besides, it’s FRESH salsa and the beauty in that is the bright, fresh flavors of eating it as is!
- How long does this last in the fridge? This salsa is best when eaten within about 3 days.
Did You Make This?
I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, and then come back and give this recipe a rating!
Garden Fresh Salsa
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Refrigerator Time: 3 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
This fresh, homemade salsa is packed with fresh tomatoes, onions, and peppers. It’s texture and heat are completely flexible according to your preferences. Serve with tortilla chips, on baked potatoes, with any Latin-inspired dishes, or over grilled meats.
4–5 cups diced tomatoes, any variety (about 5–6 med/lg tomatoes, see notes)
1 cup diced onion (red or white)
1 poblano pepper (see notes)
1 Anaheim pepper (see notes)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup chopped cilantro (slice it up stems and all)
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8–1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
optional: 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 5.3-ounce can tomato juice (that’s the little tiny can, half the size of a pop can)
The first thing I do is roast my chili peppers. This can be done a day or two before if you’d like. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove seeds and membranes. slice into strips and place skin side up on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the oven with your broiler set to high and stay close by to keep an eye on them. When the skins are blackened and bubbly, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and use tongs to immediately transfer the peppers to a gallon-size zip-top bag. Seal the bag and let them hang out while you get everything else ready. For alternate methods and further explanation, you can read all about How To Roast Peppers here.
While the peppers are cooking or steaming in the bag, combine tomatoes, onions, green onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt and chipotle powder, and the jalapeño if you’re using it. Stir to combine.
Remove peppers from zip-top bag, peel off and discard charred skins (they will come off easily), and chop. Add to salsa mixture and stir to combine.
Once that’s all stirred up, add tomato juice until it’s the consistency you like.
Process in a food processor (or carefully in a blender in really small batches) until it’s the consistency you prefer. I like mine on the chunky side.
Put salsa in a container in the fridge and leave it alone for several hours. It’s going to taste totally different when it comes out. Salsa has to sit around to reach perfection. Let it do its thing before you devour it and it will be a million times better.
- If you don’t have that many tomatoes: use 2 less, omit the tomato juice, and add one can diced tomatoes instead. The flavor and texture of canned tomatoes actually works really well in fresh salsa, I do it all the time.
- You can also substitute 1 green bell pepper for the poblano and Anaheim. No roasting is necessary with the bell pepper.
We're trying this recipe out this weekend! I love every recipe you post! Thanks!
Sherry–has your hubby told you that he and MY hubby know each other? Small world, right? 🙂
My husband is Kuh-razy for your other salsa recipe. He's not a big fan of tomatoes, but did comment that this looked good.
MMmmm. Mmmmmm. MMMMmm.
I wish we had a garden.
Looks yummy! I'm actually making fruit salsa right now 🙂
You must have read my mind. I have a plentiful garden this year and I'll have red tomatoes coming out of my ears soon! This recipe sounds so tasty. It will be my first homemade salsa attempt.
LOVE homemade salsa!! Can't wait to try your recipe!
Thanks for great ideas!!
Yummy!!! We planted everything for salsa and I made my first batch, which was divine, and then like two days later the morning sickness started. No more salsa for me for a while. 🙁 Can't wait to try yours in a couple months!
Jennifer- technically speaking I believe salsa refers to a cooked sauce, whereas pico de gallo is a fresh mixture. However, I think most people think of and refer to pico as the simple mixture of diced tomato, onion and cilantro with lime. Whereas salsa (fresh salsa in this case because it isn't cooked) incorporates more ingredients and has a saucier texture.
According to me that is 🙂
This sounds like a great recipe. We have TONS of jalapeno peppers and tomatoes from our garden. What's the difference between salsa and pico de gallo? Is salsa more saucy?
I love fresh salsa. That store bought stuff is gaggy after eating fresh stuff.
What a fresh and healthy snack. I love the idea of roasting the peppers. Can't wait to try it.
Our roma tomatoes are just ripening in our garden (still waiting on the jalapeno) and I can't wait to make some fresh salsa!! I'm kicking myself, though, for not planting some onions. I have never tried roasting peppers for my salsa but I'm guessing it adds great flavor… can't wait to try it!
Oh and Myrnie- too funny about the tomatillo plants!
I meant to say something about that. This recipe is not for canning. If you want to preserve salsa you should use a recipe specified for that purpose. Canned salsa needs to have a certain acidity in order to avoid bacterial contamination. A great place to check for canning recipes is your local extension office. But a lot of salsas freeze well so that might be a good option for ya!
It is a good thing your husband is a horticulturist too!
I'm excited to try the chipotle pepper. Is this a type of salsa you can bottle and save for later? I have a ton of tomatoes and peppers from my garden and need to make a lot of salsa, so I am really hoping it's the kind you can bottle! Thanks for the recipe!
I love fresh salsa, but have never tried to make it myself. One of my friends does and I am always jealous (it is a family recipe he can't share). I am excited to give this a try! Thanks!
I love my salsa with TONS of lime, no cilantro and plenty of jalapenos! I always have a hard time with mine being too watery, so lately I've been using a mixture of canned tomatoes (for the texture) and fresh tomatoes (for the taste).
Looks yummy! We're digging tomatillo salsa right now…because I realized last week that the 23 ground cherry plants are actually tomatillos! Oops 🙂 (Oh, and the jalapenos I got at the store were ENORMOUS, like 6 inches long. Yours are tiny, I wonder if I even got jalapenos? 🙂
YUMMMY!!! I make salsa with far less ingredients, but yours looks way awesome and I can't wait to try it!
I am totally going to tell my mom to make this (she probably has already read this) she has a BOUNTY of delicious tomatoes from garden.
I have a big beautiful bowl of tomatoes from my garden sitting on my ktichen counter. Thanks for the inspiration! We're having salsa and chips tonight!!
bummer for you girls who lost your tomatoes! Good thing you can find them at the store so you can make salsa 🙂
Abby- not a stupid question at all. For me, it completely depends on what I'm making. For salsa, you'll want to dice up the entire tomato, insides and all. You need all of those juices and seeds in there. If it's something where you don't want the guts spilling all over, slice the tomato in half and gently scoop the the insides with a spoon or just loosen them with your finger. Sometimes you can just gently squeeze and they pop right out. I do that when I make salads because I hate the juices getting all over everything, or even when I slice tomatoes for sandwiches. I'm picky about that though 🙂
Can I ask a stupid question? When you cut tomatoes, what do you do with the slimy insides? I never know if I should leave them on, but when I toss them I feel like I'm wasting half the tomato.
I loooove fresh salsa. Thick and chunky. My mouth is watering!!
ooh that looks amazing! I've never made salsa before!!
This looks so good! Too bad our tomatoes caught the blight that is going around! I might have to pick up these ingredients at the market very very soon!!!
This was my first year gardening and my tomatoes totally bombed (tried doing the diy hanging thing). I do have a thriving lime tree though, so Im excited for next year. Now I know what kind of peppers Im going to plant. Love, love loving your site!!!
Mmmmm I LOVE fresh salsa. I just might have to make some tomorrow! I like mine pretty spicy, but I usually make it mild for my wussy family members who can't handle the heat 😉