The Unorthodox Epicure — Fresh Mexican Salsa

I still remember the first salsa (or hot sauce, as we call it around here) that I ever had. The brand was Albert’s. It is a semi-chunky garlicky concoction that works just as well over enchiladas and tacos as it does chip dip. Then there was the version served at the now almost-defunct El Chico restaurant chain. Smooth with a little spice. I could drink the stuff and sometimes did.

Mexican salsas rank among my favorite condiments. Whether it’s the stuff made table-side at La Mansion del Prado in Reynosa, or the simple all-purpose salsa served at Tex-Mex restaurants far and wide.

My salsa recipe this week is a reason to grow tomatoes, onions and cilantro. The bowl in the photo is a combination of Italian grape tomatoes and the Rutgers Hybrid variety — all ripened on the vine.  Every restaurant wishes it could serve salsa like this. Why? Because it’s fresh and it tastes fresh. It’s wonderful as a chip dipper or a topper. Who knows? You might just want to drink it.

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Fresh Mexican Salsa (Salsa Fresca)

Fresh Mexican Salsa — This is the version that every restaurant wishes it could serve. It's wonderful as a chip dipper or a topper.

Fresh Mexican Salsa — This is the version that every restaurant wishes it could serve. It’s wonderful as a chip dipper or a topper.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Fresh Mexican Salsa
This is the salsa that every restaurant wishes it could serve. Why? Because it's fresh and it tastes fresh. It's wonderful as a chip dip or a topper.
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican/Tex-Mex
  • About 2 lbs. - Fresh ripened tomatoes
  • ½ cup - Chopped onion
  • 2 TB - Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TB - Tomato paste
  • ½ - Jalapeno or Serrano pepper (more or less, for heat)
  • 2 tsp - Kosher salt
  1. Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and process until slightly chunky. Allow to sit in refrigerator for 1-2 hours for flavors to meld.



  1. I love fresh salsa! I have a pequin pepper plant; I’m just waiting on those little hot things to turn red so I can play around with making different salsas. Yours looks absolutely perfect.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Shea! I love chile pequin, but have had little success in growing them. They grow wild on the side of the highways down here, believe it or not. I can also get them at the Mexican grocery store. Hot and delicious.

  2. My Serrano peppers are ready to use but my ‘maters have a long way to go! Fresh salsa is awesome!

  3. Salsa is definitely my choice in dip! And I definitely love this delicious, fresh salsa recipe you have here! YUM!!!

  4. I look forward to trying this simple recipe because I’m tired of my runny watery salsa that I’ve made over the past 10 years. I’ve resorted to making a simple Pico instead. If my tomatoes ever ripen I’ll let you know what I think. Pinned.

  5. Pure, simple flavors! Love it. (I think there is still at leas one El Chico’s and maybe two in Tulsa.)

    • adamjholland says:

      Our El Chico burned about 10 years ago. There are still a few around the area, but they changed the recipes on everything, most notably the salsa.

  6. Salsa and chips are my jam. This restaurant-style salsa looks amazing, Adam. There’s texture, and yet it’s not too chunky. Just perfect!

    • adamjholland says:

      Well let’s jam the jammin’ jam, Beeta. This salsa is better than the restaurant stuff because it tastes … fresh. Hope you’re well. 🙂

  7. I could eat the entire bowl! It’s the chips that kill me! Love salsa fresca and yours looks better than any restaurant’s!

    • adamjholland says:

      Thanks, Abbe! I keep adding to the jar as tomatoes ripen. We left town for a couple of days or else it would be empty right now.

  8. I love making salsa and pretty soon tomatoes and peppers will be ready to pick from the garden. Will definitely be making this. Thanks!

  9. This looks amazing and so easy, love it!!

    • adamjholland says:

      I wanted to name it “easy peasy fresh salsa,” but I’m reserving the name for another upcoming recipe. 😉 Thanks, Tara!

  10. We are growing all of the above so definitely making this Summer! Thanks again for another wonderful recipe!

    • adamjholland says:

      My pleasure, Tara. 🙂

      • Melody Taylor says:

        Hi Adam,
        It’s been ages since I have seen you!!! I miss your PR spots on the news!!!

        I love HM salsa, for a variation I grind a tiny bit of cumin in my handy spice grinder to add to my salsa!

        • adamjholland says:

          What a nice blast from the past! Hope you’re well, Melody. Putting cumin in salsa, though, is a felony. Right up there with putting beans in your chili or eating kale. 😉 Don’t be a stranger!


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  3. […] And if your taste buds aren’t into the spicy tingle of chile de arbol salsa, there are other varieties that taste just as […]

  4. […] to stand on its own as a main course. I also tend to have mine without tomatoes, opting for a red salsa topper […]

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