Salsa

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No fresh, sweet, and ripe tomatoes? No worries! This easiest-ever, quickest salsa recipe calls for canned tomatoes so you can enjoy salsa year round! Throw everything into a food processor, give it a whiz, and crack open the bag of chips. You’re going to love this!

 

Overhead image of a bowl of salsa.

Salsa in a flash!

My parents have both been into gardening for as long as I can remember. Growing up, we spent countless hours working in the garden and probably even more hours making and canning what we’d grown. Salsa was my mom’s favorite thing to make, can, and eat– and I definitely shared her affinity. Every year it seemed like we made more batches than the prior year, only to run out of salsa before more tomatoes were ready the next year.

As far as snacks go, there are few things I crave more than my mom’s salsa with some good tortilla chips! Unfortunately, I’m not much of a gardener and don’t have a stock of salsa to keep us going throughout the year. 

And so, this salsa recipe is born out of desperation for some good chips and salsa and a lack of fresh tomatoes. While there is nothing like good garden tomatoes, this crazy-quick, crazy-easy salsa recipe is a lifesaver. You’ll be amazed how fresh it tastes with — wait for it — CANNED tomatoes. That’s right, we’re using a can of tomatoes and I promise this salsa is delicious and the perfect way to feed your cravings when you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand.

Process shots-- images of everything being added to the food processor and being pulsed to desired consistency.

The key ingredient: tomatoes

This salsa will be as good as the tomatoes you use, so use the best quality canned tomatoes you can find!

I recommend using San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes. Whole canned tomatoes are higher quality than diced or crushed tomatoes (which are made from bits of lower-quality tomatoes). And while a can of San Marzano whole tomatoes can be pricey, it will still be cheaper than buying freshly made store-bought salsa. These tomatoes are the closest thing you’ll get to garden-fresh tomatoes and so much better than what you can get in the produce section when tomatoes are out of season.

The nice thing about using a can of tomatoes is there’s no preparation required — open the can and throw it in!

Other ingredients

Beyond the tomatoes discussed above, here’s what else is in this delicious salsa recipe:

  • Onion: Use either a red or yellow onion here. (Red onions are slightly milder when raw.)
  • Jalapeños: see “quick tip” below
  • Green bell pepper: see this tutorial on how to cut a bell pepper
  • Diced green chiles: We like using fire-roasted green chiles — more flavor without extra work for you!
  • Cilantro: Make sure to pack the cilantro into the measuring cup after coarsely chopping it. And if you’re not a cilantro fan, you can sub fresh oregano or parsley.
  • Flavor enhancers: Garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, cumin, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar all enhance and balance the flavors in this salsa. Taste and adjust, adding more spices or lime juice as desired.

QUICK TIP

Make sure to remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño before chopping for the salsa. Feel free to scale up or down the amount of jalapeño to perfectly control the heat! I always recommend wearing gloves when working with jalapeños because capsaicin (which is inside of the pepper) is hard to wash off your hands and can end up irritating or burning your hands (or eyes, mouth, or nose if touched after handling the peppers).

How to make salsa from scratch

It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe! 

  • Coarsely chop veggies. Start by giving the onion, green pepper, jalapeño, and garlic a quick coarse chop. No need to spend much time here because the food processor will do the rest of the work.
  • Add everything to the food processor. Pulse it until you get the consistency desired. 
  • Taste and adjust. Give the salsa a quick taste test and adjust seasonings (and the amount of lime juice) to personal preference.

Overhead image of the salsa in a bowl, ready to be served with fresh chips on the side.

Salsa FAQs

1How long does fresh salsa last?

Homemade salsa will last 5-6 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If you’d like to can your homemade salsa, check out this article.

I do not recommend freezing and thawing this salsa recipe; it turns pretty watery once thawed.

2What type of canned tomato should I use?

I recommend using San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes.

For more of a smokey flavor, try fire-roasted tomatoes.

3What can I serve with salsa?

The obvious answer is chips, but this salsa recipe can be used so many different ways!

4Is eating salsa good for you?

This salsa recipe is loaded with good-for-you ingredients and a very nutritious snacks! Here are some of the benefits of enjoying this salsa recipe.

5Can I make this salsa without a food processor?

Everything can be added to a blender instead.

If you don’t have access to a blender or food processor, everything can be finely chopped by hand.

Image of a chip being dipped into the salsa

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Salsa

0 from 0 votes
No fresh, sweet, and ripe tomatoes? No worries! This easiest-ever, quickest salsa recipe calls for canned tomatoes so you can enjoy salsa year round! Throw everything into a food processor, give it a whiz, and crack open the bag of chips. You're going to love this!
Print Recipe

Salsa

0 from 0 votes
No fresh, sweet, and ripe tomatoes? No worries! This easiest-ever, quickest salsa recipe calls for canned tomatoes so you can enjoy salsa year round! Throw everything into a food processor, give it a whiz, and crack open the bag of chips. You're going to love this!
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword salsa
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time (Optional) 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 39kcal
Cost $4.21

Equipment

  • 12-cup Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (60g) yellow or red onion coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (43g) green bell pepper coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (17g) jalapeño pepper coarsely chopped (~1 large pepper; seeds and ribs removed)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic coarsely chopped (~2-3 large cloves)
  • 1 can (28 oz.; 794g) San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can (4 oz. fire-roasted diced green chiles
  • 1/2 cup (21g) fresh cilantro coarsely chopped (pack in when measuring)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon white, granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • PREP: Coarsely chop (just a quick chop, no need for precision or getting these ingredients chopped finely) the onion, pepper, jalapeño pepper (See Note 1), and garlic.
  • ADD INGREDIENTS: Add the coarsely chopped onion, pepper, jalapeños, and garlic to a large (12-cup) food processor. Add the entire can of tomatoes (spoon out every bit of the tomatoes and sauce; don't drain) and all the rest of the salsa ingredients: the (undrained) diced green chiles, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, salt (See Note 2), cumin, pepper, tomato paste, and apple cider vinegar.
  • PULSE: Pulse to chop the ingredients and combine everything. Continue pulsing until the salsa reaches the desired consistency (less pulsing for a chunkier salsa and more pulsing for a restaurant-style salsa).
  • ADJUST: Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and lime juice to personal preference. Transfer to an airtight container and give everything a chance to chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving. Chilling is not entirely necessary but gives time for flavors to meld and salsa to get cold.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Make sure to remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño before chopping for the salsa. Feel free to scale up or down the amount of jalapeño to perfectly control the heat! I recommend wearing gloves when working with jalapeños because capsaicin (which is inside of the pepper) is hard to wash off your hands and can end up irritating or burning your hands, eyes, mouth, or nose if touched after handling the peppers.
Note 2: Not all salts season the same. I used fine sea salt, but if you're using table salt, you'll want to add less. Season slowly and to personal preference.
Nutritional information is for approximately 1 cup of salsa per serving.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 792mg | Potassium: 311mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2240IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

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