This easy red tomato salsa recipe is one I’ve been perfecting since we returned from our first big trip to Mexico and the USA way back when we first began travelling. It’s kicking off a series of our favourite Mexican comfort food recipes.
We may live in Asia, but we don’t eat Asian every night of the week. Alongside Italian, Spanish and French, it tends to be Mexican cuisine and Mexican American food that we tend to turn to when we’re in need of some comfort food or we have a busy week and I want make something versatile to get us through a few meals.
My easy red tomato salsa recipe is the first in a series of very unpretentious home-style Mexican recipes that we have been making for more years than we care to remember that do just that. Next up: my chili con carne recipe.
Easy Red Tomato Salsa Recipe – How to Make Homemade Spicy Tomato Salsa
This easy red tomato salsa recipe is so versatile that we serve it with a big old bowl of chilli, with quesadillas and huevos rancheros, with Lara’s over-the-top nachos, and just as a dip with corn chips, perhaps alongside some guacamole too.
Given how easy this red tomato salsa is to make, I just can’t justify buying brands like Old El Paso, which I find too sweet, anyway. As well as costing a few times more than what a home-made salsa costs, store-bought jars of salsa lack the freshness of flavour that comes with using fresh coriander (cilantro), onion and lime juice.
My easy red tomato salsa recipe comes with a little twist, however… while most recipes will have you putting all the ingredients into a blender while you munch on a corn chip or three, if you do that the result will be a watery and weak salsa that will make your corn chips soggy before you even get them in your mouth.
What you don’t want is a ‘fresh’ salsa that tastes like a tomato salad. If we want a fresh salad with a big old bowl of chilli to cut through the heat, I’ll chop up some fresh tomatoes and lettuce to serve on the side.
So to get a salsa with a robust body, you need to drain your whole tinned tomatoes in a colander first to collect the juice. You should then only use the ‘meaty’ parts of the tomatoes in the salsa. One of the reasons the salsa can become so watery and lack flavour is because of the liquid that comes out of the fresh ingredients when you blend the salsa.
To get a more concentrated flavour and to reduce the moisture content of the tomatoes, put the tomatoes in a pan over low heat for around 15 minutes before adding the tomatoes to the blender.
The great thing about this method of making tomato salsa is that if you find that the salsa is too firm, you can add some of the tomato juice you collected when straining the tinned tomatoes.
While this red tomato salsa can keep for a few days, we usually finish it within a couple. A great way to freshen it up is to add a squeeze of lime and a little more fresh coriander.
Notes On My Easy Red Tomato Salsa Recipe
Firstly, a note on seasoning: if you finish making this red tomato salsa and you think it doesn’t have the ‘oomph’ you want, a sprinkle of Maldon Sea Salt (every good chef’s favourite) will really bring out the flavour.
And on the corn chips, if you want to eat Doritos Dinamita Chile Limón Rolled Flavored Tortilla Chips, that’s fine, but please don’t eat them with this beautiful fresh tomato salsa. Plain freshly-made corn chips are the best for scooping up fresh tomato salsa if you can find them. And if you can’t? You can always make your own…
Easy Red Tomato Salsa Recipe
- 1 400g (14oz) tin tomatoes, strained
- 90g (3.1oz) cup chopped green bell pepper
- 115g (4oz) cup onion diced
- 20g (0.7oz) cup minced fresh cilantro (no big stems)
- 30g (1oz) chopped fresh jalapeño peppers (including seeds)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt (add more to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Strain the tinned tomatoes, keeping the tomato juice.
- To make a firmer, more concentrated salsa, put the tomatoes in a pan over low heat for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool before adding to the ingredients in the blender.
- Blend all ingredients until just combined. Taste and add extra salt from a salt grinder as needed.
- Sprinkle a dash of coriander leaves or spring onions on top.