If there’s just one thing you learn how to make in the kitchen, it should be this fresh salsa recipe! Once you have the ability to make a simple salsa, you can transform anything into a delicious meal. This salsa takes only minutes to make and it adds amazing zing and freshness to everything! And let’s not forget the pure joy of gorging on tortilla chips dipped into salsa whilst catching up with a good friend! You can even feel a little bit better about all the unhealthy tortilla chips you’re eating because you’re at least getting lots of vitamins in the salsa! 🙂
Salsa Around The World
The fact that so many cuisines around the world all have a version of a freshly chopped tomato sauce in their traditional recipes is testament to how good and how transformative it is.
- Mexicans of course have their beloved Pico De Gallo with the addition of coriander (cilantro) and chilli;
- Italians have tomato salsa with basil as the herb of choice;
- In India, they have kachumbar to freshen up a heavy meal.
The list goes on… but the point is that each culture has its own recipe for mixing finely chopped tomatoes with a little onion or garlic and herbs to make a light and refreshing accompaniment to their meals. Each variation is absolutely delicious and so versatile in the kitchen.
A Neutral Base
My version is a neutral fresh salsa recipe that you can think of as your platform from which to jump into different cuisines depending on how you’re feeling and what meal you’re serving (and also what you happen to have in the fridge!). So, adjust the herbs to suit the cuisine you’re going for, adjust the citrus to use lime or lemon, adjust the spiciness to your liking. I choose not to cook with chilli so that my children will eat it, so there is actually no chilli in this version but if you want a Mexican salsa, I would add some chopped jalapeno or habanero chillis or for an Indian version, add some dried chilli flakes or a chopped green chilli.
The important thing is to just taste as you go along and get it to exactly the flavour profile you like. Have fun experimenting!
I often find salsa recipes too complicated or not fresh enough when it really should be the simplest thing in the world to make! This one is so simple. It’s literally some tomatoes chopped up really small, mixed with some finely diced red onion and garlic, a glug of olive oil, lots of fresh lime juice and (for a little Qatar twist!) some pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar if you want to keep with tradition) and then seasoned with salt and pepper and herbs. It will take you 5 minutes, max, to make this and it is a true flavour bomb when you taste it!
The key to this fresh salsa recipe, is in the chopping. You do have to dice everything pretty small and neatly. To chop onions finely:
- cut in half then lay the flat side on the chopping board and chop the pointy end off (the opposite side to the root end);
- very carefully slice the onion half a few times going from the bottom to the top, parallel to the chopping board, towards the root but not all the way through the root;
- then slice thinly downwards towards the chopping board from one side of the onion to the other with the knife pointing towards the root but, again, not cutting through the root;
- finally, turn the knife at a 90 degree angle and slice thinly from the cut end to the root end so that the little cubes should fall away with each slice.
This fresh salsa goes so well with so many things!
- Chips and dips - obviously salsa with tortilla chips is divine!
- Salsa on toast for lunch - think bruschetta style... I have this for lunch more often than I care to admit!
- Salsa is an absolute must with guacamole for Mexican meals.
Keep this fresh salsa in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The flavours seem to develop over time. It has its freshest taste when you first make it but then the lime mellows and the juices seep out of the vegetables and mix into the sauce making it a little more saucy and a little less fresh but still absolutely delicious!
(Note, some people do can their salsa to preserve it for a longer time. I haven't tried this as I like to make it fresh but here is a helpful guide all about canning salsa if that's something you're interested in).
📖 Recipe 📖
Simple Fresh Salsa
- 2 tomatoes, finely diced (or 8 cherry tomatoes, diced)
- ½ small red onion, very finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoon lime juice, (1 lime gives 2 tablespoon lime juice)
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Chop and prep the ingredients and mix together.
- The key to a good salsa is to ensure that the tomatoes and onion and garlic are all chopped very finely. You want small little cubes. Look at the "Knife Skills" section of my post to find instructions on the best way to chop onions finely.
- This neutral salsa can be adjusted to suit different cuisines: add jalapeno or habanero chillies to go with your Mexican food; swap the coriander (cilantro) for basil to use on Italian bruschetta; or add some fiery chilli flakes to serve with poppadoms in an Indian meal.
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