Simple Salsa Recipes

Updated on January 1, 2020
Carb Diva profile image

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

Simple Salsa Recipes
Simple Salsa Recipes | Source

What Is Salsa?


sahl-suh, noun

  1. A lively, vigorous type of contemporary Latin American popular music, blending predominantly Cuban rhythms with elements of jazz, rock, and soul music.
  2. In Mexican cookery a sauce, especially a hot sauce containing chilies.

Don't get your hopes up—I will not be writing today (or any other day for that matter) about dance. I love to watch others do it, but alas I was born with two left feet. End of story. Our focus today is on the second meaning of the word "salsa." (And, as the Carb Diva, you knew I'd be talking about food, didn't you?)

What Is in a Name?

Salsa. Pico de Gallo. Some people use the two names interchangeably. Sometimes you should, and sometimes you shouldn't. Every pico de gallo is a salsa, but not every salsa is a pico de gallo. Huh? Here's a table that might help a little:

Pico de Gallo vs. Salsa

Pico de Gallo
always made from the same simple ingredients—tomato, onion, jalepeno, cilantro
might certainly contain those ingredients, but varies from region to region
chunky, like a salad
tends to be "soupier"
always fresh
often fresh, but may be cooked or canned
can be used a filling in tacos or fajitas
commonly used as a dip

Where Did This All Begin?

Let's begin in the beginning. Historians believe that as early as 700 A.D., the Aztecs were cultivating the tomato plant. We know that they already had chilies and spices—could the invention of salsa been far behind?

The explorer Hernando Cortéz arrived on the scene in 1519; he conquered the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan (now named Mexico City) in 1521. Eight years later Bernardino de Sahagún, a Franciscan priest and missionary travelled to this area, New Spain, and devoted the next 50 years of his life learning the language and recording the history, culture, and beliefs of the Aztec people. One of his works, Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva España (General History of the Things of New Spain) contains this excerpt about food vendors in Aztec markets:

"He sells foods, sauces, hot sauces, fried [food], olla-cooked, juices, sauces of juices, shredded [food] with chile, with squash seeds, with tomatoes, with smoke chile, with hot chile, with yellow chile, with mild red chile sauce, yellow chile sauce, sauce of smoked chile, heated sauce, he sells toasted beans, cooked beans, mushroom sauce, sauce of small squash, sauce of large tomatoes, sauce of ordinary tomatoes, sauce of various kinds of sour herbs, avocado sauce.”

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm inspired. Here are some of my favorite salsa (and pico de gallo) recipes.

Basic Fresh Tomato Salsa (Salsa Cruda or Pico de Gallo)

Serving: Makes about 2 1/2 cups


  • 2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 5 medium)
  • 2 fresh jalapeño chiles
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs (tops only), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Slice tomatoes in half horizontally. Remove seeds with a small spoon and discard. (This is easy with large Roma tomatoes that have just 4 seed-filled sections. Other tomatoes often have many little seed hiding places. For those I hold the tomato half over the sink and use my fingers to push out the seeds).
  2. Cut tomato into small (1/4-inch) dice and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  3. Wearing rubber gloves, cut chilies in half, remove seeds and finely mince. Add to tomatoes in a bowl. (Please be careful when handling fresh chilies. Don’t rub your eyes or mouth). When you have finished preparing the chilies, remove and discard the rubber gloves.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to a bowl and stir; add salt and pepper to taste. It can be made one hour ahead and kept at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate leftovers, but plan to use within 24 hours.

Easy (Canned) Tomato Salsa

Serving: Makes 3 cups


  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 cup white onion
  • 2 jalapeño chilies, stems removed (see note below)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs (ok to include some stems)


Combine all ingredients in blender in order listed. Pulse until salsa reaches desired consistency. Note: If you prefer a less spicy-hot salsa, remove the seeds from the jalapeño.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Serving: Makes 2 1/2 cups


  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 medium jalapeno, stem removed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Rinse tomatillos and place on rimmed baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat source for about 5 minutes or until charred in spots. Remove from oven; carefully flip over and return to oven. Broil an additional 5 minutes or until blistered.
  3. Carefully place broiled tomatillos and jalapeno in the jar of a blender; pulse several times. Scrape down the sides of the jar; add remaining ingredients. Pulse again until mixture is smooth.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Black Bean and Corn Salsa | Source

Maria and Josh are the creators and authors of the sweet blog Two Peas And Their Pod where you will find easy, fresh-ingredient meal ideas (and lots and LOTS of cookie recipes). They created a black and corn salsa that is healthy, flavorful, and definitely addictive:

Mango Salsa
Mango Salsa | Source

Mango Salsa

My husband's favorite salsa. This is a very versatile recipe--you can omit the cucumber and substitute red bell pepper, tomatoes, peaches, nectarine, or even strawberries.


  • 3 ripe mangos
  • 1 cup diced English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (no stems), chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Stir together gently. Cover and set aside for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

Important Note: You must wear rubber gloves when preparing/handling the raw chili pepper. Cut chilies in half, remove seeds and finely mince. (Don’t rub your eyes or mouth). When you have finished preparing the chilies, remove and discard the rubber gloves.

Do You Have a Favorite Salsa Recipe?

See results

© 2016 Linda Lum


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Everyone seems to really like the mango salsa Bravewarrior. I haven't been brave enough to try introducing other fruits (peaches, nectarines, strawberries) as Mr. Diva is a bit of a purist when it comes to his salsa.

      I'm glad I've inspired you, and I think salsa is something you can enjoy (almost) guilt-free.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Mmmmm. Mango salsa. Yummy! Your articles are always so interesting, Diva. I learn something new and get hungry at the same time!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric - I actually thought of you when I wrote this hub, knowing that you would have all of these wonderful produce items close at hand. The mango is my husband's favorite also.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I just assumed everybody ate this as a main dish. I like them all. Pico de Gallo perhaps is the favorite. I really checked out that Mango salsa. Oh boy, my wife is going to just love it -- fresh produce tomorrow and fun making it up. Of course down southwest here you can get all these ingredients from roadside stands -- plus most will have some Pico de Gallo already made. In fact I will take my two daughters to Juanita's today for some salsa.


    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - I'm sorry that the niche sites are still a bit problematic. How great that your dad makes his own salsa. Does he grow his own tomatoes and peppers? Homemade is best! Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your presence on HP and your continued support and encouragement.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      Some of these niche sites make it hard to leave a comment, but I'm reading! Interesting history of salsa. My dad makes his own, having perfected it through constant tweaking.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Rachel - We didn't try tomatoes this year (fighting the deer to keep away from them is just TOO difficult). I'm glad this hub arrived in time for your harvest. Please let me know which salsa recipes you use and if you and your family like them. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Rachel Alba 

      3 years ago

      Hi Carb Diva, I love salsa, I will be trying your recipes. We are just starting to harvest our tomatoes too. Thanks for sharing.

      Blessings to you.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Audrey - I think I could probably make this every day for Mr. Diva and he'd be a happy guy. (Actually, we're going camping this week, and guess what he's getting for lunch?) Try it with a few fresh strawberries tossed in. Heavenly. Thanks for your kind words and support.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Love salsa! My personal favorite is mango salsa. Your recipes make my mouth water. I'll be trying these for sure. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes. The basic 'fresh tomato salsa' is a winner!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, if you are growing your own tomatoes this year (and ARE you?) I do hope you will try the salsa fresca (pico) recipe. It's really good--and you can control the amount of heat by how the chilies are prepared. Or leave them out if you don't want the heat. To me, the fresh tomato and cilantro are the shining stars. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your encouragement.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bev is the salsa-lover in this family, so I'll pass it along. Still, I loved the history of it, which is just one reason why I always love your articles.

      Have a superb week, Linda.....great job!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Well, I'm not saying that he discovered it, but he certainly documented its existence. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Please let me know if you happen to use any of the recipes. I always love getting feedback.

    • peachpurple profile image


      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      didm't expect that salsa was found by a priest, thanks for the hub


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)