Fresh Tomato Salsa

Growing up on the east coast with an Italian family, jarred salsa and Taco Bell were the only “Mexican” foods I had tried. Naturally, I was unimpressed and rarely craved what I thought was Mexican food…

Until, I moved to California

After I arrived in the Golden State, it wasn’t long before my friends took me to a taqueria.  From the moment I tried my first taste of authentic salsa, I was blown away. I had never had salsa so delicious and fresh.How could I ever eat or serve bland, jarred salsa again?
So, I set out to recreate my favorite Mexican sauces starting with a classic fresh tomato salsa. This salsa uses a can of unsalted diced tomatoes as I prefer my salsa a bit saucier. You can omit the can of tomatoes if you like salsa fresco.

While salsa is fairly simple to make, it takes a bit of time to finely chop all of the ingredients to create a well-balanced sauce. But I promise you – it is so worth it.


Yield: Salsa for 8

Active Time: 20 Minutes


  • 3 medium firm, fresh red tomatoes, rinsed, stems removed
  • 1 12 oz can of diced red tomatoes, No Salt Added
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • Salt to taste

Slice tomatoes vertically into quarters. Using a sharp paring knife, slice the meaty tomato center and seeds away from the flesh and discard.


Slice each tomato quarter into 3-4 long, thin strips. Then slice the strips across to dice your tomato like so.



Using a sharp paring nice, remove the stem from your jalapeno and cut lengthwise. Carefully scrape the seeds and the membranes out using a small spoon or your fingers. As you did with your tomatoes, slice the jalapeno in long, thin strips and then cut against the strips to finely mince your peppers.  For a spicier salsa, include some of the ribs and seeds to suit your taste.

Pro tip: You may want to use kitchen gloves to avoid contact with the spicy capiscum oil and protect your skin.  If you do get it on your skin, you can use milk or yogurt to alleviate the burn.



Remove the skin from your onion and finely dice.  Do the same with your garlic cloves and set aside. All of your ingredients should be about chopped nicely for consistency and balance.


Add your tomato to a medium size bowl and incorporate your onion, garlic and jalapeno. If you prefer pico de gallo, omit the next step.


Then add a can of diced tomatoes to your bowl of fresh ingredients. You can use a food processor to incorporate ingredients together but I prefer to gently crush with my hands.

Finely chop your cilantro and add it to the mixture. I like a lot of cilantro, so use less to start and add more to taste.

Roll the lime on the counter with your hand and squeeze the fresh juice of one lime into the mixture.

Season with sea salt and a pinch of cumin.

Serve with chips, tortillas, tacos, burritos or your favorite Mexican dish.


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