Taco Salsa Recipe

Homemade salsa! This recipe gives you two choices: a restaurant-style salsa, or a chunkier pico de gallo. Both are great for dipping chips, topping tacos, or to brighten up your meals. Here’s how to make them!

homemade salsa made with fresh tomatoes, onion and cilantro serve with nachos and tacos.

Homemade Salsa

Salsa is a refreshing condiment typically made with a base of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.

fresh tomatoes, yellow onion, cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, lime juice, cumin and salt.

Here’s a breakdown of the key ingredients:

  • Tomatoes – The heart of salsa, providing sweetness and acidity. Ripe tomatoes are key for the best flavor.
  • Onions – Use yellow onion or red onion whichever is available.
  • Cilantro – Fresh cilantro or coriander leaves brings a bright, herbal touch with a hint of pepperiness.
  • Chiles (optional) – The type and amount of chili can vary depending on your spice preference. You can leave them out for a milder salsa.
  • Lime Juice – Fresh lime juice adds a tang that cuts through the richness of the tomatoes and balances the flavors.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt enhances all the other flavors.
  • Other optional ingredients – Some salsas may include additional ingredients like garlic cloves, cumin, oregano, or avocado for extra depth of flavor or creaminess.

Restaurant-style Salsa

Restaurant-style salsa is a type of salsa known for its smoother consistency compared to the chunkier pico de gallo.

salsa restaurant style

The smoother texture is achieved by blending the ingredients in a food processor. This creates a finer chop for the tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, resulting in a dip that’s easier to scoop with tortilla chips and enjoyable as a condiment on tacos or burritos.

salsa tacos in food processor.

Canned tomatoes are a secret ingredient for achieving restaurant-style salsa’s smooth consistency and rich flavor.

easy salsa recipe made of canned tomatoes.

Unlike fresh tomatoes, which can vary in ripeness and water content, canned diced tomatoes offer a uniform texture that blends beautifully, creating that signature smooth dip. Plus, canned tomatoes are available year-round, ensuring consistent quality.

restaurant style salsa in a food processor.

Chunky Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

Pico de gallo, also sometimes called chunky salsa, is a type of salsa known for its fresh, vibrant ingredients and distinct chopped texture.

pico de gallo made of fresh chopped tomatoes, onion, chilies, and coriander or cilantro.

Unlike restaurant-style salsa which is blended for smoothness, pico de gallo features all the ingredients chopped into small cubes.

salsa mixture made of tomatoes, onion, cilantro, cumin and garlic in a transparent bowl.

This results in a chunky salsa where you can appreciate the individual flavors and textures of the tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and other ingredients.

Because of its chunky texture, it’s not always ideal for scooping with chips like a smooth salsa. It’s often served as a topping for tacos, burritos, ceviche, or alongside other dishes for a burst of fresh flavor and texture.

Salsa Recipe Tips

  1. Use the ripest tomatoes you can find for the sweetest flavor and juiciest texture. Fresh cilantro and high-quality onions add a vibrancy that can be missing in store-bought salsa.
  2. Spice it Up, or Don’t. Jalapeños are the typical source of heat, but customize it to your preference. Use less for a milder salsa, or try swapping them for poblanos peppers for a smoky, non-spicy option.
  3. To avoid burning your hands wear gloves when chopping jalapeños. To reduce the heat, remove the seeds and membranes reduces. For conveniece, you can also use canned green chilies which are usually not spicy but more tastes smokey.
  4. Choose Your Blend (texture). For restaurant-style, use a food processor to achieve a smooth consistency with a few pulses. For a chunky pico de gallo, skip the food processor and simply chop the ingredients for a fresher, more rustic texture.
  5. Acid for Balance. Fresh lime juice adds a necessary tang that cuts through the richness of the tomatoes and balances the flavors. Don’t skip it!

After mixing your salsa or pico de gallo, let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. This allows all the flavors to meld and develop for a more delicious result. The wait is worth it!”

salsa served with nachos and tacos.

What to serve with

Restaurant-style salsa and pico de gallo are both incredibly versatile condiments that can be enjoyed in many ways.

Here are some ideas for what to serve them with:

  • Tortilla Chips
  • Tacos
  • Burritos
  • Nachos
  • Quesadillas
  • Enchiladas
  • Grilled Chicken or Fish
  • Eggs
  • Skirt Steak

Shelf-life and Storage

Homemade salsa is best enjoyed fresh. It’s recommended to make only what you plan to consume within a few days.

Regardless of style, it will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator when stored properly. The acidity from the lime juice helps with preservation, but it’s not enough for long-term storage.

Always store your salsa in an airtight container to prevent spoilage from air exposure and to avoid absorbing fridge odors. Use clean utensils when scooping out salsa to prevent contamination.

Once opened, limit the amount of time the salsa is exposed to air. This can be done by transferring leftover to a smaller container to minimize air space.

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restaurant style salsa and chunky salsa served with nacho chips.

Taco Salsa

Rate this recipe
Salsa is a simple combination of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Great for dipping chips, topping tacos, or to brighten up your meals. This recipe gives you two choices: a restaurant-style salsa, or a chunkier pico de gallo.
Servings4 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 1 can 14 oz whole or diced tomatoes (use 3 large diced tomatoes for chunky salsa)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves (roughly chopped)
  • ½ yellow or white onion (diced)
  • 1-2 piece jalapeno (stem & membranes removed)
  • 1-2 clove garlic (skin removed, minced)
  • ½ teaspoons salt (use ½ teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin (add more if preferred)
  • 1 piece lime (juiced)
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)

Instructions

Chunky Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

  • In a medium bowl, toss together the chopped tomatoes, diced onion, fresh cilantro, jalapeno, minced garlic, salt, cumin, lime juice and sugar (if using).

Restaurant style Salsa

  • Toss all your ingredients into a food processor. Give it a quick burst (think one second!) a few times, just until everything is nice and finely chopped.

Chill and Serve

  • Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Chill the salsa in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes up to a few hours.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with tortilla chips, tacos, nachos or your favorite grilled meat.

Recipe Notes & Tips:

  • Tomatoes – For canned tomatoes, I recommend using San Marzano tomatoes. For chunky salsa, use ripe roma or plum tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes can also be used for a hint of natural sweetness.
  • Jalapeños – Use less for a milder salsa, or try swapping them for poblanos peppers for a smoky, non-spicy option.  For conveniece, you can also use canned green chilies which are usually smokey and not spicy.
  • Shelf-life and Storage – Regardless of style, it will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator when stored properly. The acidity from the lime juice helps with preservation, but it’s not enough for long-term storage.
Author : Mella
Course : Dipping sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine : Mexican
Keyword : pico de gallo recipe, restaurant style salsa, salsa recipe
Nutrition Facts
Taco Salsa
Amount per Serving
Calories
16
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.02
g
0
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.03
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.05
g
Sodium
 
293
mg
13
%
Potassium
 
65
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
4
g
1
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
0.4
g
1
%
Vitamin A
 
185
IU
4
%
Vitamin C
 
11
mg
13
%
Calcium
 
14
mg
1
%
Iron
 
0.4
mg
2
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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