garden fresh salsa (aka the best salsa ever!)

When I moved to Vancouver, I became pretty smitten with the salsa produced by a local company. It was The Vancouver salsa, or so it seemed. A tub of it would turn up at every pot luck, bridal shower, art opening – pretty much every event deemed worthy of snacking, along came the salsa. Add some tortilla chips and sometimes this salsa would qualify as a solo dinner. These weren’t my proudest moments. After years of the same salsa and the same chips, I became bored. Especially after a 5 week honeymoon camping road trip that took us all over the Southwest where I discovered such amazing salsa varieties!

Luckily, a few new fresh salsas have hit the Vancouver marketplace to give the old salsa a run for its money. But I don’t really care, because now I have the secret to truly amazing salsa. Make it yourself! I got the basic gist of it from my friend and neighbour, Becka, whose husband whipped up a mean batch at a holiday party. The best thing was that he used canned tomatoes! Seriously, this is a game changer in my very small salsa world. He also used a food processor and that is key to the salsa’s success. I recently was gifted one from my dad and this salsa has rocked my world ever since.

In the summer, I use fresh tomatoes and have strayed from the basic formula. Into my salsa goes all kinds of fresh vegetables. Cucumbers! Sweet peppers! Garlic! All local and organic. But sometimes when my fresh tomato stash isn’t as full as I’d like, I go ahead and use organic canned tomatoes. Just make sure to drain them and give the tomatoes a bit of a squeeze to remove all of that liquid. I freeze the liquid to use later in soups and stews, so don’t throw out all of that tomato-y goodness!

This salsa is a good basic formula, but feel free to go with your gut. I like a tangy salsa with a lot of lime, but maybe you’ll only use half as much. I like a good strong onion flavour in here, but you may want less. Hot peppers like jalapeño can be hot or not-so-hot, so taste before you throw it in. I always add in extra hot sauce – from sriracha, to a spicy habanero sauce to good ol’ Frank’s Red Hot – it’s all gonna be tasty.

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29 comments to “garden fresh salsa (aka the best salsa ever!)”

  1. 1
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm   September 16, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Why have I never thought of using canned tomatoes?! Silly me.

  2. 2
    Suzy   September 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Oh ho ho! This recipe sounds dangerous, which is a good thing.

  3. 3
    Natalie S.   September 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I’ve never thought about putting cucumber in salsa! That looks delicious, though. I looove fresh salsa :)

  4. 4
    Peggasus   September 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

    That is pretty much my (Cuisinart) gazpacho recipe, if you add more V-8 Spicy. Which makes sense, because gazpacho is basically salsa soup as it is. It’s an endless loop!

  5. 5
    Ashley   September 16, 2011 at 10:00 am

    mmmm… I’m going to try this with some of my home-grown, canned tomatoes this winter!

  6. 6
    Jacqui   September 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Oh man, my aunt taught me to make a mean fresh salsa (she’s Mexican) and ever since I have such a hard time enjoying anything from the store. I never thought to use canned tomatoes though. Great tip for getting through the winter!

  7. 7
    Bijoux   September 16, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Just brilliant! Who would have thought canned tomatoes can make a mean salsa. I generally use canned tomatoes in stews and sauces and was certain that you can only make salsa with fresh tomatoes. Duh! And I see you’ve added cukes in there too…interesting! I like the sound of spicy habanero sauce but I can’t seem to find that particular aardvark brand anywhere.

  8. 8
    Elizabeth   September 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I too am shocked that I never thought to used canned tomatoes. You’ve just expanded my salsa eating season indefinitely. Thanks!

  9. 9
    Sarah   September 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    There is nothing shameful in salsa and chips for dinner! This is such a versatile recipe…I can’t wait to put my own spin on it!

  10. 10
    Joanne   September 17, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Salsa that can be made year round? Sounds like a godsend to me!

  11. 11
    Nettie Moore   September 17, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Looks scrumdilly-licious!

  12. 12
    kickpleat   September 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Jessica, I know, it’s a revelation!

    Suzy, only dangerous in how easy it is to make – but it’s healthy so it’s win-win!

    I had so much extra cukes, Natalie, so in they went. It was a smart move :)

    Peggasus, I’ve never tried gazpacho, but I will now if it tastes anything like this!

    With home-grown canned tomatoes, this will be a winner, Ashely!

    Jacqui, mmm, I’ll bet your aunt’s salsa recipe is incredible!

    Bijoux, I know. I thought the same way…until now. Enjoy! I think that aarvark sauce is only available in Portland. Next time I’m down, I’ll buy you a bottle!

    Elizabeth, enjoy your newly blown world :)

    Thanks Sarah for making me feel not so much like a shlub. Yes, please put your own spin on this!

    Totally, Joanne.

    Thanks Nettie!

  13. 13
    achowlife   September 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

    There is nothing better than a fresh salsa. Nothing, I say.
    And, you have a food blogger neighbor? That is too cool! xo

  14. 14
    Tanvi @ The Hathi Cooks   September 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

    This looks delicious! I love homemade salsa. I also love how easy it looks to make!

  15. 15
    The Rowdy Chowgirl   September 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Love it! The only problem with homemade salsa is that I will sit down on the couch with a bowl of salsa and a bag of chips and just never stop eating…

  16. 16
    kickpleat   September 19, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I totally agree, achowlife! My neighbour, though a blogger wasn’t a food blogger (but I’m totally okay with that!) – the only bummer is that she moved to New Zealand in February, so I’m blogger-neighbourless now. Boo!

    Thanks Tanvi, it’s a good one!

    OMG, I’m the same way RowdyC!! Totally. It is dangerous delicious.

  17. 17
    tracy   September 20, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Wow. This looks gorgeous. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.

  18. 18
    Erin   September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Oooo this looks great. I’d definitely use the cilantro stems too though because they add a bit of crunchy freshness. Good idea on using cukes too! x

  19. 19
    ronda   September 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    hmmm….delicious look

  20. 20
    Brandy   September 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I made this tonight with my end of summer tomatoes – AMAZING! Thanks for the great recipe.

  21. 21
    mishkat   September 21, 2011 at 3:17 am

    wow…… its sounds so delicious. i like it

  22. 22
    hag   September 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

    That looks like some good salsa! I have nvere really made it…but this sounds so easy and it looks tasty! thanks for the recipe. Now everyone will be bringing homemade salsa to parties.

  23. 23
    foodess   September 21, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I made it with my heirlooms! So yummy.

  24. 24
    kickpleat   September 21, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Thanks Tracy, it’s a good one!

    Erin, I’m so not a fan of the stems, but do what you like!

    Thanks Ronda.

    Hooray! Brandy, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It’s a keeper.

    Thanks Mishkat :)

    Hag, yes, homemade instead of Que Pasa, eh? I know you’ll like it.

    Foodess, glad you gave it a shot and enjoyed it.

  25. 25
    harry   September 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Great tip for getting through the winter..Now everyone will be bringing homemade salsa to parties.

  26. 26
    Elaine   September 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Fabulous recipe, Jeanette. I made it on Friday with some of my home-grown tomatoes. My version is a little chunkier because my food processor wasn’t up to the task & I had to chop everything by hand. Very tasty, though. I’ll be making it again.

  27. 27
    Ashley   September 30, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Okay I really need to make this!! What a great way to use up cucumber. I’m curious what this Vancouver salsa is… Que Pasa? I looove those Fresh is Best tortilla chips, especially the red ones.

  28. 28
    kickpleat   September 30, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Harry, that would be my goal :)

    Elaine, glad it worked out without using a processor!

    Ashley, it is really really good. Store bought just ain’t the same after this! Yup, Que Pasa is the one I was referring to!

  29. 29
    Cathy   August 4, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Thanks for sharing another great recipe! Actually it is a winning recipe as I won a salsa contest with it!

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