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.
garden fresh salsa
1/2 red onion, cut into thirds
1 jalapeño, seeds removed
2 large cloves garlic
1 large red or orange pepper
1 large can of tomatoes, drained or 3 large tomatoes cut into quarters
1/2 large cucumber, cut into chunks
1/4 bunch of parsley or cilantro leaves (not stems)
juice of 1 large lime
1 t kosher salt
your favorite hot sauce
Add the onion, jalapeño and garlic to your food processor and pulse 2-3 times until roughly chopped but not liquid. Dump in the remaining ingredients and pulse a couple of times. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with tortilla chips.
Why have I never thought of using canned tomatoes?! Silly me.
Oh ho ho! This recipe sounds dangerous, which is a good thing.
I’ve never thought about putting cucumber in salsa! That looks delicious, though. I looove fresh salsa 🙂
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!
mmmm… I’m going to try this with some of my home-grown, canned tomatoes this winter!
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!
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.
I too am shocked that I never thought to used canned tomatoes. You’ve just expanded my salsa eating season indefinitely. Thanks!
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!
Salsa that can be made year round? Sounds like a godsend to me!
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!
There is nothing better than a fresh salsa. Nothing, I say.
And, you have a food blogger neighbor? That is too cool! xo
This looks delicious! I love homemade salsa. I also love how easy it looks to make!
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…
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.
Wow. This looks gorgeous. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.
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
I made this tonight with my end of summer tomatoes – AMAZING! Thanks for the great recipe.
wow…… its sounds so delicious. i like it
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.
I made it with my heirlooms! So yummy.
Thanks Tracy, it’s a good one!
Erin, I’m so not a fan of the stems, but do what you like!
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.
Great tip for getting through the winter..Now everyone will be bringing homemade salsa to parties.
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.
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.
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!
Thanks for sharing another great recipe! Actually it is a winning recipe as I won a salsa contest with it!