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Recipe: Delicious (& Mild) Red Tomato Salsa


I’ve been getting loads of questions about what to do with all those tomatoes this time of year – so I thought you might enjoy reading this quick and easy salsa recipe from our archives. (Originally published 25 October, 2008)

When I was a child, my grandmother lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the land of amazing red and green chiles and wonderful New Mexican salsas. We went to Albuquerque at least once a year, and I always felt it was my second home, with the red desert, its people, and its cuisine deep in my blood.

I miss it. So sometimes I like to recreate it in the kitchen. The following is a salsa recipe that I made with tomatoes from our garden, chiles preserved from last year’s garden, and the rest of the ingredients from local farmers. Matt says it’s the best salsa he’s ever had. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Tomato From The Garden

Melinda’s Delicious (& Mild) Tomato Salsa


Note: this is a great recipe to use up some tomatoes that have been sitting on your counter for a little too long at the end of the season! I use several types of tomatoes, whatever we have at the time – orange, canning, beefsteak, whatever you have will work!

  • 2.5 lbs. tomatoes
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (de-stemmed)
  • 1-2 dried cayenne peppers (or whatever hot peppers you have in your garden – optional)
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • salt to taste (3-4 teaspoons?)


1. Dice the onions and cook them in a large frying pan, with a bit of vegetable oil, until almost translucent.

2. Slice the tomatoes into fairly large chunks.

3. Remove the pepper seeds (unless you want a very hot salsa). Chop the peppers into tiny pieces, or grind into small pieces with a mortar and pestle.

4. Dice the garlic and add the garlic and peppers to the onions, stirring constantly, just until garlic begins to cook (about 2 minutes).

5. Add the tomatoes and salt and stir well. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, until tomatoes just start to cook but still hold most of their shape.

1/2-Cooked Salsa

6. Remove from heat and scoop the mixture into the blender. Pour remaining juice from the pan into the blender as well.

7. Add 1/2 cilantro to the blender.

8. Make sure you have the lid on the blender tight – you may want to also cover the lid with a towel if your lid isn’t very tight. Then pulse the blender quickly, just 3-5 times for one second each, until tomatoes are mixed but still chunky.

9. Pour mixture into a bowl that can be covered. Add the rest of the cilantro and mix. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

10. Loosely cover the bowl, and put it into the fridge to cool and to allow the flavors to set. Once the salsa is cool, you can either eat it, or cover it completely for later use. It will taste even better if left overnight.

Makes 5 cups of salsa. You can freeze some for later use… though in our house it never lasts that long! Served here with local beans, greens, cheese, tortillas, and homemade tomatillo salsa for Taco Night.

Taco Night

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10 comments to Recipe: Delicious (& Mild) Red Tomato Salsa

  • Oh my that looks wonderful!! I’ve been looking for a good salsa recipe for quite some time. I’ll have to give it a try.

  • Rob

    Yum! I am always looking for new salsa recipes! I will have to try this!

  • monica

    Have you ever tried it with lime juice? It adds a bit of a sweet, delicious tang.

    It looks more authentic than what we get here in Ohio!

    I found my pickled eggs/beet recipe! Do you want me to email it? or post it? It is from a Betty Crocker book from the early 70′s. It is fun to read how much lard and shortening people used to use–for everything!!!!!

  • Hi Monica, yes – feel free to post the recipe here! Sounds… interesting!

  • monica

    As promised in one of my first posts …

    Pickled beets and eggs

    1/4 cup water
    1/3 cup cider vinegar
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cinnamon stick

    Heat to boiling in a small saucepan. Then add 2 cups cooked, sliced beets. Pour the liquid and beets into a mason jar — you can take out the cinnamon if you don’t like it. After the mixture cools in the fridge, add a 3-4 hardboiled eggs and allow them to sink into the liquid.

    This recipe does not have instructions to can them and I don’t know about canning eggs. (EEEWW factor) I suppose that you could process the beets the same as you would pickles.

  • I made salsa today! I don’t like cilantro so I always leave it out and use parsley instead. And I put the salsa on chili rellanos. It was so, so, yummy.

  • I never think to cook salsa in the summer but of course it sounds delicious! We made fresh salsa yesterday with all your same ingredients but also added a bit of diced apples, radishes and lime juice with jalapenos (seeds in!). It’s so hard to go wrong with salsa. We even drink the juice at the end. A sweet elixir. Thank you for your Grandmother’s recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

  • Deb G, interesting – I’ve never had it with parsley!

    Katrina, Wow – ok, now our salsa really does seem simple – I’ll have to try adding a few little goodies… sounds like you’re making pico de gallo?

  • I think you’re right. If it’s uncooked it’s pico de gallo? We call everything with a tomato and pepper a salsa. We’re having a big storm today and already I’m wistful for fresh tomatoes.

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