Best Red Salsa Recipe (2024)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

The best Red Salsa Recipe ever, easy, healthy + vegan, ready in 5 minutes, made with sweet San Marzano tomatoes (or fire roasted), an authentic touch of cumin and just the right amount of spicy. The perfect quick and easy 100% whole foods plant-based vegan dip or appetizer to bring to a game day party or backyard barbecue.

Best Red Salsa Recipe (1)

Jump to Recipe

Red Salsa Recipe

Also known as“ Salsa Roja ” this is a simple restaurant style salsa sauce to enjoy with your favorite chips. It’sperfect for canning or serving right away with chunky guacamole and tortilla chips, pupusas, tamales or as a condiment to a main dish. I’ll even use it as a sauce to toss with capellini noodles or drizzle it over steamed rice, vegan potato pancakes,black beans , tofu scrambleor these vegan street tacos de carnitas.

About the Ingredients

Lycopene loaded tomatoes, spicy chile, garlic, a mix of scallions and red onions, cilantro, citrusy lime and the perfect amount of smoked paprika for the most delicious flavor profile.

Simply the Best!

Is Salsa Healthy?

I really can’t count the times I’ve been asked this question! Yes friends, homemade salsa is good for you! It’s an oil-free, low calorie sauce bursting with flavor and loaded with micro nutrients our bodies need to thrive. You control what goes inside!

Salsa Making Tips

  • Restaurant Style – use a food processor to whip up a batch, but pay close attention that you don’t turn it into a smoothie. The “Pulse” button is your friend.
  • Make it Chunky – If you prefer your salsa chunky, I’d suggest using a sharp knife instead of a processor and chop everything together by hand on a cutting board. Easy breezy, in any case it should be ready in about 5 minutes.

Best Tomatoes for Salsa

  • Canned – The recipe calls for sweet canned San Marzano tomatoes because they are the best ever! You are free of course to use the fire roasted variety or whatever canned tomatoes you have in the pantry. However, keep in mind that you will be missing out on some amazing flavor, I’d go as far as to argue that the magic of this salsa is all in the sweet Italian tomatoes.
  • Fresh – If you are wanting to make a “Salsa Fresca” aka“ Pico de Gallo “ or a fresh style salsa then you must use chopped “fresh tomatoes” instead of the canned variety.

P.S. If you enjoyed this recipe please come back here to rate it in the comments section below, It always makes my day ~ Florentina Xo’s

watch how to make the best red salsa recipe

Best Red Salsa Recipe (7)

5 from 5 votes

Best Red Salsa Recipe

Easy and healthy, the best salsa recipe ever, ready in 5 minutes, made with sweet San Marzano tomatoes ( or the fire roasted variety) plus an authentic touch of cumin.

Print Recipe

Prep Time:5 minutes mins

Total Time:5 minutes mins


  • 28 oz canned whole San Marzano tomatoes (drained of all the juices)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 red onion - diced
  • 2 cloves garlic - large & grated
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - sliced (to your taste)
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin or to taste
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika ( + more to taste)
  • 1 large lime - juiced
  • 1 pinch sea salt + more to taste

US Customary - Metric


  • Add the red onion, scallions, garlic and jalapeño to the bowl of a food processor. Give it a buzz or two until chopped.

    2 scallions, 1/2 red onion, 1 jalapeno pepper, 2 cloves garlic

  • Add the tomatoes (Without juices), spices and cilantro on top and pour in the lime juice.

    28 oz canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, 3/4 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika, 1 large lime, 1 pinch sea salt, 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • Very carefully press the pulse button a few quick times making sure you don’t over chop the salsa. (Alternately you can chop everything by hand for a chunky version)

  • Transfer to a bowl and taste seasonings. Add more lime and sea salt as desired. At this point you can add the reserved tomatoes juices if you are wanting a thinner consistency. Add more smoked paprika for a deeper smokier flavor.



  • Tomatoes - The recipe calls for sweet San Marzano tomatoes, you are free of course to use the fire roasted variety or whatever canned tomatoes you have in the pantry but i don't guarantee the wow factor.
  • Smoked Paprika - Make sure to use Sweet smoked Spanish paprika not the bitter variety that could easily overpower the rest of the salsa flavors. Start with one teaspoon and work your way up from there as paprika varies a lot among brands. (I like to go heavy on paprika so if you know you are a fan of this flavor go for 1 Tbsp as I do, otherwise taste as you go and find your ideal flavor profile here).
  • To make the salsa less spicy omit the chile pepper.


Calories: 62kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1845IU | Vitamin C: 10.7mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1.8mg

Course: Appetizer

Cuisine: Latin

Keyword: plant based, salsa, Sauces, vegan recipes

Servings: 4 people

Calories: 62kcal

Author: Florentina

Vegan Recipes:

Best Red Salsa Recipe (2024)


What is the key to good salsa? ›

The secret to a great salsa is fresh ingredients! A bit of lime juice is essential to ensure it lasts longer (the acidity prevents the veggies from going bad), but too much will overpower the taste. I prefer to chop the veggies very finely by hand then use a blender or food processor very briefly to “liquefy” it.

Why does Mexican restaurant salsa taste so good? ›

A unique blend of fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice contributes to the vibrant, lively taste of restaurant-style salsa.

Why isn't my homemade salsa red? ›

An aerated salsa

There's no need to worry about pink salsa. Before you decide to add additional tomatoes or red chilies to make your salsa deeper in color, let it sit for a while. Combining anything in a blender or food processor can make your product lighter and fainter in color than the ingredients you started with.

How do you make salsa taste better? ›

To brighten up your salsa add fresh tomatoes', onions, jalapenos or Serrano Chile's and definitely add cilantro and lemon juice for added punch roast the peppers and tomatoes that will make store bought salsa taste like home made.

Why do you put cumin in salsa? ›

Cilantro – It adds fresh flavor and pretty flecks of green. Cumin – Its earthy flavor adds complexity to the zesty sauce. Sugar – Just a pinch! It really brings this recipe together, taming the sharp, acidic flavors of the other ingredients.

What is the ratio of tomatoes to onions in salsa? ›

Start by using a 2:1 weight ratio on your Tomatoes VS. Onions for a properly balanced salsa. Don't worry, you don't have to weigh ingredients every time you want to make salsa. Just know that a typical plum tomato weighs approximately 100g (3.5oz), and a largish white onion will weigh 300g (10.5 oz.)

What brand salsa do most Mexican restaurants use? ›

If you're searching for a salsa that meets the expectations of many Mexican chefs, Herdez is the one. “When I am in a pinch, my go-to salsa is the Herdez brand, with my personal favorite being the Guacamole Salsa Mild," said Dudley Nieto, the executive chef at Fat Rosie's in Illinois.

What is the number 1 salsa brand in Mexico? ›

The HERDEZ® brand is the No. 1 selling brand in Mexico and the leading authentic Mexican salsa brand in homes across the US. Best known for products such as Herdez® Salsa Verde, Salsa Casera and the original Guacamole Salsa, the Herdez® brand is founded on authenticity in flavor and quality you can trust.

What kind of salsa do most Mexican restaurants use? ›

By far, salsa roja is the most popular Mexican salsa, and after a bite, it is not hard to see why. Different chefs will often vary the amount of heat by adjusting how much and what kind of chilis are added to the mix.

What can I add to my salsa for more flavor? ›

What can I add to salsa for more flavor?
  1. Lime or lemon for a zip of citrus.
  2. Cilantro for a pleasantly herbaceous tang.
  3. Onions because you know everything's better with onions.
  4. Roasted tomatoes, peppers, or garlic because roasting anything provides a smoky flavor that we love.
Jun 10, 2022

Why do you add vinegar to homemade salsa? ›

All great salsa need a hit of acidity to lighten and brighten their flavors. Perry and Damuck like lime juice (skip the zest; it's too perfume-y), plain white vinegar, or red wine vinegar, which is a nice match for the tomatoes.

Should I use red or white onion in salsa? ›

Should you use red or white onion in salsa? You can use either. I prefer white onions in my pico de gallo because they're crisp and have just the right bite. If all you've got is red onions, don't let that hold you back, it'll be every bit as good.

Why do you put lemon juice in salsa? ›

A pH of 4.6 or lower is required for safe canning without the use of pressure processing. Foods such as pickles or salsa need to have an acid added if they are to reach a pH level of 4.6 or lower to prevent microorganism survival and/or growth.

What are the best tomatoes for salsa? ›

Roma Tomatoes are a popular choice for salsa-making due to their dense and meaty texture, small number of seeds, and full-of-flavor tanginess. Variations of this tomato are sometimes called “plum” or “paste” tomatoes. Red Beefsteak Tomatoes are another favorite for those who favor a juicier tomato in their salsa.

How do you take the bitterness out of homemade salsa? ›

Experiment with sugar, honey or applesauce. Assuming that's all fresh raw ingredient, don't blend it, chunk it. You have almost all the ingredients for a classic pico di gallo there - which isn't traditionally blended, it's left in small cubes/chunks.

What makes a good salsa tomato? ›

Roma Tomatoes are a popular choice for salsa-making due to their dense and meaty texture, small number of seeds, and full-of-flavor tanginess. Variations of this tomato are sometimes called “plum” or “paste” tomatoes. Red Beefsteak Tomatoes are another favorite for those who favor a juicier tomato in their salsa.

Should salsa be smooth or chunky? ›

Salsa can be smooth or chunky, but it gets most of its flavor from fresh produce and herbs like cilantro.

Why does my salsa have no flavor? ›

Forgetting to use salt

Salt is undoubtedly an under-appreciated element in the perfect homemade salsa recipe. It can help round out the flavors in raw salsas and highlight the acidic or spicy components you use in your recipe.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kelle Weber

Last Updated:

Views: 6248

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kelle Weber

Birthday: 2000-08-05

Address: 6796 Juan Square, Markfort, MN 58988

Phone: +8215934114615

Job: Hospitality Director

Hobby: tabletop games, Foreign language learning, Leather crafting, Horseback riding, Swimming, Knapping, Handball

Introduction: My name is Kelle Weber, I am a magnificent, enchanting, fair, joyous, light, determined, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.