Basic Salsa

Is there any better snack than chips and salsa. There are so many varieties to choose from. Innumerable ingredients to combine. So much fun to be had. I can smell the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro and lime now. The lime and cilantro are optional but tomatoes peppers and onions are a staple. This is my basic recipe, I always make about 5 pounds of it and there is never any left. For a small family dinner reduce quantities to 1/4 the original amounts. This stays fresh for several days. After that it turns bitter. I like to let it marinade overnight for best flavor.

Step one: Buy the freshest vegetables possible. Do not store the tomatoes in the fridge it gives them a taste nasty.

Step two:  Wash and clean vegetables

Step three: Chop vegetables

Step four: Resist eating before party


In food processor place, cilantro, 1 quartered tomato, hot peppers and garlic. Pulse until fine. This method results in tiny pieces of pepper. This prevents hot bites and cool bites. Remove this and put in a large bowl.

Next you want to quarter the tomatoes, green peppers and onions. Then pulse them in the food processor in small batches. For example two tomatoes, 1/2 pepper and 1/2 onion. Remove each item after chopping and place in bowl. The objective here is to create small uniform bite size pieces. I like them between 1/4 and 1/2 inch pieces. Many people hand chop these to get very uniform pieces. I prefer this method since I make so much. Nobody has ever complained that they are not perfectly the same size.

After all the vegetables are chopped squeeze in one lime and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir well.

For variety add a can of black beans rinsed, or a small can of corn drained.

Now for step Four, Sample. You should have an instant lime zing followed by each flavor. If any one flavor over powers the others you may have too much of that item. The green peppers often make it sweet. Cilantro can make it bitter if there is too much. A overall weak flavor usually means too many tomatoes. You will need to make this a few times to get the flavor just what you like. I found these proportions are usually perfect. Serrano peppers are fickle in their heat level. I usually add two then increase if I need more heat. Remember the chips are salty, taste with a chip before adding salt.

Serve with what I call old dry dead chips. These are the ones that come in the mysterious bag that is a non-name brand, the chips are thick, usually yellow, unflavored and very sturdy for scooping lots of yummy Salsa.

  • 4 pounds of firm Roma tomatoes
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2-4 Serrano
  • 8 sprigs of cilantro
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Cut peppers, onions, and tomatoes in quarters. Put ¼ of a tomato, all cilantro, garlic and Serrano peppers in food processor. Pulse until small uniform piece are visible, make sure the Serrano pepper are evenly blended. Do not over blend this into a puree. Remove and put in a large bowl. Put several tomato pieces in processor, pulse 3-4 times for medium chunks. Remove, redo with remaining tomatoes, peppers and onions. Do not over pulse. You may need to take out some big chunks and repulse them, do not attempt to pulse them before removing the rest of the batch.
  2. After all peppers, tomatoes and onions are pulsed put in large bowl, mix with cilantro mixture and squeeze one lime in bowl, add salt, mix to combine all ingredients. Taste for heat, saltiness and tartness. Add Serrano pepper, salt and lime according to taste.
  3. This gets hotter as it marinates, so be aware.
  4. Variations: 1 can black beans drained, 1 small can corn