Easy to follow and totally customizable salsa recipe


Tomatoes are one of the best fresh foods in the summer. But there’s a limit to the number of salads and sandwiches you can top with juicy produce.

So what’s the best way to keep an abundance of tomatoes in your life without getting bored? By making salsa, of course.

Today’s recipe calls for Roma tomatoes (also called Italian tomatoes), but any variety will do. We roasted them because a little time in the oven concentrates their flavor and sweetness by driving out excess moisture. This is a great tomato cooking tip to keep in mind for the rest of the year when the flavor of the tomatoes might need a little help.

Did you know? Tomatoes are a staple of the Mediterranean diet, tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as iron, potassium and fiber.

Tomato tips:

  • To avoid bruising, place tomatoes in a single layer when roasting them.
  • For maximum flavor, store tomatoes at room temperature. If you’ll be storing them for more than a few days, especially in hot climates, place them in the warmest part of the refrigerator.

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How to customize homemade salsa

What’s great about salsa recipes is their versatility. Our recipe is quite basic (tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs and spices) and provides a good starting point if you want to experiment with complementary ingredients.

If you are looking for a little sweetness: Add diced pineapple, mango or peaches to our recipe.

If you want a thicker salsa: Stir in roasted corn kernels or black beans.

If you need less heat: Use pepperoncini or banana peppers, which are mild and slightly sweet.

If you want moderate heat: Anaheim, poblano and ancho peppers provide a gentle heat. Medium peppers include jalapeno, serrano, and hot wax peppers.

If you want to set your mouth on fire: Scottish beanie or habanero might just be your thing. Remember that the inner ribs and pepper seeds add heat.

After:Alton Brown’s advice changed the way we cook. It’s the most important thing he wants you to try

homemade sauce

Serves: 12 (⅓ cup) servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes (plus cooling time)


  • 10 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 green bell pepper, quartered
  • ½ red onion, quartered, plus 1/4 cup finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Parchment paper or vegetable oil cooking spray
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, green pepper and quartered onion pieces with the olive oil. Pour vegetables onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables soften. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Place the roasted vegetables in a blender or food processor. Cover and toss until combined but still slightly thick. Place salsa in a large glass bowl and add cilantro, ¼ cup finely diced red onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. Stir well before serving.

Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart.

Nutrition: 43 calories (21% of big), 1 gram big (0 gram sat. big0 grams trans fat), 8 grams carbohydrates1 gram protein88mg sodium0mg cholesterol18mg calcium2 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 2 vegetables.

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