We’re addicted to the chips and salsa that appear on our table when we visit our local Mexican restaurant. So I’m amazed that I haven’t posted a recipe for tomato salsa until now. More to the point, I never even tried making it until a few weeks ago. Now I’m convinced that we’ll never get the jarred stuff again! (But I’ll still eat the chips and salsa at the restaurant when we eat out.)
What’s in Restaurant-Style Tomato Salsa?
It’s very straightforward: tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, garlic, cilantro (unless you’re a hater: in that case, leave it out!), S & P, ground cumin, and lime juice.
Can I make salsa with canned tomatoes?
If you’ve ever wondered this, you’ll be happy to know that the answer is a resounding YES. Often times (like in the dead of Winter) tinned tomatoes are far better quality than anything you’ll be able to find in the produce section. That means you can enjoy this salsa all year long!
About the spice level…
The first time I made my restaurant-style tomato salsa, I used one jalapeño—seeds and all. That produced a result that was far too mild for us chiliheads. But it might be just about right if you’re heat-averse. If you’re concerned, start with half of a seeded jalapeño. After all, you can always add more later—but you can’t take it out!
If you are a chilihead, I’d suggest substituting 2–3 serrano chiles for the jalapeño. For my first attempt, I added a habañero to the mix and the heat level was just about right.
Making restaurant-style tomato salsa
This might be the easiest recipe on the blog. The hardest part is getting out the food processor! All you do (summarized in the preparation collage below) is add a garlic clove and chunks of onion and jalapeño to your food processor. Close it up and pulse 3 times to coarsely chop. Open and add the cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add the canned tomatoes (if you’re using diced, add the juice too). Next, squeeze about 2 tbsp of lime juice into the food processor. Close the processor and pulse 3 more times, or until you’re happy with the consistency. Finally, check the seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!
That’s it! Wasn’t that EASY?! Beyond eating with tortilla chips, salsas are great over rice, over the protein of your choice—even served with your eggs for breakfast!
I hope you love making restaurant-style tomato salsa right in your own kitchen. If you’re looking for more salsa ideas, be sure to check out my Fiery Mango-Habañero Salsa, Salsa Verde, and Pico de Gallo.
Restaurant-Style Tomato Salsa is full of spicy, delicious flavor. Done in 5 minutes with the help of your food processor! Plus, because we use canned tomatoes, you can enjoy this salsa any time of year!
- 28 oz canned tomatoes (either crushed or diced with juices)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (stem removed and cut into a couple of rough chunks; or see Recipe Note #1)
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 1 medium sweet onion peeled and cut into rough chunks
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Add garlic, onion, and jalapeño to food processor Close and pulse 3 times to coarsely chop. Open the food processor and add the cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, canned tomatoes, and lime juice. Close the processor and pulse 3 more times, or until you're happy with the consistency. Check the seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated up to 5 days. Mix well before serving.
- If you are heat-averse, seed the chile and remove the membranes. Add half of the chile to start with (you can add more later if the salsa is too mild). If you're a chilihead, consider either adding up to an additional 2 jalapeños or substituting 2–3 serrano chiles for the jalapeño.
Related tools on Sur La Table
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