Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Restaurant Style Salsa

A reader asked me to try my hand at restaurant style salsa.  She had tried a variety of recipes, but just didn’t like the results that much.  I’ve made plenty of fresh summer salsa, but this one was new for me.  When I went online to look at some recipes, I was shocked at how many recipes there were, and how different from one another they were!  I made a few decisions off the bat: 
1.       I was not going to use Ro-Tel tomatoes for the simple reason that I’m not familiar enough with them. 
2.       I was going to have a lot of lime in mine; lime juice makes Mexican food pop and shine!  Look for limes that feel a little soft and have thinner skin, they’re the juiciest.
3.       I would use as little canned products as possible.  I figure that’s how they do it in the restaurants, right?

You will need

1 smaller onion, roughly chopped ($.25)

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes ($2.29)

½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped ($1.99 per bunch, $1.99/2 = $.99)

Juice of 2 limes ($.50)

2 jalapenos, deseeded and roughly chopped ($.47)

½ tsp salt ($.47 per 26 oz, $.47/ 30.69 tsp = $.02 x .5tsp = $.01)

Just about everything except the cilantro ready to go.

Toss everything into a food processor or blender and blend till you like the way it looks.  I like mine really smooth.  Stick it in the fridge so the flavors will settle for at least an hour.  To really kick this up to restaurant level, serve the salsa with some homemade chips!

A few notes: I’m not much for spicy things, so I deseeded my peppers right over the compost.  This was probably a mistake, because it came out really mild.  Leave some seeds in there for an added kick.  Also, I fully intended to add garlic to this recipe, but I didn’t have any.  Feel free to add a couple cloves. 

How was it?  It was good.  It was not as good as my local Mexican restaurant makes, but good.  There is no way that I will be able to finish all this, so I’m going to freeze most of it.   

Try It

$4.51 for about 5 cups, or $.11/oz

Buy It

This is a little tricky, because I’ve never bought restaurant salsa, I’ve only ever enjoyed it with the complimentary chips.  If I buy salsa, I generally buy Pace.  Even though it’s not a fair comparison, I’ll use Pace since it’s what I would have bought.  $3.99 for 24 oz, or $.17/oz.


If I had a party coming up, or if you just use a lot of salsa in your everyday life, I’d Try It.  This recipe is so versatile- fix it up to suit your taste- more spice, chipotle peppers, or even some peaches!  Go nuts!


  1. Or ... you can share it with your friends. We're salsa whores in this house; this looks quick and easy and I just may have to try it. Soon.

  2. Ha! I'll set some aside before I freeze it.

  3. If you live in Charlottesville, you can buy salsa at Guadalajara- they will scoop it into a soda cup for you (16 oz). We used to get 2 soda-cups of salsa and chips for about $12. HOWEVER, we haven't done that in a while because sometimes the salsa was... not so fresh.

    Now I'm trying to reproduce the salsa myself, so I can't wait to try this! Thanks!

  4. also, after making salsa, its easy to throw together guacamole - just mash up avocados, and spoon some of the salsa into it... its delicious!