Restaurant Style Salsa

With just a few ingredients and 10 minutes, you can make own Restaurant Style Salsa! Just add some warm tortilla chips and you’ll feel like you’ve just walked into your very own Taqueria!

Restaurant style salsa in a white bowl, with tortilla chips, on a sheet tray.

What is Restaurant Style Salsa?

I am all about a good fresh tomato salsa, also called pico de gallo, salsa cruda, or salsa fresca, but other times, I want something smooth, easy to spoon into a taco, scoop with a tortilla chip, or drizzle over eggs. I want a Restaurant Style Salsa.

You know the one. You go into your favorite taqueria or Mexican restaurant, and they bring you a basket of warm tortilla chips and a bowl of tangy, chip-scoopable salsa. Y’know? That one. It has all the usual suspects, tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, cilantro, and lime, blended up into a smooth salsa, perfectly paired with just about anything!

Ingredients in salsa

None of the ingredients have to be finely chopped or overly-prepped in any way. You can just toss your canned tomatoes straight into your food processor, rough chop and add the onions and the jalapeños, and add in the cilantro as is.

  • Fire roasted tomatoes Why use regular canned tomatoes when you can use tomatoes that have been charred just a bit, giving them a delightful smoky edge? Why indeed. If you can’t find them, you can use regular canned, diced tomatoes for a still deee-licious salsa.
  • Jalapeños I like to use 2 jalapeños, with all the seeds and the inner membranes, but I was raised on spicy food. If you are sensitive to spice, you can scrape out the seeds and the white ribs (membranes) on the inside of your peppers. You also can use less jalapeños or none at all. No salsa judgement.
  • Onion Traditional salsas use white onion, but feel free to use red onion if that’s what you have.
  • Cilantro Some people have a natural aversion to cilantro. Science Corner🔬: some people’s noses can really sniff out the aldehyde compounds in cilantro, making the herb taste like a mouthful of Ivory Soap. (I’m a nerd.) If that sounds like you, you can substitute parsley for the cilantro. If you love cilantro, let your herb flag fly! Add 1-2 handfuls, or 1/2-1 cup.
  • Sugar 1/2 tsp doesn’t sound like much, but tomatoes can be very acidic, and this small amount of sugar is enough to counteract that bitter acidity without bringing any sweetness to your salsa
  • Lime Yes, we just (barely) neutralized the acidity in the tomatoes, and now we are adding more acidity with lime. It’s a different brightly acidic note that really makes your salsa sing! Cha cha cha.

How to make Restaurant Style Salsa

Try to keep up:

  • Add all ingredients to the bowl of your food processor or blender. (I prefer a food processor, but if you don’t have one, feel free to use your blender, but be careful! We’re making a textured salsa, not gazpacho. Don’t let your blender run wild!)
Ingredients for restaurant style salsa in a food processor.
  • Pulse until smooth.
Restaurant style salsa in a food processor.
  • Transfer salsa to an airtight food storage container and let the flavors hang out together for at least one hour. Eat the salsa. Whew! I’m exhausted. How ’bout you?
Restaurant style salsa in a white bowl, with tortilla chips, on a sheet tray.

What does this salsa go with?

Besides tortilla chips? A shorter list might be, what doesn’t it go with, but here are a couple ideas:

  • Crunchy ground beef tacos
Crunchy tacos with restaurant style salsa on a sheet tray.
  • Carne asada tacos. Okay, all the tacos.
Carne asada tacos with restaurant style salsa and pinto beans on a black plate.

Looking for more Latin inspired flavors?

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Restaurant style salsa in a white bowl, with tortilla chips, on a sheet tray.

Restaurant Style Salsa

With just a few ingredients and 10 minutes, you can have make own Restaurant Style Salsa! Just add some warm tortilla chips and you’ll feel like you’ve just walked into your own Taqueria!
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Course: Side Dish, Spice blend or condiments
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 14 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes including juice
  • 1 small white onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 – 2 fresh jalapeño peppers seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 – 2 handfuls cilantro ½-1 cup
  • Juice of a lime

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to food processor or blender. Pulse a few times to break up the large pieces, then process until texture is as smooth as desired.
  • Taste the salsa and adjust salt and/or sugar as needed.
  • Transfer to airtight food storage container and let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour for best flavor.
  • Serve with tortilla chips or anything your mouth desires, and enjoy!

Notes

If you can’t find fire roasted tomatoes, you can substitute with two 14 oz cans or one 28 ounce can of regular diced tomatoes.
Salsa will last up to five days when stored in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator.
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