We used to eat a lot of salsa. We love our salsa. Organic salsa is outrageously expensive so we just do without except for rare occasions, a great hardship for this Tex-Mex loving family. Just put salsa on it and wrap it in a tortilla and it is Tex-Mex, right? So after doing without for months and months, and it being the middle of winter and no locally grown fresh tomatoes available it occurred to me that I could make this stuff from canned tomatoes. Yes, I use canned organic tomato products. I buy organic and make healthy food with them. I cannot afford those sold in glass jars and I cannot grow tomatoes in the winter so we use canned organic tomato products mainly tomato paste for soups, sauces, and whenever a little tomato flavor is called for.
The first time I attempted my homemade salsa I was flying by the seat of my pants. I had canned whole tomatoes with basil in my pantry. Not exactly what I wanted to start with but it was what I had. And my motto for life right now is to “Make Do”. I poured the entire can into a glass mixing bowl and then began the process of cutting each tomato into small chunks. There were seeds, there was a lot of liquid, and there were tomatoes. They would do.
Next, I added an entire yellow onion. I admit that it was actually too much onion but I continued. Chopped orange bell pepper, a few remaining chopped pieces of jalapeno, pinch of dried cilantro, fermented garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and then finally chopped dried ancho chiles. A little taste and it wasn’t terribly exciting. My 12 year old son is the salsa master around here: this means that he can eat an entire jar of salsa in two days. I had him taste. He announced, “I guess you don’t know how to make salsa.” I was hurt, I must admit. But I knew that he was probably right.
I then researched several salsa recipes, read the ingredients and decided to add some cayenne pepper. Well, that did the job. If the salsa isn’t really hot my son doesn’t consider it good salsa. This salsa was now hot. And not too bad. It was very watery, though. We ate every drop of that salsa over a period of 3-4 days. I ate most of it myself because it tasted like summer. It tasted like fresh salsa made from fresh tomatoes (or what I imagined it would taste like since I’ve never made salsa in my life before this).
Last night I wanted a chicken and black bean tostada for dinner. It screamed for salsa. It needed salsa. We had no salsa. On my last trip to the grocery store I deliberately shopped for canned organic tomatoes for the purpose of making another batch of salsa. I chose diced tomatoes with no herbs or flavorings added. I poured the tomatoes into my glass mixing bowl and before continuing on took my hand blender to the tomatoes, randomly in different spots so that just a little bit of the tomatoes were pureed. I left 60% chunks because I like chunky salsa. My 19 year old son actually hand blends his salsa in a canning jar before eating it because he doesn’t like any chunks. I was hoping this would help with the watery issue we had with the last batch. Here is how I made my second batch of salsa:
- 1 28oz can Organic Diced Tomatoes
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1 chopped green, red, yellow or orange bell pepper
- chopped jalapeno (optional – use plastic gloves and do not touch your skin with juices)
- 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
- Freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice (optional)
- 1/4 cup frozen organic corn (optional)
- 3/4 cup cooked organic black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
- dried Ancho chile, chopped – add as much or as little as you like OR
- red pepper flakes
- 1-2 tsp fresh or dried parsley OR
- 1/4 tsp fresh or dried cilantro — add more or less according to your own taste
- 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (crushed red pepper)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Putting It All Together
Pour canned tomatoes in large glass mixing bowl and hand blend lightly (pulse) to puree some of the tomatoes (makes a slightly thicker salsa). Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, corn, black beans, jalapeno, herbs and sea salt. Chop ancho chiles (I placed mine in a plastic bag and crushed them because they were so brittle) and add to salsa. Stir and taste. Add cayenne pepper to taste but take into consideration that those ancho chiles will rehydrate and add some heat to the salsa overnight.
You can substitute anything you like in this recipe. I don’t typically like corn but this was delicious. And the black beans were heavenly. I have definitely found my favorite salsa recipe.
- Chips and salsa — buy only organic tortilla chips to avoid GMO corn
- Spoon salsa on scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese or an omelette
- Add to egg and sausage breakfast casserole
- Tacos, burritos, burgers, sandwich wraps
- Small container of salsa and tortilla chips in school lunches
- Add to just about anything for some flavor and zing, and even more nutrition