Forget ketchup and mustard. Salsa is the one condiment you should always have in your fridge. Chopped or blended, fresh or jarred, the do-everything sauce requires no oil, sugar, preservatives, or processed ingredients to taste absolutely delicious. And it’s not just for dipping: Add it to burritos and wraps, stir it into breakfast scrambles, use it as a burger topping, heap it onto a baked potato—the possibilities are endless. Read on for salsa recipes and tips.

Easy Salsa Recipes

Sweet, spicy, savory, or all of the above, these salsa recipes offer a spectrum of fresh flavors and come together in just a few minutes. 

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Perfect pico de gallo

Perfect Pico de Gallo 

Stir together 2 cups diced tomatoes, ½ cup chopped white onion, ½ cup chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño chile, and 1 tablespoon lime juice.

Cherry Tomato-Chipotle 

In a food processor, pulse 4 green onions, ¼ cup cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons lime juice, ½ chipotle chile in adobo sauce (drained) until finely chopped. Add 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes, and pulse until chunky. 

Pineapple-Pepper 

Stir together 1½ cups finely diced pineapple, ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper, ½ cup finely diced white or yellow onion, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and a few drops of hot sauce.

Mango-Cucumber

Combine 1 cup chopped fresh or thawed frozen mango, 1 cup chopped cucumber, 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño chile, ¼ cup chopped red or white onion, 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, and 1 tablespoon lime juice.

Carrot-Ancho Chile 

Stir together 2 cups grated carrots, ½ cup diced red onion, 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder.

Apple-Poblano 

Stir together 2 cups grated or finely diced tart apples, ½ cup chopped poblano chile, ½ cup chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and hot sauce to taste.

How to Make Salsa Verde

Salsa verde, or green salsa, is a smooth, zesty, cooked salsa made with tomatillos and green chiles. (You can substitute green tomatoes in a pinch.) To make 2 cups of salsa verde: Place 8 husked, tomatillos in a saucepan with 1 seeded, stemmed serrano or jalapeño chile, 1 clove of garlic, and ½ of a small onion; add just enough water to cover the ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tomatillos and onion are soft. Transfer the vegetables to a blender with a slotted spoon, and blend with ¼ cup cilantro leaves and 1 tablespoon lime juice, adding some of the cooking water if necessary to obtain the desired consistency. Cool before serving. 

Freestyle Salsa Recipe

Get creative! You don’t have to follow a specific recipe to make delicious salsa. Use this master recipe to whip up salsa with whatever you have on hand or whatever produce looks best at the store right now. 

Ingredients

2 cups chopped fruits/veggies (such as tomato, cucumber, corn, radish, jicama, peach, mango, pineapple, or watermelon)
½ cup chopped onion (any color)
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (such as cilantro, mint, parsley, or basil)
1–2 tablespoons acid (such as lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, or vinegar)
1 seeded and chopped fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper, 1 tsp. dried chile powder, or a few drops hot sauce

Instructions

Stir together all ingredients; add salt to taste. Let stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours to allow flavors to develop. 

Salsa Too Spicy? Here’s How To Fix It

The easiest way to dial back a salsa’s heat is by adding some chopped tomato, cucumber, jicama, avocado, or fruit to dilute the fiery chile concentration. You can also stir in a little applesauce or fruit purée, which will simultaneously dilute the salsa and tame the heat with its sweetness. And sometimes all a spicy salsa needs is an extra squeeze of lime juice to balance the flavors.

Salsa Too Watery? Here’s How To Fix It

For chunky salsas, grab your strainer and drain off excess liquid. Smooth, blended salsas can be thickened by adding a tablespoon or two of fine breadcrumbs to absorb excess moisture. 

How Long Will Salsa Keep in the Fridge?

When refrigerated, homemade salsa will stay fresh for three to five days. The telltale sign that a fresh salsa has begun to go bad is small bubbles on the surface or a fizzy, sour flavor that develops when the ingredients start to ferment. Because jarred salsas have been cooked, most types will keep for up to a month in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Jarred salsa, like cooked tomato sauce, also freezes well.

When buying fresh salsa from the refrigerated case, double-check the expiration date and give the tub a shake to make sure it looks truly fresh and vegetables haven’t released too much liquid. 

More Salsa Recipes from Forks Over Knives

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