Some may call Salsa a condiment but in many parts of the world it's considered a food group!
When is National Salsa Month?
The month of May is always National Salsa Month
Are there other related Holidays? Yes!
What is Salsa Sauce?
Salsa (sauce), any of various sauces of Spanish, Italian or Latin American origin, from the Spanish or Italian word for sauce. In Spanish or Italian, salsa can refer to any type of sauce, but in American English it usually refers to the spicy, often tomato or corn based hot sauces typical of Mexican cuisine, particularly those used as dips, whereas in British English it more typically refers to Salsa Cruda which is common in Spanish or Italian cuisine.
Well Known Salsas
Salsa roja / "red sauce":
used as a condiment in Mexican and southwestern U.S. cuisine, and usually made with cooked tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic, and fresh cilantro.
See Recipe Sample below
Pico de gallo (Spanish for "rooster's beak")
is the term generally referring to a fresh condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and chiles (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lime juice (or lemon ), fresh cilantro (leaf of coriander), avocado, cucumber, or radish. In some regions of Mexico, a fruit salad tossed in lime juice and sprinkled with a salty chile powder is also known as pico de gallo, while the tomato-based condiment is better known as salsa picada, which means minced or chopped sauce, or salsa mexicana, because the colours red (tomato), white (onion), and green (chile) are the colours of the Mexican flag.
Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as Mexican salsas or Indian chutneys, but since it is less liquid, it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.
See Recipe Sample below
Salsa cruda ("raw sauce")
also known as pico de gallo ("rooster's beak"), salsa picada ("chopped sauce"), salsa mexicana ("Mexican sauce"), or salsa fresca ("fresh sauce"): made with raw tomatoes, lime juice, chilli peppers, onions, cilantro leaves, and other coarsely chopped raw ingredients.
See Recipe Sample below
Salsa verde "green sauce":
Mexican version made with tomatillos. Sauces made with tomatillos are usually cooked. Italian version made with herbs.
Traditional Salsa verde recipe below
Green sauce is the name of several different sauces containing mainly herbs, namely the Italian salsa verde, the French sauce verte, and the German Grüne Soße or Frankfurter Grie Soß (Frankfurt dialect).
Italian Salsa verde
The Italian salsa verde is a cold rustic sauce, and includes parsley, vinegar, capers, garlic, onion, anchovies, olive oil, and possibly mustard. Traditionally, ingredients were coarsely chopped by hand but now it is frequently blended into a coarse sauce using a food processor. In some regions, cubed bread is soaked in vinegar and blended with the other ingredients, which creates an emulsion somewhat similar to a vinaigrette. In other regions, there is no bread. Salsa verde is used as a condiment or dipping sauce for meats, fish, poultry, or vegetables.
One well-known salsa verde is gremolata, the usual accompaniment to ossobuco alla milanese.
Gremolata (or gremolada) is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian braised veal shank dish Ossobuco alla milanese. Typically, gremolata contains garlic, parsley and grated lemon peel.
French Sauce verde
The French sauce verte au pain was already known in the Renaissance, and was originally a bread sauce very similar to the Italian. Today, however, the term frequently refers to a kind of mayonnaise flavoured with tarragon, and sometimes parsley and sage. Lemon juice is often used instead of vinegar.
German "green sauce":
There are two traditional types of Hessian Green Sauce which are popular in the Frankfurt am Main and Kassel area. The Frankfurt-style is made from hard-boiled eggs, oil (but not olive oil), vinegar, salt, and generous amount of seven fresh herbs, namely borage, sorrel, cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet. Variants, often due to seasonal availability include dill, lovage, lemon balm and even spinach or basil. In more frugal times, daisy leaves, broad plantain leaves, and dandelion leaves were also used. Since the sauce is mainly an emulsion of fat and egg yolk, it may be classified as a kind of mayonnaise (although common mayonnaise uses raw yolks). Today, buttermilk, sour cream ("Saure Sahne" with 10 per cent fat, or "Schmand" with 24 per cent fat), quark, or yogurt is often added in order to reduce the oil content of the sauce. The green sauce typical of the city of Kassel is made with a sour cream base, and is nearly white in color.
The sauce is served with peeled boiled potatoes, accompanying either hard-boiled eggs or roasted beef brisket.
Mexican and Mexican-American salsa verde "green sauce":
Green sauces are common in Mexican and Mexican-American cuisines. The basis of the green sauce (known as salsa verde) is either tomatillos, serrano chiles, coriander leaves (also known as cilantro), or some combination of these. Salsa verde can range in spiciness from mild to mouth-searing. It may be warm, as in a chile verde, or cold, as a condiments. In Mexican-American cuisine, a green sauce is frequently used as a dip for tortilla chips and served with tacos, grilled pork, grilled meats and even fish. It is also a sauce at the Taco Bell and Del Taco restaurants.
Red Hot Reiner
also known as rad sauce, Californian red sauce made with tomatillos, asparagus, and various chilies, used primarily as a condiment served during outdoor events, including trick riding.
Salsa taquera, "Taco sauce":
Made with tomatillos and morita chili.
Salsa ranchera, "ranch-style sauce":
Made with tomatoes, various chilies, and spices. Typically served warm, it possesses a thick, soupy quality. Though it contains none, it imparts a characteristic flavor reminiscent of black pepper.
See Recipe Sample below
Salsa brava, "wild sauce":
A mildly spicy sauce, often flavored with paprika. On top of potato wedges, it makes the dish patatas bravas, typical of tapas bars in Spain.
See Recipe Sample below
usually any sauce where the main ingredient is avocado.
Mole (pronounced mole ['mo.le]):
A Mexican sauce made from chili peppers mixed with spices, unsweetened chocolate, almonds, and other ingredients.
There are many other salsas, both traditional and nouveau: for instance, some are made with mint, pineapple, or mango.
Traditional Salsa Verde Recipe
1 ½ lb tomatillos (mexican green tomatoes)
½ cup chopped white onion
½ cup cilantro leaves
2 large garlic cloves minced or pressed
1 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon sugar
3 serrano or 2 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
Salt to taste
Place tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, Jalapeño peppers, sugar in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.
Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator.
Traditional Salsa Verde goes well with grilled steak, grilled pork, tacos, fish and as a dip with chips just to name a few possibilities.
Note on tomatillos for those who are not familure
Tomatillos are a fruit popular with Mexican and Southwestern cooking. Resembling a small green tomato, tomatillos can be distinguished by they’re thin parchment paper like wrapping.
The tomatillo is also known as the husk tomato, jamberry, husk
cherry, mexican tomato, or ground cherry, although these names can also refer to other species in the Physalis genus. In Spanish it is called tomate de cáscara, tomate de fresadilla, tomate milpero, tomate verde ("green tomato"), tomatillo (Mexico [this term means "little tomato" elsewhere]), miltomate (Mexico, Guatemala), or simply tomate (in which case the tomato is called jitomate).
Even though tomatillos are sometimes called "green tomatoes", they should not be confused with green, unripe tomatoes. (Tomatoes are in the same family, but a different genus.) Other parts of the tomatillo plant also contain toxins, and should not be eaten.
The flavor hints at apple and lemon and are most often used while still firm. They can be readily found in supermarkets throughout the western United States. If not markets that specialize in Latin American foods are sure to have them. Look for firm and dry fruits with tight fitting husks.
Unless a recipe says otherwise, be sure to remove the paper like husk before cooking.
There are a variety of salsa recipe. Here are just a couple examples.
6 pounds roma (plum) tomatoes
1/4 pound roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 red onion, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/3 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Briefly place 6 pounds tomatoes into water to loosen skins and set color. Drain, peel and crush.
2. Mix chopped tomatoes, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper and cumin into the saucepan with crushed tomatoes. Whip to desired thickness. Bring to a boil. Mix in red onion, white onion, yellow onion, jalapeno peppers and cilantro. Continue boiling until vegetables are soft and mixture has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat. Refrigerate until serving.
5 roma (plum) tomatoes
3 serrano peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
salt to taste
1. Place roma (plum) tomatoes and serrano peppers in a medium saucepan over medium high heat with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Boil 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
2. Place roma tomatoes, serrano peppers, onion, cilantro and garlic in a blender or food processor. Puree about 30 seconds, or to desired consistency. Transfer to a medium serving bowl, and salt to taste.
Basic Roasted Tomato Salsa
12 roma (plum) tomatoes
2 cloves large garlic, unpeeled
1 small onion, quartered
1 jalapeno chile pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. In a medium flat baking dish, place roma (plum) tomatoes, garlic, onion and jalapeno chile pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Broil 5 to 10 minutes, or until outsides of vegetables are charred.
4. Remove vegetables from heat. Discard tomato cores, jalapeno stem.
5. In a food processor, coarsely chop the charred vegetables. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in cumin, salt, lime juice and cilantro.
Pico de gallo Fresh and Chunky!
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 fresh chile peppers, mild or hot, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine ingredients in a glass or other non-reactive bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 2 cups.
Cucumber Pico de gallo Recipe
It's easy to prepare and is great served with tortilla chips, in tacos, burritos, tostadas and even over eggs.
It's quite a universal dish. It's great served along side grilled chicken, beef or fish.
This simple tomato salsa is also low in fat and high in nutrients.
You can even adjust the heat by changing the amount of jalapeno you use.
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, no stems
1 or more jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice or more to taste
salt to taste
Slice the tomato in quarters and remove seeds and gel. Chop into small chunks.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator 30 minutes or so to let the flavors mingle.
Italian Salsa Verde for Pasta
1 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1 c. packed flat leaf Italian parsley
2 tbsp. pine nuts
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 to 1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 (1 lb.) pkg. tubular pasta (penne or ziti)
In food processor, combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Process to a fine paste. With machine running, pour 3/4 cup olive oil through feed tube in a steady stream. Stir in cheese and if sauce is too thick, add more oil until it is a spoonable consistency.
Prepare pasta as directed on package. Drain and toss with enough sauce to coat. Spoon into serving bowl; garnish with fresh basil, if desired. Spoon leftovers sauce into small bowl to serve with pasta. Serves 6-8.
Leave out the pasta and you have a great Salsa Verde dipping sauce. Use as a condiment or dipping sauce for meats, fish, poultry, bread or vegetables.
Salsa Ranchero (Ranch Style Salsa)
1 cup Pico de Gallo Salsa
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon saffron
1 teaspoon vinegar
Use the metal blade of a food processor to process all the ingredients except the tomato juice until well blended. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Thin with tomato juice if needed. Taste and adjust salt.
3 jalapeño or serrano chili peppers
1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
5 sprigs fresh cilantro
5 very ripe fresh tomatoes, cored
2 fresh tomatillos
1 teaspoon salt
½ tomato sauce
Remove the stems, seeds and veins from the chili peppers. mince chili peppers and onion together (use pulses if using a food processor). Place in a strainer. Rinse under cold water to remove the bitter milky liquid. Remove the husks from the tomatillos. chop the cilantro, tomatoes and tomatillos. Stir the onion and tomato mixtures together by hand. Add salt to taste. Stir in the tomato sauce.
Salsa Roja "red sauce"
2 garlic cloves
1 large fresh serrano chile, stemmed
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat broiler. Place tomatoes on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil or a glass baking dish. Char, turning to blacken all over, about 15 minutes. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chile, and toast, turning frequently, until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Peel garlic, then place in a blender or food processor with chile and pulse until chopped. Core tomato (blackened skin will lend a slightly smoky flavor), add to purée, and pulse until blended. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in cilantro and sugar. Season with salt.
6 Tomatoes, charred or broiled
Until skin blisters
1 medium Onion, chopped coarse
1 Dried passilla chile
¾ serrano chiles,charred
3 tablespoon cilantro
Salt to taste
Toast the passilla chile in a heavy skillet until it is softened and releases a toasty smell. DO NOT BURN. If you burn, throw it out as it will be bitter. Let cool, break into pieces and remove the stem and seeds. Place the chile pieces in a cup of boiling water and let steep for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare your tomato by removing the charred skins and squeezing out the seeds. Chop the onion . Remove the charred skin from the chiles, leaving a little skin and seeds.
Place the soaked passilla into a food processor with 2 tablespoon of water. Purée for 20-30 seconds. Next add the tomato pieces, onion pieces and serrano chiles with some seeds. Roughly purée, using off/on pulses.
Simmer the salsa in a 2 quart saucepan for 10 minutes to remove the raw flavor. Place the salsa in a bowl and allow to cool. Stir in salt to taste and cillantro.
2 cups diced mango
1/4 cup diced roasted red pepper
1/4 cup cooked black beans
2 bunches cilantro, leaves chopped
1 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve over grilled lobsters.
Mango & Cucumber Salsa Recipe
Perfect with halibut or salmon or as the salsa in fish tacos.
1 1/2 cups diced mango
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 Jalapeño chile, minced (this can be left out all together)
1 cup diced cucumber, peeled
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together
Are you still looking for salsa recipes? Check out these resources: