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How to make classic homemade salsa

A simple homemade salsa which zings with fresh flavours and can be used as a dip or to perk up so many dishes. Only 27 calories per portion.

Bowl of classic homemade salsa

Classic Salsa

A classic salsa is a simple side or dip, but it may be something you've never made at home before.

It's hard to explain how much the flavours in a fresh tomato salsa zing compared to the ones you buy in a supermarket, which can be good but are often overwhelmed with a tomato sauce or a really sugary flavour.

Salsa should zing with the fresh flavours of tomatoes, red onion and garlic, a tang from the lime and a subtle hint or a real hit of heat from chilli, depending on how you like it.

cherry tomatoes

Good quality tomatoes

To make a good salsa with lots of flavour you need ripe, good quality tomatoes. Like many other recipes, the better the ingredients, the better the final dish.

With something like a stew or soup you can get away with using cheap ingredients that may not be the best quality, but for a fresh dish like salsa, you really want to buy the best tomatoes. It will really improve the flavour.

You can use little cherry tomatoes or larger salad tomatoes to a make salsa, just make sure they are ripe and full of flavour.

Tomatoes are the one thing I don't mind paying more to buy organic as the difference in flavour can be amazing.

Ever been passed a warm, ripe tomato straight from a greenhouse vine? If you have, you know the flavour that I'm talking about.

Tomato tip

Tomatoes can lose a lot of flavour if they're kept in the fridge.

Salad tomatoes and beef tomatoes or any larger style tomato are best kept in a bowl on your kitchen windowsill, where they'll continue to ripen and develop a fuller, richer flavour.

Small tomatoes like cherry tomatoes are best kept in the fridge as they have a shorter shelf life and are likely to go mouldy quite quickly if they're left out in a bowl. 

To get the best flavour from cherry tomatoes and other mini varieties, keep them in the fridge, then bring them out ahead of eating them to let them lose the chill and come to room temperature

close up of classic homemade salsa

How to serve salsa

Salsa makes a fabulous dip for nachos, but there's so much more you can do with it.

  1. Top bean burgers
  2. Top hot dogs
  3. Use as a dip for potato wedges
  4. Serve on bruschetta
  5. Serve over grated cheese (veggie or vegan) in a baked potato
  6. Mix with plain yoghurt (veggie or vegan) and use as a baked potato filling
  7. Serve in a grilled cheese sandwich
  8. Bake a pepper with a savoury rice mix, then load with salsa before serving
  9. Serve in a taco bowl - cooked rice topped with beans or chilli, then topped with salsa and slices of ripe avocado
  10. Sprinkle over tomato soup before serving instead of croutons
  11. Spoon over quesadillas and enchiladas before serving
  12. Top spaghetti bolognese with a generous heap of salsa instead of cheese
  13. Mix it through freshly made couscous or bulgur wheat for a tasty lunch
  14. Serve in a wrap with salad and grated cheese or cream cheese
  15. Top veggie chilli with salsa for a fresh finish

The Mexican Hot Dog - vegetarian hot dog served topped with fresh salsa, corn & coriander, beside a bowl of nachos and a glass of water with a slice of fresh lime in the rim

M&S Meat-Free BBQ

The Mexican Hot Dog

I recently created some recipes for the Marks and Spence lifestyle pages in a post about hosting a meat-free barbecue.

I created tandoori potatoes, pizza stuffed mushrooms, which you will have seen on my blog this week and a selection of three pimped hot dogs. The Mexican Dog, the Chipotle & Blue Cheese Dog and the New York Deli Dog. They are all vegetarian and can be easily made vegan (except for the blue cheese, skip that).

For the Mexican Dog, I spread hot hot buns with mayo (you can use my recipe for vegan mayo), topped them with a veggie sausage, them piled them high with fresh salsa a sprinkling of sweetcorn and finished them off with some crumbled feta (Violife do a good vegan version of Greek cheese) and some sprigs of fresh coriander. 

So, so good. I urge you to try these. Making your own salsa first of course.



homemade salsa in a white bowl

Low calorie dip

You can add a glug of olive oil to your salsa for a more luxurious feel, but I decided to cut down on the calories and fat and keep it fresh, letting the flavours sing.

One portion (a quarter of this recipe) has just 27 calories and no saturated fat, so it is perfect if you are watching your weight as I am or if you are following a calorie controlled diet like the 5:2 diet.

For more 5:2 diet or lower calorie ideas and recipes, check out my 5:2 diet page which also contains information on the updated 5:2 diet which allows more calories than the original diet.

Also follow my Pinterest board 5:2 Diet - Veggie & Vegan.
calorie and nutrition in classic homemade salsa - 27 calorie per portion, 4 servings in recipe

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How to make classic homemade salsa with nutrition and calories, a free printable recipe and 15 awesome ideas for serving salsa. #salsa #salsarecipe #classicsalsa #homemadesalsa #dip #vegandip #diprecipe #salad #tomatoes #redonion #coriander #cilantro #glutenfree #paleo

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Yield: 4
classic homemade salsa

Homemade classic salsa

A simple homemade salsa which zings with fresh flavours and can be used as a dip or to perk up so many dishes.
prep time: 7 minscook time: total time: 7 mins


  • 3 large ripe salad tomatoes
  • ½ large red onion
  • ½ green chilli (more if you would like it hotter)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of half a large lime or 1 small lime
  • A handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • A pinch of salt


  1.         Cut the tomatoes in half. Scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard, then chop the tomatoes finely and place in a large bowl. 
  2.       Finely chop the red onion, chilli and fresh coriander and add to the bowl.       
  3.      Crush the garlic and add it to the other ingredients with the lime juice and salt, then mix well.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
  5. Enjoy!
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Created using The Recipes Generator


Mexican Sweet Potato and Puy Lentil Mole

Mexican Sweet Potato and Puy Lentil Mole

If you like my fresh homemade salsa, you may also like another of my Mexican dishes. My Mexican Sweet Potato and Puy Lentil Mole. A Mexican style chilli made with sweet potatoes, carrots, puy lentils and a rich sauce deepened with dark chocolate.


  1. Oh my goodness!! That salsa looks so fresh and tasty. I would love to dig in with some tortilla chips. I've never made salsa at home. I should give this a try.

    1. Thanks and yes it would be good with tortilla chips. You should definitely try making your own.

  2. I totally agree! Fresh salsa is really worth making, it tastes so good.

    1. Yes it's so different and so much fresher than shop bought, it tastes great!

  3. This salsa looks so delicious and fresh. Love your tips about storing different types of tomatoes too! :)

  4. Fresh salsa is so much different - and better - than the stuff in jars! Mind you, tinned tomatoes (LOL) can be valuable - but this is definitely one place to use the best fresh ones!

    1. Haha yes to the tinned tomatoes of course and yes fresh is best for salsa.

  5. I love home made salsa - it's certainly versatile!

  6. I love making homemade salsa, it really is so much better than bought. Love your tips for storing tomatoes and using salsa in more unusual ways.

    1. I hope the tips were helpful Caroline, thanks for leaving a comment.

  7. I've never made salsa before, but now I see how easy it is I really must. Thanks for the recipe.


    1. No problem, I hope you try it and enjoy it Jill and it's nice to hear from you again.

  8. I'm a firm believer that once you start making fresh salsa you will never go back to store bought again its just not even a close run competition! Your version looks delicious. I put salsa pn everything and anything so am always looking for slight variations!

  9. Salsa never disappoints me, especially when I use it with bruschetta. That is the best! 😊


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x