posted in 4th of July

Salsa Fresca

Here in Southern California, Mexican food is a pretty big deal. Restaurants of the Mexican sort are plentiful, and many of them are very inexpensive. Tortillas of every make and grind are easily available. Avocados are treasured and loved and affordable year-round. Egg burritos are a welcome breakfast item. Everyone is familiar with “Carne Asada.” The idea of a “fish taco” is not unusual or gross. And salsa rarely comes from a jar. Preparing fresh salsa couldn’t be any easier… here is my recipe for:  Salsa Fresca

“Salsa Fresca” translates to “Fresh Sauce” to top Mexican food. When I worked for a caterer for a few years back in college, we made gallons upon gallons of this stuff for too many parties to count. I could make it in my sleep.

You’ll need these simple and fresh ingredients to make your own fresh salsa.

Pile all of the ingredients in one big bowl, give it a stir, add a little sea salt to taste, and that’s it!  I prefer to make my salsa a couple of hours ahead of serving time– just to give the flavors a chance to blend together.  Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep it chilled until you’re ready to serve.

This can be served with tacos and burritos, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is to add a big spoonful on top of my scrambled eggs.  Of course the most popular way to enjoy Salsa Fresca is as an appetizer, alongside chips for dunking.  Shown here, I made my own chips using low carb flour tortillas.  I cut them into wedges, placed them on a baking sheet, sprayed them with nonstick olive oil spray and gave them a light sprinkle of cumin powder and kosher salt.  Then I baked them in the oven at 400 degrees F. until they became crisp (5 to 7 minutes).

And since I’m predicting that someone will ask, nope… it’s not spicy.  I use two medium jalapeño peppers (seeds and ribs completely removed), and my 10 year old gobbles this stuff like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t be afraid of the jalapeños, but do be careful in handling them.  The spice gets on your fingers and you need to be careful not to rub your eyes until you can successfully rid your fingers of that spicy stuff (or better yet- use plastic gloves when handling them).

Yield: 2 cups (16 servings)

Prep Time: 15 minutes + chilling time

Salsa Fresca

Such a wonderful recipe to make in the summertime when tomatoes are fresh and flavorful, this recipe is best when made several hours ahead and is given time to marinate.


  • 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded (ribs removed too) and finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • sea salt to taste


In large glass bowl, combine all ingredients and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour.


  • This is great to prepare the evening before your event and let it marinate and chill overnight.
  • Try adding corn or black beans to your salsa for a different twist.
  • This salsa will keep for several days (covered) and kept refrigerated.
  • Nutritional Information per serving (Serving size: 2 Tablespoons) Calories: 14, Fat: .88g, Saturated Fat: .12g, Sugar: .69g, Fiber: .3g, Protein: .22g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbohydrates: 1.6g
  • Weight Watchers POINTS: SmartPoints 0, Points Plus Program: 0, Old Points Program: .5

29 Responses to “Salsa Fresca”

  1. postedApr 23, 2012 5:22 AM

    I could eat this by the spoonful.

  2. postedApr 23, 2012 5:59 AM

    I love the simplicity and freshness of this salsa. This is something I’d be happy to eat by the spoonful or dollop over fish or chicken.

  3. postedApr 23, 2012 6:07 AM
    Phon (Must Eat Now)

    Oh, how I wish I lived in Cali! This salsa makes me think of sunny days, can’t wait to try it.

  4. postedApr 23, 2012 6:21 AM

    So simple and fresh! Love it!

  5. postedApr 23, 2012 7:10 AM

    This looks so delicious!

  6. postedApr 23, 2012 7:38 AM

    I made a dish the other day with fresh jalepenos and my mouth is STILL on fire. Any way to mellow them out? Does the lime juice help? This looks fab!

    • postedApr 23, 2012 10:18 AM

      It’s not spicy! The lime juice must help w/ that.

  7. postedApr 23, 2012 8:23 AM

    Fresh salsa cannot be beat. I love it!

  8. postedApr 23, 2012 8:37 AM

    I just want to dive into that bowl of tomatoes & cilantro..gorgeous!

  9. postedApr 23, 2012 8:48 AM

    Lori I could pile this on an old shoe and be pretty satisfied! 😉

  10. postedApr 23, 2012 9:34 AM
    Catalina @ Cake with Love

    I love how chunky this salsa is I hate watery salsa that can;t even stay on my chips!!

  11. postedApr 23, 2012 11:23 AM

    What a perfect salsa, Lori! This is very similar to the pico de gallo I make all the time. Lovely recipe!

  12. postedApr 23, 2012 12:08 PM

    I love salsa (although my favorite is the type that is puréed into a liquid). This looks very yummy! What would be the best way to amp up the spice if needed? I tend to like my salsas spicy.

  13. postedApr 23, 2012 12:17 PM

    i loveee salsa! thanks for the recipe!

  14. postedApr 23, 2012 2:49 PM

    Love this recipe. Salsa is a condiment and sometimes a salad for me. This one definitely falls into both!

  15. postedApr 23, 2012 9:29 PM

    Gorgeous salsa, Lori! I will most definitely take your tips and add some fresh grilled corn and beans! Yum!

  16. postedApr 24, 2012 5:36 AM

    I never had GOOD mexican food until i visited the west coast but once I did, there was no turning back. The only way I can get it here is to make it myself…and this salsa fresca is definitely happening!

  17. postedApr 24, 2012 7:26 AM

    We always have some type of fresh salsa in the refrigerator. I can’t live without chile — the spicier the better! Your photos are beautiful. A simple fresh salsa like this is prefecto for warm weather and the main reason I garden. I call it my salsa garden 😉

  18. postedApr 24, 2012 8:25 AM

    This looks wonderful! I just love cfood and the fresca looks amazing!!

  19. postedApr 24, 2012 9:32 AM

    I love salsa. This looks perfect for the tomatoes that I am growing. I love this for chips, or just on top of a piece of grilled chicken. Great recipe!

  20. postedApr 24, 2012 10:49 AM

    Always nice to get a nice, simple salsa recipe. This one looks fantastic. LOVE the pictures!

  21. postedApr 24, 2012 6:07 PM

    salsa freca… beautiful juicy chunks of tomatoes, mixed with lots of fresh cilantro and garlic… just how i like my salsa 🙂 i used to work at a mexican restaurant and would sometimes eat the salsa fresca with a spoon… that’s not weird right?! 😉

  22. postedApr 24, 2012 8:26 PM

    I was happy to see this post! I just finished making fresh guacamole for my hubby’s lunch tomorrow. He’s grilling some fish to make fish tacos! Thank you for this recipe. 🙂

  23. postedMay 17, 2012 4:27 PM

    this is my absolute favorite version of salsa. I’ll can eat a bowl of this with tortilla chips every single day!

  24. postedMay 22, 2012 11:02 AM

    Add some cucumber to it, nice tasting!

  25. postedAug 27, 2012 3:42 PM

    I found this recipe on “Pinterest” and wanted to let you know how much I enjoy it. It is simple to make and doesn’t seem to last long in my house! Thank you for the great recipe.

  26. postedJan 31, 2013 10:20 AM

    Great recipe! Just what I was looking for. Add fresh, fire-roasted chilies for extra yumminess.

  27. postedMar 4, 2015 9:13 PM
    Carmen Hamilton

    I have never seen a pico recipe using olive oil…. does it solidify in the fridge? 

    • postedMar 5, 2015 7:09 AM

      I don’t think so.

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