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This refreshing Mexican salsa recipe is just what you need for barbecues or game nights. It is savory, with a touch of sweetness from the ripe tomatoes, and full of flavors with jalapeño, lime, cilantro, and cumin. This naturally vegan and vibrant dish is super easy to make, ready in under 15 minutes, and perfect served with tortilla chips and a chilled glass of Pinot Gris!

salsa fresca in a bowl with tortilla chips and a glass of wine on the side

What is Salsa Fresca?

Salsa fresca is a type of Mexican salsa made with fresh, uncooked ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeño peppers, and lime juice. It has a tangy and slightly spicy flavor and is commonly used as a dip for tortilla chips and as a topping for tacos and burritos.

Why you should try this recipe

  • Easy and super quick to make – toss the ingredients in a food processor, blitz everything up, drain the excess juice, and you’re done! You can serve this salsa as an appetizer alongside my Mediterranean Vegan White Bean Artichoke Dip, Roasted Beet And Lemon Dip, or Muhammara with Fresh Pomegranate for a festival of colors and flavors!
  • Vegan and gluten-free – naturally vegan and gluten-free, this salsa provides a vibrant, delicious option for all your guests, whatever dietary restrictions they might have.
  •  Super fresh appetizer or snack for game nights or barbecues – tangy, and fresh, it brings freshness to any barbecue item (I love it with grilled halloumi).
tomatoes, red onion, jalapeño, lime, cilantro, ground cumin and salt ona wooden board

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The ingredients you’ll need

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card at the end of the post.)

  • Ripe tomatoes – I love using Roma tomatoes for their bold flavor and sweetness.
  • Jalapeño (used seedless) – a mild, large green pepper that brings a subtle spiciness as well as mild bell pepper notes. You can add the seeds if you like heat!
  • Lime juice – a staple of Mexican cuisine, adds tang and freshness to the salsa.
  • Fresh cilantro – complements the tomatoes, jalapeño, and onion thanks to its fresh and citrusy flavor.
  • Red onion – for a bright, peppery touch that elevates the salsa.
  • Garlic (grated or crushed) adds depth and binds the elements of the salsa together.
  • Ground cumin – brings out the flavors of the salsa thanks to its earthiness.
  • Kosher salt – to season.
three jalapeños on a wooden board

How to make Salsa Fresca?

(Note: please see the recipe card below for the complete written instructions and measurements.)

Start by preparing the vegetables:

  • Peel and roughly chop the red onion.
  • Thoroughly rinse and roughly chop the tomatoes into quarters.

  • Thoroughly rinse the jalapeño. Then, remove the top, cut in half, and remove the seeds and white parts (they can sometimes bring bitterness).
  • Roughly cut into chunks.

Mix the salsa:

  • Add the chopped tomatoes, onion, and jalapeños to the bowl of a food processor, along with grated garlic, fresh cilantro, lime juice, ground cumin, and kosher salt.
  • Pulse a couple of times until roughly combined and chunky.

  • Transfer the mixture to a fine mesh strainer and stir with a spatula to help drain the liquid.
  • Keep draining the liquid until your salsa reaches the desired consistency.

Tip: I recommend drinking the tomato juice right away, this is delicious and a perfect chef’s treat!


  • It’s ready! Serve with tortilla chips and a chilled glass of Pinot Gris.
salsa fresca in a bowl with a spoon and fresh cilantro on top

Nim Keys – Useful Tips

  1. Choose ripe tomatoes – for the best flavor and to avoid a mealy texture.
  2. Draining the excess juice from the pulsed mixture is important to get the perfect, not-too-wet salsa texture.
  3. Adjusting the heat – this salsa is on the milder side. If you like it spicy, add the jalapeño seeds (this is where most of the heat is).

a hand dipping a tortilla chip in a bowl of salsa fresca

Wine Pairing for Salsa Fresca🍷


PINOT GRIS

This grape variety, also called Pinot Grigio in Italy, or Grauburgunder in Germany produces wines that are bold with flavors. They usually display aromas of lime, lemon, pear, white nectarine and apple.

The crispiness of Pinot Gris will complement the acidity of tomatoes, lime, and garlic while providing a beautiful contrast to the vegetal notes of jalapeño and cilantro.

Pinot Gris wines can be made in a wide range of sweetness levels from bone dry to sweet. To pair with this recipe, I recommend a dry Pinot Gris.

WINE APPELLATION SUGGESTIONS

  • Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley (Oregon, United States)
  • Pinot Grigio from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia (Italy)
  • Grauburgunder from Pfalz (Germany)

salsa fresca in a bowl with a spoon and fresh cilantro on top

FAQ

What to serve with Salsa Fresca?

The most common way to serve this salsa is with tortilla chips. However, Salsa Fresca is also a delicious accompaniment for eggs (fried, scrambled, or omelet) or grilled halloumi.

Can this be made in advance?

Yes! It is a make-ahead-friendly recipe. Follow the recipe as written, then store in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to serve!


How long does it keep? 

You can store this Salsa Fresca in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container.

Other Delicious Appetizers Recipes


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salsa fresca in a bowl with tortilla chips and a glass of wine on the side

Salsa Fresca (Mexican Fresh Tomato Salsa)

This refreshing salsa recipe is just what you need for barbecues or game nights. It is savory, with a touch of sweetness from the ripe tomatoes, and full of flavors with jalapeño, lime, cilantro, and cumin. This naturally vegan and vibrant dish is super easy to make, ready in under 15 minutes, and perfect served with tortilla chips and a chilled glass of Pinot Gris!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican
Diet Vegan
Servings 4

EQUIPEMENT

  • Lemon Squeezer
  • Food Processor
  • Fine Mesh Strainer

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 1 pound (450 g) ripe tomatoes (I used Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • .5 red onion peeled
  • 1 medium clove garlic grated
  • ½ cup (10 g) fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ limes, juiced about 3 tablespoons of lime juice, you can add the juice of 2 limes if you like things extra tangy
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Start by preparing the vegetables:

  • Thoroughly rinse the tomatoes and jalapeño. 
  • Roughly chop the onion and tomatoes into quarters.
  • Remove the seeds and roughly chop the jalapeño (see step-by-step photos above in the post).

Make the salsa :

  • Add the tomatoes, red onion, and jalapeños to the bowl of a food processor, along with grated garlic, roughly chopped cilantro, lime juice, ground cumin, and kosher salt.
  • Pulse a couple of times until roughly combined and chunky.
  • Transfer the mixture to a fine mesh strainer and stir with a spatula to help drain the liquid. Keep draining the liquid until your salsa reaches the desired consistency.
  • It's ready! Serve with tortilla chips and a chilled glass of Pinot Gris. 

NIM KEYS - USEFUL TIPS

  1. Choose ripe tomatoes - for the best flavor and to avoid a mealy texture.
  2. Draining the excess juice is important to get the perfect, not-too-wet salsa texture. I like mine when there is still some juice running through the salsa but adjust according to taste. (Also, I recommend drinking the tomato juice right away, this is delicious and a perfect chef's treat!).
  3. Adjusting the heat - this salsa is on the milder side. If you like it spicy, add the jalapeño seeds (this is where most of the heat is).

NUTRITION

Calories: 32kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 589mgPotassium: 326mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1125IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword fresh tomato salsa, Mexican salsa, pico de galo, salsa fresca, tomato salsa
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The balance between the acidity and the spices was perfect. I love cilantro so I added a little more and it was perfect! Very refreshing!

  2. Sorry. I fail to see how this recipe is anything more than a thousand other recipes with the same ingredients. I’ve done essentially the same thing for four decades.

    1. Hi Skyy! Thank you for reaching out. Sorry we couldn’t meet your expectations. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help. I hope you find what you are looking for 🙂