Restaurant style fresh salsa

My name is Lindsey and I am addicted to chips and salsa.  I don’t know why I even order an entree when we go to Mexican restaurants.  The only thing I really go for is the chips and restaurant style fresh salsa.  And if a restaurant has lame salsa, I’m probably never going back.

restaurant salsa

I started making salsa at home once I realized it was possible.  I was 18.  So a bit of a dunce, I guess.  But it was a huge hit and I haven’t stopped making it since then.  Chances are you are smarter than I was and have already been making fresh salsa at home for years and years.  Chances are you don’t really need a recipe.  But if you do?  I’ve got you covered.

fresh salsa

When it comes to the actual ingredients, you’ve got a little leeway.  You could pretty much use any tomato growing in your (or your neighbor’s) garden.  Heirlooms are my favorite kind to use because they are so sweet and flavorful.  A fun variation might be to use green heirlooms or even tomatillos, which look like green tomatoes, but aren’t.

You could use whatever chiles you like best.  For hotter salsa, add the ribs and seeds from the chiles.  For fire-engine hot salsa, use habanero peppers.  I like to use green onions or shallots in fresh salsa, but again, use what you like.  I find that the shallots or green onions are a little more tame raw than white or yellow onions.  As far as herbs go, cilantro is the darling of Mexican salsas, but you can also use fresh parsley or oregano instead or in addition to the cilantro.

restaurant style fresh salsa

Feeling like you want something fruity?  Add some diced peaches, mangoes, or pineapple.  Lastly, be sure to use plenty of salt and fresh lime juice, and add just a pinch of sugar to tame the acidity.

Then grab a big basket of chips and dive in.

restaurant fresh salsa

Restaurant Style Fresh Salsa


  • 5-6 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1 large jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed (if desired), finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh cilantro, finely chopped


  • Toss everything together in a bowl and eat with chips.


  • Add some diced mango, pineapple or peaches along with the tomatoes for a fruity salsa
  • Try using other kinds of tomatoes or tomatillos, and chiles for a different flavor
  • Add some ground chipotle chili powder for a smoky, spicy kick.
  • Change up the herbs by using parsley or oregano instead of the cilantro.

Makes about 3-4 cups of salsa.

Cafe Johnsonia  – article + photos: Lindsey Johnson of Cafe Johnsonia

I’m a leader in the Udi’s Gluten Free community and I’d love to make this recipe with corn chips to skirt the gluten issue.  Are you a corn chip eater or do you prefer tortilla?  Do tell.

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Sarah :

    Oh man, I am the exact same way. if the salsa is bad, I won’t go back. Love making fresh salsa, it is the whole reason I began gardening :)

    • Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia0 :

      ME TOO! I have a hard time getting cilantro to grow in my garden. But for the most part, it’s all about the tomatoes and peppers. For salsa. :)

  2. Stephenie Parras :

    so i laughed and laughed at my friend when she told me how she made salsa in a pinch- (please understand that we are hispanic :D.. so it really is a dip of “our” people” haha) but if you don’t have time to dice and chop together- simply take a can of rotel and add a fresh jalapeno and stick it in the blender. i add a pinch or two of garlic salt/powder. it sounds awful- but works wonders! instant salsa :D

  3. Lisa :

    The restaurant style salsa recipe from The Pioneer Woman is just that: some Rotel, canned tomatoes, fresh onion, jalepeno, onion, cilantro and a bit of lime.
    Doesn’t sound like it would be all that good but it is very tasty, especially after it’s sat in the fridge for a bit.

    I make it whenever there’s a crowd and everyone showers it with compliments.

  4. Rachel @ Bakerita :

    This looks amazing! I love that it uses fresh tomatoes instead of canned, such a better taste. I’ll definitely be trying this next time I have people over.