Take your Cinco de Mayo celebration to the next level this weekend with an assortment of homemade salsas! Fresh salsas are infinitely more flavorful than their store-bought counterparts, and you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily they come together.
Start with our classic pico de gallo salsa below, then go beyond the basics with original recipes from Mijita Cocina Mexicana Chef Traci Des Jardins (and throw in some crowd-pleasing guacamole, while you’re at it). Traci swears that once you start making your own salsas, you’ll never go back. Let the fiesta begin!
Pico de Gallo Salsa
The ingredients in this salsa are chopped by hand, not blended, resulting in a chunky texture that highlights the fresh veggies.
2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1/4 white onion, seeded and finely diced
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, minced with its seeds
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh lime juice
In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, chile, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt, fresh lime juice and stir to mix well. Add lime juice and more salt to taste, if needed. Serve right away, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature and taste and adjust the seasoning before serving. Makes about 3/4 cup (4 1/2 oz./140 g.).
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Tomatillos have a bright, tart flavor that works particularly well in this fresh salsa — and it’s nice to throw a green salsa in the mix for variety.
3 lb. tomatillos, husks removed
1 small white onion, peeled and sliced
1 serrano chili, stem removed
Salt, to taste
1 bunch fresh cilantro, thoroughly washed, 2 inches of stem removed
Rinse the tomatillos in warm water to remove the sticky residue on them.
Place the tomatillos in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Add the onion and serrano chili and blend until smooth. Season with a good amount of salt, add the cilantro and blend until smooth. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Serves 12.
Salsa de Arbol
Charring tomatoes, tomatillos and onions adds an extra layer of flavor to this smoky salsa.
1/2 white onion, peeled and cut in half
1/2 lb. tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 lb. roma tomatoes
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 to 6 arbol chilies, depending on desired spiciness
2 garlic cloves
Salt, to taste
Coarsely slice the onion half. Rinse the tomatillos in warm water to remove the sticky residue on them.
Place a grill pan on the stove and char the tomatoes, tomatillos and onion. Set aside.
Put the oil in a saucepan and toast the chilies quickly, being careful not to scorch them, about 30 seconds. Remove the chilies from the pan. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until lightly brown. Add the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, chilies and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt. Serves 12.