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Joel’s Simple Homemade Salsa Recipe

378755_cilantro_-_making_salsaAll right. This is completely off topic, but since today is Cinco de Mayo and since I have lived on the Texas-Mexico border for about five years now, I felt like it was an appropriate time to share with you this incredible salsa recipe that I learned after I moved here.

The coolest thing about it is that it is all fresh and natural ingredients. At least they are simple to find for me living here on the border. You may have to shop around for a few of them, but it’s so worth it!


  • Tomatoes (about 4 small)
    I usually use one can of stewed whole tomatoes, but you can go with fresh ones as well
  • Onion (about 1/2 or more)
  • Garlic (1 clove)
  • Lime
  • Serrano peppers (1)
    You could substitute jalapeños and you can use as many as you like, but I use 1 to give it a little bit of a kick, but still have a ton of flavor
  • Cilantro (as much as you can find)
  • Olive oil



When I buy the groceries, I use the Mexican flag as a reference. Do I have 1 red, 2 white, and 3 green ingredients? If so, I’m good to go!

Making the salsa
It could be as simple as putting all of the ingredients in the blender and going to town or just chopping them up and making a pico de gallo. I prefer to heat them some. Here’s how I do it.

  1. Dice the onion, and sautee it with olive oil
  2. Chop up the clove of garlic and add to the skillet with the onions
  3. Cut the serrano pepper(s) in half, and add to the skillet face down
  4. Cook until you see some browning of the mixture
  5. Put tomatoes, cilantro, and skillet mix into blender
  6. Cut lime in half, and squeeze lime juice into salsa mix
  7. Blend to desired consistency, stirring some as you go
    I prefer thicker salsa, so I don’t like to let the blender just run, but do what works for you

Add tortilla chips, huevos rancheros, or whatever other Mexican fun you’d like, and you’re done!

Cilantro is the key ingredient as far as the flavor goes. I know most standard grocery stores that aren’t on the border don’t sell it. The picture at the top of this article shows you what cilantro looks like. You may be able to find it at Whole Foods or Central Market or some of the more upscale grocery stores. It just won’t taste the same without it, but even without, it is a good and healthy salsa. Arriba!

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

3 thoughts on “Joel’s Simple Homemade Salsa Recipe

  1. In New York, at least in the Bronx, cilantro? Pretty much everywhere. I learned the hard way, when I first came here (25 years ago???) that if it’s not clearly labeled, you taste the parsley, because sometimes it’s not.

    1. Awesome! I was trying to make salsa in Fort Worth and the regular grocery stores I was at didn’t have cilantro anywhere. Had to find a Central Market.

      It also caught me off guard when I moved here five years ago and had to go to the bread aisle to find tortillas. :-)

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