Quick and Easy Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa

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Saturdays are very busy days for us. My husband has Bible Study Fellowship leaders’ meeting very early on Saturday mornings, and the rest of the day is usually spent doing errands and household chores that we can’t manage to get to during the week. We have no set meal times on weekends, and we typically have a fend-for-yourself policy at breakfast and lunch, meaning that we eat whatever is quick and easy, such as bagels, yogurt, sandwiches, or leftovers. By supper time I’m usually very tired, and not especially ambitious about cooking, so for years my Saturday supper standby was quick and easy spaghetti. However, since we’ve reduced our pasta consumption to only once or twice a month, our new Saturday supper has become taco salads for my husband and me, and build-your-own nachos for the kids.

Basically, I put out bowls of tortilla chips, taco meat (a great use for previously cooked and frozen ground beef – it goes from freezer to plate in about 10 minutes), cheese, lettuce, black beans or sweet corn, sour cream, and salsa, and the kids pile whatever they want on their plates.

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Because I’m not a canner of produce, I used to buy jarred salsa for taco night, but I never found a brand that we really loved. Most jarred salsas are pretty blah and mushy, and they usually have too many big chunks of tomato, which I hate! I use and like tomato products – sauce, paste, crushed tomatoes, ketchup, – a lot but I don’t like fresh tomatoes (I especially hate the smell and texture….ew!) One taco night I had no salsa on hand, so I decided to try making my own, and it was so simple and delicious that I wrote down what I’d done so I could duplicate the recipe in the future. Mine is a mildly spicy, kid-friendly salsa with lots of fresh flavor, and the key ingredient is….cilantro. I always try to have fresh cilantro on hand because it’s one of my favorite herbs. It’s inexpensive – I buy big bunches for 99 cents – and I use it not only in salsa, but also in veggie omelets, wraps, and our favorite tuna and chickpea salad. It’s just so good, and this summer I’m going to plant a lot of it so that I never run out. That’s how much I love it.

I think my homemade salsa is just as good, if not better than any salsa I’ve ever had in a Mexican restaurant. Cakes, who loves spicy food, is a big fan. If I’m making salsa she’s right there waiting for it to be done, and she can never wait until dinner to have some.

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Quick and Easy Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa
(1) 10-ounce can mild, original Rotel tomatoes (do not drain)
(1) 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/4 of a small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
A generous handful of fresh cilantro (at least a half cup. I like even more than that)
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor 5 or 6 times, or until the chunkiness is as you prefer. Adjust salt and sugar to taste. This recipe can be completely customized. Add more onion and garlic if you prefer, and if you like more kick substitute hot Rotel tomatoes for the mild, or add some dashes of hot sauce. Endless possibilities.

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Recipe makes approximately 2 1/2 cups of salsa for less than $2.00. Enjoy!

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Heather is a minimalist in love with a recovering packrat. 7 years ago, she and her husband sold pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down in order to pay off their mortgage, and they've been living happily debt-free ever since. They have 3 hilarious little kids who were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, and they haven't had a good night's sleep in the last decade. Heather is an anglophile who loves all things British, and spends her free time looking at real estate listings in Cornwall. Every day, she and her family work toward a simpler, more meaningful life. Some days are awesome, some are disastrous, and you can read about all of them here.

Have a question? Need a listening ear? Contact Heather, or visit Want What You Have on Facebook.

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13 comments… add one

  1. Juliana E. March 24, 2014, 3:47 pm

    Yum! I am going to try this tomorrow for Taco Tuesday! Do you drain your Rotel? Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Heather March 24, 2014, 4:12 pm

      Juli – nope, I don’t drain the Rotel. I’ll update the recipe. :)

      Reply
      1. Juliana E. April 1, 2014, 8:55 pm

        It was fantastic! I just made more for tonight’s tacos! My Sophia is like your Cakes – she can’t wait for dinner to dig in!

        Reply
        1. Heather April 2, 2014, 3:45 am

          Yay! I just made some on Sunday. It’s addictive.

          Reply
  2. Janel March 24, 2014, 4:04 pm

    This sound so good…and easy which is the only way I will make something…lol! Thanks Heather for this recipe…I will add it to the many others that I’ve gotten from you :)

    Reply
  3. Karen B. March 24, 2014, 5:25 pm

    After eating the best ground beef ever in tacos this past week, I put this salsa recipe right into my cooking app. Thanks for two great recipes! Keep them coming!

    Reply
    1. Heather March 24, 2014, 5:27 pm

      Oh good, you tried the slow cooker ground beef! I’m so glad you liked it. :)

      Reply
  4. Roxie March 25, 2014, 2:01 am

    If you ever have any salsa and taco meat left over add to a pot of pinto beans. Serve with some corn bread. Very tasty meal. Just the tiny bit of ground beef in the beans makes a huge difference. I always make my pinto beans with a bit (almost always less than a cup) of left over taco meat.
    Your salsa recipe looks very tasty. We love a good salsa here in Texas. It goes on everything. Even scrambled eggs or omelets.

    Reply
  5. Sarah March 25, 2014, 4:02 am

    Yum, I am going to have to give your recipe a try it sounds delicious Heather!

    Reply
  6. Tiffany March 26, 2014, 1:41 am

    This looks great and so excited about the price on this! I’ll try the beef and salsa soon and let you know what I think :) Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Mechy March 26, 2014, 8:13 pm

    Hi Heather!
    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy to read your blog. Very frequently I share your opinions and concerns, a few times I disagree with you. I found your blog a little more than 3 years ago, when I quit my job and became an sahm. Since then, your posts have been like receiving news from relatives living in another state, that’s how comfortable and familiar your blog feels to me, and I’m sure many other readers can say the same.
    There are many things now that I could say about your blog, but I’m sure you have heard it before, so I’m just going to say thanks for your time, dedication and sharing.

    Reply
    1. Heather March 26, 2014, 9:17 pm

      Thank you! I feel very fortunate to have readers who have stuck with me for years. I consider all of you to be friends!

      Reply
  8. Tiffany C. March 27, 2014, 2:30 am

    Looks soo good– we love taco nights and will be trying the salsa a.s.a.p. (though I have never cooked with cilantro… :/ …and we are serious fans of omelettes, too, so sounds like we’ve been missing out)!~

    Reply

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