My Favorite Roasted Tomato Salsa

Mexico (10)


Picture yourself sitting at a primitive wooden table with your toes in the warm Mexican sand dipping tasty chips into this deliciously addictive roasted tomato salsa while sipping an icy cold Pacifico served with a fresh wedge of lime. The aqua blue ocean stretches out before you and festive Mariachi music plays on a small radio. Ahhhhh Mexico….a return to the simple pleasures.

My favorite Roasted Tomato Salsa is easy to make and packed with flavor. You will start inventing dishes to use it on. Sometimes, I imagine serving it as a soup. And the BEST part about this roasted salsa is that it’s completely VEGAN and HEALTHY (my kind of food).

I admit that jarred salsa is convenient and I buy it occasionally, but it it never comes close to making salsa fresh. The charred tomatoes and smoky caramelized onions give it a rustic, Mexican flavor. The gentle warmth from the jalapeno on the back sits on the back of your tongue while the cool cilantro and tangy vinegar keeps you wanting more. Whoa…. you’ll be instantly transported to the Mexican sunshine.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Roasted tomato salsa

Roasted Tomato Salsa

When learning to make salsa from scratch, I turned to Rick Bayless, the famous chef of Chicago’s, Fontera Grill. Rick spent 6 years in Mexico studying local ingredients and cooking techniques and he’s behind the elegance of this humble cuisine. Along his culinary journey, he began practicing yoga and cooking healthier so his book, Everyday Mexican has ways to prepare recipes without meat and dairy.  This rustic tomato salsa recipe is my absolute favorite!!! I go through phases where I make it frequently especially in the summer. But my husband and I can’t resist it so it doesn’t last long.

Roasted Mexican Salsa (13)

I love scooping salsa up with tortilla chips (who doesn’t) but this roasted tomato salsa is addictive so I can easily go through bags of chips. Therefore, a healthier option is to scoop up the salsa with carrots sliced on a diagonal to make little “spoons”.

This salsa is a great base for Spanish rice too. Just substitute half the water with salsa when cooking rice. It’s also amazing to on top of Portobello tacos (saute sliced Portobellos in olive oil with chopped garlic) and serve with avocado and salsa……mios dios. For sublime guacamole – mix 1/4 cup of salsa into mashed ripe avocados.

Recipe: Roasted Tomato Salsa

This recipe was inspired by Rick Bayless Everyday Mexican 


  • 6 – 8 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2  fresh jalapeño chile**
  • 1 small sweet onion sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro (I like a lot but you can halve the amount)
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)


Turn the oven to broil and line a large baking sheet with tinfoil. Place the tomatoes and on the baking sheet. Cut off the stem of the jalapeno and cut it in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and put it on the baking sheet skin side up with the tomatoes. Place the tray about 4 inches below the broiler for 7 – 9 minutes until they are blackened.

With tongs, turn the tomatoes and jalapeno over and broil for another 7-9 minutes. The tomato skins should be nicely charred and the skins should be peeling off.  Place the charred tomatoes and any juice in a bowl to cool and put the jalapeno aside.

Lower the oven to 400 degrees F and using the same tray scatter the onion slices around with the cloves of garlic.  (You may have some tomato liquid which is ok). Cook the onions for 20 – 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes until the onions are charred in some places. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Peel a few of the tomato skins and add them along with, 1/4 – 1/2 jalapeno, cooked onions, garlic, vinegar and salt to a blender (or pitcher if using an immersion blender). Pulse a few times on low until it is well mixed but still chunky.

Add chopped cilantro and stir with a large wooden spoon to combine. Taste and adjust as needed.

**A note about jalapenos: The original recipe calls for 2-3 fresh jalapenos. I find the heat in jalapenos vary widely. Some I can barely taste while others make the entire batch unpleasantly hot. So, I advise starting with less and adding more to control the amount of heat.

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