Restaurant-style Homemade Salsa

Because homemade is always better.  And it’s even better when you’re 12-year old brings home the recipe, and now it’s part of her own recipe repertoire.

This is super, super simple.  If you are a fan of (most) restaurant salsa’s, those which border between super-thick and pasty store brands, and freshly made salsa, you will like this.

A few years ago, my sister started taking my daughter for a week-long trip to the Gulf Coast, where, yes, they saw sharks swimming too close to shore.

But, besides having a ton of fun, my daughter picked up a few recipes from her Aunt A.  One “dish” was a very, very simple spinach dip which is only baby fresh spinach and cream cheese, cooked in a skillet.  C started making that as soon after she returned, and it became one of  her favorite afterschool snacks that she could make herself.

The other was a blender salsa, made with canned tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lemon juice, and jalapenos.  Although C had told me how good that salsa was, she also went on about how much you would end up with if you put in too much cilantro, and ended up having to dilute it with lots more canned tomatoes.  This was actually a good thing, because C learned that sometimes, more is not better, and to go sparingly on some items – like cilantro.

It wasn’t until recently, in the depths of winter (not that  we really had any winter this year here on the Gulf Coast), when I went to pick up a jar of salsa, looked at the price, and decided I’ve been crazy for spending $3.00, $4.00 for a little jar of salsa, when I could buy a 28-ounce can of tomatoes (the really good Italian ones, if you catch it on sale), a bunch of cilantro, and a lemon for almost the same price or less.  We always have jarred jalapenos in the fridge, so I really don’t count them.  It probably really struck me that day, because the store had their 14-ounce cans of tomatoes 2/$1.00. So, I turned my buggy around, went and picked up lots of canned tomatoes, the cilantro and a few lemons.

And then C went to town in the kitchen.

  • We decided to go ahead and make a “double” batch since it requires no extra effort, and freeze half.
  • Yes, it does freeze very well.
  • And, yes, the flavor definitely improves after a few hours, or overnight.
  • If you use whole, peeled tomatoes, pulse them a few times before adding the cilantro, just to break them up somewhat.

Blender Restaurant-Style Salsa


  • Two 14-ounce cans or one 28-ounce can diced or whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 to 1/3 of a bunch of cilantro leaves
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons jarred jalapenos (we buy ours already diced)
  • The juice of one lemon or lime


  • If you use whole, peeled tomatoes, pulse them a few times before adding the cilantro, just to break them up somewhat.
  • Add the cilantro (starting with less); we don’t use the stems as they are too stringy.
  • Add the juice of a lemon or lime (without the seeds), and the jalapenos. We start with about 1 1/2 tablespoons
  •  Process till the cilantro is small; if it’s overprocessed, it will look like red/green mush
  • Let sit for a few hours or overnight, and enjoy!



4 thoughts on “Restaurant-style Homemade Salsa

  1. What is absolutely awesome about this is that your 12 year old is interested in being in the kitchen. My 6 year old grand son occasionally helps me in the kitchen and it is so much fun.
    Kudos to you

    • I’ve just always wanted her to be able to fend for herself in the kitchen. Course, some weeks it seems like all she makes is cheese nachos in the oven. With her salsa, of course. She has a few dishes she makes that are part of her “repertoire”. Maybe I should round them up!

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