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Throw together this restaurant style (and quality) blender salsa in just 5 minutes using fresh or canned tomatoes. It’s vibrant, flavorful, fresh, endlessly tweakable, and perfect for enjoying with chips and more during summer or all-year-long!

completed Fresh Summer Salsa in a bowl against a white background

Fresh and Vibrant Restaurant Style Salsa With Fresh or Canned Tomatoes

If you’re looking for the quickest and most delicious homemade restaurant style salsa, you’ve found it. This six-ingredient blender salsa recipe takes just minutes to whip up, is practically foolproof, and is perfect for serving with chips, at potlucks, on game days, taco Tuesdays, Cinco de Mayo, and anywhere you’d usually enjoy salsa!

Not only is this salsa restaurant quality, but you won’t believe how simple it is to throw together. Just roughly chop your ingredients and chuck them in a blender or food processor to pulse into your desired consistency. This not only makes for the perfect summer salsa while tomatoes are in season, but canned tomatoes allow you to enjoy it year-round!

Best of all, this summer salsa recipe requires no cooking, is budget-friendly, far exceeds grocery-store salsa in all ways, and fits several diets, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and whole30!

What Is Blender Salsa?

While salsa refers to any sauce in Spanish, in English, it’s come to refer to a specific type of Mexican table sauce. Even then, there are many varieties of tomato salsa, the two main types include:

Salsa Roja (also called red salsa): This is a tomato salsa, often made with cooked (like this roasted red salsa) or canned tomatoes alongside onion, garlic, and hot peppers. Its texture is usually sauce-like rather than chunky.

Salsa Fresca ‘fresh sauce’ (also called Salsa cruda ‘raw sauce’): This fresh salsa contains similar ingredients to the salsa Roja recipe but uses fresh tomatoes. In terms of texture, fresh salsas come either as restaurant-style salsa (like this easy blender salsa), which is thinner and sauce-like in consistency. Alternatively, there are plenty of chunky varieties, like Pico de Gallo, where the ingredients are finely chopped rather than blended.

Of course, plenty of fresh salsa recipes are non-tomato based, too, like this mango cucumber salsa, cucumber salsa, and other fruit and veggie-based salsas.

This easy blender salsa falls somewhere in the middle of several types. It’s smooth (but the texture is adjustable) and lightly spicy, just like your favorite Mexican restaurant salsa, and it’s loaded with the fresh flavors of tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro, like a Salsa Fresca (Pico de Gallo, salsa Mexicana, summer salsa, tomato salsa, ec.). For that reason, you’ll notice we use the terms interchangeably.

The Ingredients

Just 6 ingredients plus salt, and optional oil are all you need to pull together this summer salsa recipe.

ingredients for Fresh Summer Salsa measured out against a white surface
  • Tomatoes: We use ripe cherry tomatoes, as they taste great year-round, but feel free to use the ripest tomatoes you can find in-season (plum tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, Beefsteak tomatoes, etc.).

If you don’t have access to any tasty fresh tomatoes or want to make this restaurant salsa recipe out of season, we recommend canned fire-roasted tomatoes (diced). Drain the cans first if you prefer a less liquidy salsa (you can always add some back in if preferred.

  • Onion: You can use white onion, red onion, or shallots.
  • Garlic: Adjust the amount to taste. Use garlic powder in a pinch.
  • Jalapeño: Adjust the amount to taste. Alternatively, substitute another type of chili based on how spicy or mild you’d like the salsa to be. I.e., Chipotle, serrano, poblano (milder), or even red bell pepper (mild).

For a smokier flavor, use smoky dried chiles and rehydrate them in warm water/veg stock for 20-30 minutes.

  • Olive oil: This is optional but makes a smoother mouthfeel for this blender/Vitamix salsa.
  • Cilantro: If you aren’t a fan of cilantro, parsley will work in a pinch.
  • Lime juice: Use fresh lime juice. Lime juice works in a pinch. For more flavor, use some zest, too.
  • Salt: Adjust the amount to taste.

Optional add-ins & Recipe Variations

This easy salsa recipe can be adapted and boosted in several ways. This includes the addition of:

  • Fruit: Pineapple or mango also work well in this fresh summer salsa recipe.
  • Cumin: Added to taste.
  • Dried oregano: Added to taste.
  • Liquid smoke: A few drops will add a subtle, delicious smokiness to the salsa Mexicana.
  • Sugar: If your tomatoes taste very acidic, a pinch of sugar will help to balance the acidity.
  • Stirins: After blending the easy fresh tomato salsa, you could stir in some black beans or corn kernels for extra texture and flavor.

How to Make Salsa with Fresh Tomatoes (Blender Salsa):

Follow three simple steps to throw together this delicious restaurant-style blender salsa recipe in just minutes!

  • 1) First, rinse and coarsely chop the tomatoes, peel and chop the onion and garlic, and de-seed and chop the jalapeño.
ingredients for Fresh Summer Salsa measured out against a white surface

Lots of the heat is in the seeds, so you can remove some or all of them to adjust the heat level of this summer salsa.

  • 2) Transfer the chopped ingredients and the olive oil (if using) to a blender or food processor and process until creamy.

If you prefer a bit of texture, then pulse for less time. If you want a chunky salsa Fresca (Pico de gallo) type salsa, pulse just a few times or skip the blender entirely and finely chop all the ingredients instead.

  • 3) Add the cilantro and pulse one or two times to disperse it. Then give the restaurant style salsa a taste and season with lime juice and salt to your liking.

While you can enjoy the tomato salsa immediately, I highly recommend transferring it to the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to give it time for all the ingredients and flavors to meld. Enjoy!

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Adjust the texture: Process the blender salsa until slightly chunky or completely smooth. Alternatively, skip the blender and finely chop the ingredients into a salsa Fresca.
  • Use the freshest ingredients: With such few ingredients to lean on, every single one matters!
  • Tweak to taste: You can add more or less chili, lime juice, salt, etc., to perfectly tweak the homemade red salsa to your liking.
  • For a less watery restaurant style salsa: Remove the seeds from the tomatoes.
  • Be careful when handling hot peppers: Use gloves if possible, and avoid touching your face.
  • For smoky flavor: You can use a smoky chile, a few drops of liquid smoke, or char the tomatoes over a flame before using them.
  • Use a blender or food processor: While this makes for a super simple Vitamix salsa in seconds, you can use even lower-powered blenders (or a food processor) for this simple summer salsa recipe.

How to Make Ahead and Store?

We recommend allowing this a minimum of 30 minutes to rest before serving to allow the flavors to meld. However, 24hrs of ‘marinating’ in the fridge is the real sweet spot. Then, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Can You Freeze Blender Salsa?

If you make it from canned tomatoes, it’s freezer friendly for up to 3 months. I don’t recommend freezing the version using fresh tomatoes, though.

Serving Recommendations

You may already have a use in mind for this delicious fresh tomato salsa. However, if you’re struggling for ideas, here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy this blender salsa!

More Vegan Appetizer Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

5 Minute Restaurant Style Blender Salsa

5 from 55 votes
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Throw together this restaurant style (and quality) blender salsa in just 5 minutes using fresh or canned tomatoes. It’s vibrant, flavorful, fresh, endlessly tweakable, and perfect for enjoying with chips and more during summer or all-year-long!

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup of ripe cherry tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons of white or red onion, or shallot coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño coarsely chopped, seeds removed if you prefer mild salsa
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil optional
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
  • Juice from half a lime or to taste
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • Optional additions: poblano, chipotle, or red bell pepper, pineapple or mango

Instructions 

  • Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and olive oil (if using) into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy, or leave more coarsely chopped if you prefer.
  • Add cilantro and process once more for a second or two to distribute evenly. Season with lime juice and salt to taste and chill or serve immediately.

Notes

  • Adjust the texture: Process the blender salsa until slightly chunky or completely smooth. Alternatively, skip the blender and finely chop the ingredients into a salsa Fresca.
  • Use the freshest ingredients: With such few ingredients to lean on, every single one matters!
  • Tweak to taste: You can add more or less chili, lime juice, salt, etc., to perfectly tweak the homemade red salsa to your liking.
  • For a less watery restaurant style salsa: Remove the seeds from the tomatoes.

Nutrition

Calories: 29kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 0.4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 10mgPotassium: 75mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 194IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.2mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Renee Press
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Method: Blender
Diet: Vegan
Keywords: dips, glutenfree, mexican, paleo friendly, red salsa, salsa, summer, summer recipes, tacos, tomato, vegan, vegan salsa, vegetarian, whole30
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Renee Press

Renee Press is the founder of Fire and Earth Kitchen in Seattle WA. which offers cooking classes, food coaching, and chef services. She’s on a mission to make vegan, gluten-free cooking easy, accessible, and delicious for everyone. fireandearthkitchen.com

More about Renee Press

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