Best Red Salsa Recipe

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The best Red Salsa Recipe ever, easy, healthy + vegan, ready in 5 minutes, made with sweet San Marzano tomatoes (or  fire roasted), an authentic touch of cumin and just the right amount of spicy. The perfect quick and easy 100% whole foods plant-based vegan dip or appetizer to bring to a game day party or backyard barbecue. 

the Best Homemade Red Salsa with Chips

Red Salsa Recipe

Also known as “ Salsa Roja ” this is a simple restaurant style salsa sauce to enjoy with your favorite chips. It’s perfect for canning or serving right away with chunky guacamole and tortilla chips, pupusas, tamales or as a condiment to a main dish. I’ll even use it as a sauce to toss with capellini noodles or drizzle it over steamed rice, vegan potato pancakesblack beans , tofu scramble or these vegan street tacos de carnitas.

About the Ingredients

Lycopene loaded tomatoes, spicy chile, garlic, a mix of scallions and red onions, cilantro, citrusy lime and the perfect amount of smoked paprika for the most delicious flavor profile.

Simply the Best!

Is Salsa Healthy?

I really can’t count the times I’ve been asked this question! Yes friends, homemade salsa is good for you! It’s an oil-free, low calorie sauce bursting with flavor and loaded with micro nutrients our bodies need to thrive. You control what goes inside! 

Salsa Making Tips

  • Restaurant Style – use a food processor to whip up a batch, but pay close attention that you don’t turn it into a smoothie. The “Pulse” button is your friend.
  • Make it Chunky – If you prefer your salsa chunky, I’d suggest using a sharp knife instead of a processor and chop everything together by hand on a cutting board. Easy breezy, in any case it should be ready in about 5 minutes.

the Best Homemade Red Salsa in a Jar

Best Tomatoes for Salsa

  • Canned – The recipe calls for sweet canned San Marzano tomatoes because they are the best ever! You are free of course to use the fire roasted variety or whatever canned tomatoes you have in the pantry. However, keep in mind that you will be missing out on some amazing flavor, I’d go as far as to argue that the magic of this salsa is all in the sweet Italian tomatoes.
  • Fresh – If you are wanting to make a “Salsa Fresca” aka“ Pico de Gallo “ or a fresh style salsa then you must use chopped “fresh tomatoes” instead of the canned variety. 
The best homemade salsa recipe ever. Plant-based vegan and healthy!

P.S. If you enjoyed this recipe please come back here to rate it in the comments section below, It always makes my day ~ Florentina Xo’s

watch how to make the best red salsa recipe

the Best Salsa
5 from 5 votes

Best Red Salsa Recipe

Easy and healthy, the best salsa recipe ever, ready in 5 minutes, made with sweet San Marzano tomatoes ( or the fire roasted variety) plus an authentic touch of cumin.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Total Time:5 minutes


  • 28 oz canned whole San Marzano tomatoes (drained of all the juices)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 red onion - diced
  • 2 cloves garlic - large & grated
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - sliced (to your taste)
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin or to taste
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika ( + more to taste)
  • 1 large lime - juiced
  • 1 pinch sea salt + more to taste


  • Add the red onion, scallions, garlic and jalapeño to the bowl of a food processor. Give it a buzz or two until chopped.
    2 scallions, 1/2 red onion, 1 jalapeno pepper, 2 cloves garlic
  • Add the tomatoes (Without juices), spices and cilantro on top and pour in the lime juice.
    28 oz canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, 3/4 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika, 1 large lime, 1 pinch sea salt, 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Very carefully press the pulse button a few quick times making sure you don’t over chop the salsa. (Alternately you can chop everything by hand for a chunky version)
  • Transfer to a bowl and taste seasonings. Add more lime and sea salt as desired. At this point you can add the reserved tomatoes juices if you are wanting a thinner consistency. Add more smoked paprika for a deeper smokier flavor. 



  • Tomatoes - The recipe calls for sweet San Marzano tomatoes,  you are free of course to use the fire roasted variety or whatever canned tomatoes you have in the pantry but i don't guarantee the wow factor.
  • Smoked Paprika - Make sure to use Sweet smoked Spanish paprika not the bitter variety that could easily overpower the rest of the salsa flavors. Start with one teaspoon and work your way up from there as paprika varies a lot among brands. (I like to go heavy on paprika so if you know you are a fan of this flavor go for 1 Tbsp as I do, otherwise taste as you go and find your ideal flavor profile here).
  • To make the salsa less spicy omit the chile pepper. 


Calories: 62kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1845IU | Vitamin C: 10.7mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Latin
Keyword: plant based, salsa, Sauces, vegan recipes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 62kcal
Author: Florentina

Vegan Recipes:

Chimichurri Sauce
Chimichurri Sauce
Italian Tomato Sauce
Vegan Chicken Tortilla Soup
Vegan Tortilla Soup

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  1. Perfection, but why didn’t you tell me to triple the recipe ? Now I have to go back into the kitchen and start all over, gone in 60 seconds situation ?

    1. This is a fantastic recipe! My first foray into homemade salsa, and it is fantastic! I like to switch up the kind of pepper I’m using, with always excellent results! Thank you!

  2. I took the middle ground and pureed half the salsa to make it thicker and stirred the other half back in for the chunks.

    After looking at half a dozen recipes, I plumped for this one. It’s simple, zesty and tasty.

  3. Excellent recipe! I made another batch as soon as I tasted the first when finished, I knew it wouldn’t be enough for my salsa loving family. Will be our go to recipe for now on.

    1. Hi Vickie, I would blanch and peel the tomatoes first then follow the recipe, transfer to jars and pressure can just like you would any tomato sauce.

  4. Made a few tweaks, added more jalepenos for spice and some hatch green chilies for flavor. Great recipe! Easy and everyone loves it!

  5. LOVE this salsa!! Wow is it good! San Marzano absolutely make a difference. I added 1/2 can of rinsed black beans to get some protein in. Very nice addition, but didn’t need it. .

  6. Recipe sounds great, and I’m planning to use it for canning as well as fresh, but what can I sub for cilantro? I’m a supertaster, and hate the stuff (although this recipe has less of it than many others).

    1. Just omit cilantro if you don’t like it, you can add basil, parsley and even dill or oregano instead. Think of an herb you actually love 🙂

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