TOMATO FEST: Sassy Smoky Salsa

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”
–  Lewis Grizzard

Each summer I can hardly wait until I start seeing red globes peeking out from between the green leaves of our tomato plants.

There is a fabulous blog celebrating home-grown goodness – Andrea Meyers at Andreas Recipes – she hosts a twice-monthly “Grow Your Own” feature where she highlights recipes from food blogs that feature cooks using ingredients they have grown (or foraged or were gifted) themselves. This salsa post was featured on her blog – check it out to see this and other “GYO” goodness!

There are a million salsa recipes out there, and I have tried my share of them over the last 30 years. Trust me on this – I grew up a few miles from the Mexican border and I have eaten hundreds of salsas. If I am a connoisseur of any one thing, it has to be salsa! This Roasted Tomato Salsa recipe is my absolute all-time favorite!  Roasting about half of the tomatoes quickly at a very high heat give a wonderful roasted smoky flavor, but keeping half of the tomatoes raw gives it the perfect freshness and texture. And, the chipotle chile powder and smoked paprika are delicious in combination with tomatoes.

Don’t skip the EVOO. Olive oil used with tomatoes improves BOTH their flavor and health benefits exponentially.

I love to make gallons (literally) of our family’s favorite salsa and then cruise around the neighborhood like “The Salsa Fairy” handing out pints to friends or leaving them on doorsteps as a surprise treat. Everyone raves about salsa that has roasted tomatoes in the recipe!

You may even be tempted to sit down with a bowl of this with a very large spoon. No, I am NOT kidding.


Juice of two limes (about 1/4 cup)
zest of two limes (about 2 teaspoons)
4 cloves garlic
1 large bunch cilantro
About 12 large ripe tomatoes (to make 8 cups smashed)
2 bunches green onions, tops included
1 bell pepper, any color
4 to 6 fresh jalapeños
1 tablespoon each chipotle chile powder and smoked paprika
2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
a few dashes Tabasco sauce, to taste

Core and cut tomatoes in half and squeeze out all juice and seeds. Place half of tomatoes cut side down on a baking sheet and spray with a little oil. Broil about 3 inches from heat for about 5 minutes, until tomato skins begin to blacken in spots. Let cool. Drain off liquid from pan and then pulse roasted tomatoes and remaining uncooked tomatoes in food processor until tomatoes are in small chunks. DO NOT PUREE. Place tomato mixture in a large bowl.

Place lime juice, lime zest, garlic and cilantro in food processor and blend until smooth. Remove seeds and pulp from jalapeños and mince. Remove ends and outer skins of green onions and mince. Remove seeds and white pulp from bell pepper and mince. Add chile powder, smoked paprika, salt and olive oil. Stir all ingredients together and let sit on counter for at least one hour for flavors to blend. Taste. If necessary because tomatoes are acidic, add in a little sugar to taste. If salsa is too runny, stir in a can of tomato paste. Cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days. Serve at room temperature. Makes a HUGE batch!!

Variation: To make salsa hotter, add more hot peppers, such as serranos. Also, leaving the seeds in will make the salsa hotter after seeds have had a chance to blend with other flavors.

Some other fabulous roasted tomato salsas:
Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa, 101
Roasted Tomato Salsa, Karina’s Kitchen
Slow Roasted Tomato Salsa, A Veggie Venture

— posted by Donna


  1. Olivia says

    I don’t know if you still check this. I am addicted to salsas and can’t wait to try this. Do you use Roma tomatoes or vine ripened?

    • says

      Hi Olivia – I use whatever tomatoes I can get my hands on that are deep red and ripe. I love to make this with my garden tomatoes at the end of summer. Romas work great if they’re really ripe. Cheers!

  2. says

    We don’t have a salsa fairy in our neighborhood, either, such a shame. Your recipe looks fantastic, and I’ll have to give it a try since we have a plethora of tomatoes this year. Thanks for sharing with Grow Your Own!

  3. says

    I wish the salsa fairy was dropping by MY place!

    I got to try this a few weeks ago, people, and it is TO DIE FOR. You must give it a shot. I’ll be doing so soon, I hope!


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