Want to host an amazing Cinco de Mayo party but don’t want to be cooking tamales all day?! Why not create a salsa bar instead?? You can make this easy salsa recipe multiple ways. We’ll show you three! This is a sure-fire way to impress family and friends.
A little background story: I’m actually a quarter Mexican. Yep, most people don’t believe me because I don’t look it at all but it’s true! My grandad’s family is from Guanajuato, Mexico. He was a first generation American, my mother’s father. So I celebrate Cinco de Mayo as a reminder of where my family came from and to remember my Grandad.
This salsa recipe is my mom’s and one that has been in her mind only… until now! This is one recipe (of many) that everyone raves about and can’t get enough of. I’m so excited to share it with you.
- BASE: choose from 2-3 cups of tomatoes, tomatillos or mango (you could also use pineapple, watermelon, papaya, etc.)
- 1 cup onion (red onions are great for fruit based salsas)
- 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 jalapeño pepper (mild heat)
- 1 serrano pepper (medium heat)
- 1 habanero pepper (FIRE heat!)
- Juice from one regular lime or 2-3 key limes
- About 1 t. of salt
With the peppers, always start with a jalapeño and add the extra peppers to add extra heat. You can also control the heat with whether or not you add the seeds. Seeds make it hotter.
For a little-added flavor, you can roast the tomatillos, onions, garlic and peppers under your broiler. When they start to darken, flip over. Take out when both sides have browned.
For the tomato and tomatillo-based salsas, add onion, garlic, cilantro and desired peppers (roasted or fresh) to your food processor. For the fruit-based salsas, chop all the same ingredients finely (don’t use the food processor). I mentioned above, a red onion looks pretty and tastes great with the fruit but you could use white or yellow just the same.
When blending, process until all pieces end up around the same size. Then add your tomatoes or tomatillos and process until slightly chunky.
IMPORTANT! Do not forget to add the lime juice and salt! Once added, let the salsa sit for a bit to combine flavors. (Although I usually can’t wait and it’s pretty dang good right away!)
Each of these salsas can stand on their own! The tomato-based salsa is my mom’s most famous version and is usually requested by popular demand for all of our family parties.
The tomatillo-based salsa is also delicious and a great option if you wanted something a little different. We have some tomato-haters in our family so this salsa does the trick.
This mango-based salsa is a favorite with the kids! The sweet fruit seems to cut a little bit of the heat and feels more like a treat with your chips. I love how this recipe is so flexible, really making it great for everyone. Have fun adjusting it to your liking!
We hope you enjoyed coming to our Cinco de Mayo salsa fiesta! My house smelled divine for hours afterward and I’m set for midnight snacks for the next few days. Let us know if you try our recipe out and if you discover any fun new options.
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