One of my favorite things to make for a game or a party (or when I feel like it!) is this simple Fire Roasted Red Salsa.
I love serving it to friends and/or at get-togethers. I love the looks of surprise that washes over the faces of people when they first dip into this fire roasted red salsa. That look is shortly followed by a smile, and that smile is usually replaced with a compliment. I bet you’ll have the same results – and I bet you’ll be asked for the recipe! (Just send them here, please!)
About Fire Roasted Red Salsa:
Sometimes I feel old – see I’ve been making this salsa for years and years, and I first posted it here on my site in 2014. It feels like yesterday to me! I’m updating the photos and text now in 2023 so ya gotta know this salsa has staying power at my house!
So there’s really no fire involved in this salsa (unless you want to make this on a grill – that would be fabulous!). The tomatoes, peppers, onion, and garlic that go in the salsa are all tossed on a sheet tray and broiled. They’re turned until they’re blistered with just a hint of char. Hence the name Fire Roasted.
The name probably comes from the commercial industry and their advertising cohorts and ya gotta admit, there’s a certain cache to saying anything is fire roasted! Really, of course, this is one of the many Salsa Rojas out there (and one of the best, if I do say so, lol!)
What really makes this better than all the commercial products out there (Are you like me? Do you keep trying every new salsa you see at the store only to be a little disappointed?) is that it is so fresh tasting. What makes it better than so many of the salsa recipes around is that it has all the flavor you expect and that flavor is enhanced by a couple you might not. Yup. I gotta couple of secret ingredients: There’s a hint of sweet/sour twang that comes from a smidge of sugar and a touch of vinegar. And just think, you were expecting lime!
I love making this in late summer/early fall when the tomatoes come in – it’s always the best time to make a tomato salsa. But know that this recipe will transform any old grocery store tomato. The broiling intensifies the flavor and those “secret” ingredients do the trick.
Making Fire Roasted Red Salsa:
The process for this recipe is to broil the veggies, then pulse in the food processor. You’ll add your vinegar, sugar, and salt.
After the veggies are roasted, save any juices on the sheet tray; you may want to add them to your salsa to adjust the consistency and those juices are concentrated flavor. When the tomatoes are deseeded, you may wish to work over a strainer and reserve those juices to further adjust the consistency. It all depends how juicy the veggies are and how thick/thin you wish your salsa to be.
When roasting, do roast on a foil-lined sheet tray for easy clean up. Watch the vegetables, turning as necessary and removing each as they are wrinkled and charred in places. The jalapenos will need the most care as they’re small and have to be a little charred and wrinkly all over in order to slip the skins off.
Adjusting the Heat for Fire Roasted Red Salsa:
My rule of thumb used to be a medium-sized jalapeno per tomato. Lately, all the jalapenos I’ve seen at the store are pretty large and all the tomatoes are medium-sized, so I’ve cut it back to 1 jalapeno per two medium tomatoes. I ditch the seeds of the jalapeno and leave the veins (that’s where a lot of the heat is) and made this way I would call this a medium hot salsa. A bit of a bite and a little tingle on the tip of the tongue.
This is all so subjective, though, and so much depends on the heat/size of the jalapeno, the size and flavor of the tomatoes, and the eater’s taste and/or tolerance level. If you get in the habit of tasting your jalapenos when you use them, you’ll quickly become accustomed to judging how hot they usually are.
- If you prefer hotter salsa, increase the jalapenos or use the slighter hotter Serrano.
- If you prefer milder salsa, use less jalapeno and remove both the seeds and veins.
- Not sure? Roast a couple of extra jalapenos and add to taste. Any you don’t use can be labeled and tossed in a Ziploc bag for another time or another recipe. They freeze beautifully.
Storing your Salsa:
I store my salsa in a glass (canning) jar. If you store in plastic, the plastic can pick up some of the flavor and that’s not a great thing. This salsa will keep for a week or so with no problem. A little longer is fine, too. The bit of vinegar helps preserve it, but keep in mind, the tomatoes might become a little mushy if stored too long.. Best to use it at its peak!
I have never adapted this recipe for any type of canning, although it would be pretty easy to do so. I simply prefer it fresh.
Saving Money on Fire Roasted Red Salsa:
- Your best bet for saving money on all the fresh ingredients in this recipe is to buy in season! Even better is to grow your own, especially the tomatoes. Nothing can compare to a homegrown tomato. The jalapenos are so small and so few that they’re not much of a concern.
- Keeping a well-stocked pantry filled with sales-priced ingredients is another way to save money. Know when to buy and buy at a low. Vinegar is going to be at a low before Easter, for instance. Often the fancier grades are on sale as well as the basic white or apple cider vinegar.
- If you’d like to save the most money on groceries, know when to stock up. The best sales happen before holidays and I have a post with links to each major food holiday with lists to help you anticipate what to buy, how much, and what to leave behind. Check out my post, Win at the Grocers.
I hope you and your family and friends enjoy this Fire Roasted Red Salsa as much as we have! I hope it will be a fave go-to recipe for you for years to come! And while this is great with any grocery store tomato if you happen to grow your own or score big at the farmers market, it’s even better!
Take care, all, happy cooking, and I hope you’ll visit often!
Fire Roasted Red Salsa
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 2 1/2 cups 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: Mexican or Southwestern
- 6 medium tomatoes, whole
- 3 jalapenos, whole
- 1/2 large onion or whole medium onion cut in half, skin on
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, skins on, the hard root end trimmed off
- 2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Place tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, and garlic on a lipped tray lined with aluminum foil. Arrange with the larger items on the edges and the smaller items lined down the center. Onion should be cut side down.
Place under broiler on high, five inches or so below, generally the second shelf down. Broil for about 10 to 15 minutes total until vegetables are slightly charred, watching carefully and turning and removing as needed. Cool until easy to handle.
Remove vegetables and reserve any juices on the sheet tray. Over a strainer with a bowl under it, remove seeds and stem from tomatoes. Reserve the juices and add tomatoes to a food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Remove stems, skin, and seeds from the jalapeno and add to the tomatoes. Remove skin and stem from onion and add to the tomatoes. Squeeze garlic from the paper and add to the tomatoes.
Pulse to desired chunkiness, then add juices from the sheet tray, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Taste and adjust as desired.
Depending on how juicy the vegetables are and how much juice was given off in the broiling process, you may wish to add some of the juice that was strained from the tomatoes to the salsa. Go by your personal taste and add until desired consistency is reached.
- This is not a recipe that has been checked for safe canning.
Keywords: Appetizer, Condiments, Hot Peppers, Jalapeno, Mexican or Southwestern, Salsa, Spreads and Dips, Tomatoes, Vinegar
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