Salsa Roja (Roasted Tomato Salsa)

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I like making everything from scratch using fresh ingredients. Chicken fajitas are one of my favorite dishes to prepare when I don’t have time and/or equipment to make everything from scratch (like when we are vacationing in an RV), as they are very tasty and store-bought flour tortillas and salsa are of acceptable quality. I had never made fajitas from scratch yet, and I wanted to try to see if it would be worth the effort compared to using store-bought components. And so I needed to make my own salsa as one of the components.

I looked at some recipes online, with a logical place to go first. I wanted something simple, and also found this recipe. I also learned that the type of salsa I like with my fajitas is called salsa roja (red salsa). From those two sources combined, I came up with my very first roasted tomato salsa. It was delicious and since it is not a lot of work, I will definitely make this from now on rather than buying store-bought if I have the time and equipment…Of course the nice thing about making this from scratch is that you can control exactly how spicy hot you want it to be.


For about 400 ml (1 1/2 cups) of salsa

600 grams (1.3 lbs) ripe tomatoes

3 fresh chile peppers (or less or more if you like)

2 cloves garlic

1 small onion

salt to taste

fresh cilantro to taste


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F (forced convection, otherwise 210C/410F).  Remove the stem from the chile peppers. Peel the garlic cloves and onions. Cut the onions and tomatoes in halves. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Roast until everything is nicely charred, 30 to 60 minutes.

The tomatoes took longer to char than the rest and so I left them in longer. The veggies should be browned, not burnt. The garlic should not be too brown because then it will be bitter.

Put everything in the food processor with some salt and fresh cilantro to taste. In my case that means only a bit of cilantro.

Process until it is as smooth or chunky if you like. If you like, you can chop the onions by hand like Richard does to keep them more chunky.

Taste and add some salt, lime juice, sugar, cilantro, or powdered chile pepper to adjust the salsa to your linking if needed.

Use at once or store in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for a week or perhaps longer.

10 thoughts on “Salsa Roja (Roasted Tomato Salsa)

  1. Dear Stefan: This récipe is delicious. One question have you ever tried Peruvian cuisine? If you want some récipes, just let me know. REgards.


      1. Stefan, ceviche is Peruvian and there are more varieties of ceviche in Peru than almost anywhere. One of our very favorite restaurants, La Mar, is a Peruvian Cebicheria that originated in Lima, Peru. We went to the one in Santiago. They have locations in Lima, Santiago, San Francisco, and Sao Paulo. I think you would like Peruvian food.


  2. This one does look delicious, Stefan. I’m hooked on roasting tomatoes – with olive oil and a little balsamic – a weekly treat, in fact, the deliciously intense tomato flavour a perfect foil for anything from ricotta to steak – now I have another variation to try! 🙂


  3. I, too, follow REMcooks – love that blog! I don’t know why I’m so afraid of making anything with fresh chile peppers… I’ve got to get over that fear, especially since I want to make your salsa!!


  4. Stefan. Holy guacamole – Oh me – Oh my. NICE POST.

    I have been holding out on you – I am a native Texan. Actually, Dr. Abba and I met in Austin. This recipe brings back amazing memories. I will surely whip up my favorite chicken fajita recipe (or steak, if Abba has any say!) and your roasted tomatillo salsa ASAP. This looks fantastic, amazing, etc.

    Abba is coming home from a long trip tomorrow. It’s a Tex-Mex menu at la cena for sure.Thank you for the awesome post – and for introducing me to another fabulous blog. And I adore REMcooks!

    Have a great week at la trabajo.llll


  5. There are many salsa recipes around, Stefan, but what makes Richard’s so special is that he roasts practically all of the ingredients. I doubt you could have found a better one to prepare for your first — or any — attempt. It definitely looks like you did his recipe proud,


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