Chunky Salsa for Fajitas

I’ve sung the praises of cooking from scratch before. Sure, you can buy something similar in a jar in the store. But you get to tune this homemade salsa to exactly how you like it, how about that!  You can make it as mild or as hot and spicy as you like. Or as sweet. Or as sour. Or as salty. You like it less chunky? Cut the ingredients smaller, or cook them for a longer time. You could even use a blender. Or add fresh cilantro. Below is a basic recipe that you can tweak to your own liking.

When you are lucky enough to have access to good ripe tomatoes you can make this with the summer’s bounty. Otherwise, it will turn out just fine with good quality canned diced tomatoes.

Today I’m making steak fajitas for the workers on the boat (more about those fajitas tomorrow), and so I made a quadruple batch of the salsa. It is also great with tortilla chips.


For about 350 ml (1 1/2 cups) of salsa

1 can (400 grams/14 oz) diced tomatoes, or a similar amount of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 jalapeño

1 green chile pepper

1 small onion

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp double-concentrated tomato paste

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground chile pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp sweet paprika

1/4 tsp sugar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 Tbsp corn starch


Chop the onion.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook the onion over medium-low heat until it is soft and fragrant without browning it, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, seed the peppers. (Or keep the seeds and especially the membranes in if you like it spicy hot.)

Chop the peppers. Mince the garlic.

Add the the peppers and the garlic to the onions, and stir for a minute.

Add the diced tomatoes.

Add the tomato paste.

Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, chile pepper, paprika, salt, and sugar.

If you cut a lime this way, it is easier to squeeze the juice of out of it. The trick is to cut around the tough ‘stem’ in the center.

Add the lime juice.

Bring to a boil, stirring. Lower the heat once it boils, and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.

You can either allow the salsa to simmer until it is nice and thick (which will also concentrate the flavors), or you can thicken it with corn starch. Mix the corn starch with a tablespoon of cold (!) water and then add it to the salsa.

Bring to a boil and cook for another minute. If it is not thick enough yet, add more of the corn starch in the same manner.

Now it is time to taste and adjust the salsa to your liking. You want it hotter? Add more cayenne pepper. Saltier? Add more salt. Sweeter? Add more sugar. More acidic? Add more lime juice. Etc. You get the idea 😉

Allow the salsa to cool before serving. If you put it in jars while it is still boiling hot and you allow the jars to cool standing on the lid (so the hot salsa will kill any germs on the lid), then you can keep the salsa for a pretty long time in the refrigerator.


Two years ago it was my 100th post (now already above 600!) and I posted lasagne alla bolognese from scratch. This decadent dish is a lot of work, but absolutely worth it.


9 thoughts on “Chunky Salsa for Fajitas

  1. Have to print out and try!! Think I would definitely prefer fresh tomatoes . . . we can get local ones [probably from glasshouses] throughout the year, tho’ they do taste a lot more ‘watery’ in the winter months!


  2. I love a good salsa and this is a good basic salsa. It makes me chuckle to see you using chiles and making Tex-Mex dishes. Chiles really are the spice of life.


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