Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe

It's tomato season and I bet many of you are searching for more ways to preserve the tomato harvest! Last year I had a bumper crop of roma tomatoes so I created this really easy fire-roasted tomato salsa recipe as a way to preserve the harvest. I had my freezer stocked full of salsa in various sized jars that we enjoyed through the winter months. I'm really happy to finally be sharing my recipe with you. It's a mix of roasted tomatoes and other raw ingredients, creating a nutrient-packed condiment!

Roasting tomatoes under the broiler brings out a stunning, sweet caramelized flavor, which adds depth and complexity to your salsa. It also releases some of the liquid in the tomatoes so your salsa does't end up too watery.

If you are looking for other ways to preserve your tomato harvest then you might want to try my Homemade Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce recipe, or simply freeze your tomatoes whole (stems removed). I like to take whole frozen roma tomatoes and soak them in hot water for a few minutes. This allows their skins to slip right off. Then I chop them up and add them to soups and stews in the wintertime.

Enjoy this flavorful salsa recipe with homemade gluten-free Brown Rice Flour Tortillas, cooked beans or meat, guacamole, and thinly sliced fresh greens.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

This recipe makes approximately 8 cups of fresh salsa! You can easily freeze it to have a little taste of summer in the dead of winter. Simply pour the salsa into any wide-mouthed jar (I have one wide-mouthed jar pictured above), such as a 12-ounce jam jar, glass nut-butter jar (cleaned well), or wide-mouthed pint or quart jars. Leave at least an inch of space for expansion and freeze with the lids OFF. Then add a lid to each jar once frozen. This will prevent the jars from cracking as the liquid expands. To use, simply place a jar in your refrigerator to thaw, then serve.

4 to 5 pounds roma tomatoes
1 small red or sweet onion, ends trimmed, peeled, and quartered
6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 to 4 jalapeño or serrano chilies, ends trimmed
1 large bunch cilantro
2 to 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin (optional)

Preheat your oven to broil. Place your oven rack about 3/4 of the way to the top. You don't want them directly beneath the broiler, just at that sweet spot so they can cook without becoming completely charred. Place the tomatoes onto a large, rimmed cookie sheet. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes then remove the pan and flip each tomato over using a fork or tongs. Then cook for about 10 to 12 minutes more. You will want to watch carefully to make sure that the tomatoes are cooking properly as each oven can vary (see my photo below). Remove from oven and let cool completely.

In a food processor fitted with the standard "s" blade (I use a 14-cup size, if you have a smaller one you may need to process everything in batches and then mix together in a large bowl), add the onion, garlic cloves, chili peppers, and cilantro; pulse to finely chop the ingredients, being careful not to over-process. Then add the roasted tomatoes, cider vinegar, salt, chipotle chili powder, and optional cumin. Pulse/process to combine ingredients and break down tomatoes. Taste to see if your salsa needs more heat. If so, either add 1 to 2 more fresh chili peppers or extra chipotle chili powder. Add more salt if necessary.

Pour salsa into glass jars (I use a wide-mouth funnel to make this part really easy). Store salsa in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or up to six months in the freezer.

Yield: 8 cups

Variation: Replace the apple cider vinegar with the juice from one to two limes

More Summer Condiments:
Homemade Sriracha Sauce
Raw Cilantro-Lime Chutney
Blueberry Syrup

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. RE: Roasted Tomato Salsa - It's even better when you roast the onion and garlic right along with the tomatoes! Since it's in the freezer, you don't really need the acid at all - you can keep the sweet roasted flavors but add hot peppers like Serrano and Jalapheno - the sweet offsets the hot - Yummy! Also, I puree those roasted tomato skins in the Vitamix and add the fiber right back into the food - no waste AND better health (and I never remove the seeds either).

    1. Hi Meghan!

      Thanks for your input. I add the acid (vinegar or lime juice) to balance flavors. Roasting the tomatoes adds so much sweetness, so without the acid the flavor is a little flat. When I'm creating a recipe I go by taste and this is something I've found that the salsa needed each time I made it. Of course you can omit it if you prefer!

      If you go back up to the recipe, you can see that I do add hot chili peppers and chipotle chili powder....which makes the salsa so good! :)

      This recipe was not designed for canning. Otherwise I would have cooked the other ingredients. Roasting the onion and garlic sound like a great way if you plan on canning!

      I never remove the skins or seeds in any of my recipes either. Just roast those tomatoes whole, and then add the whole roasted tomatoes to the food processor. So easy, and all nutrients stay in the salsa! :) The only time I remove the skins of the tomatoes is after they have been frozen and I want to add diced tomatoes to a soup. The skins get kind of leathery and the texture of the soup is better without them.

      If you click through to my marinara sauce recipe you will see that I use my Vitamix to puree whole raw tomatoes (seeds, skin, and all) before cooking down for hours into a sauce. Much easier, and yes, such a great way to keep all the nutrients.

  2. Hi Ali, thank you! I was at our little market yesterday staring at the bushels of Roma tomatoes, wishing I could wrap my head around what to do with them, amidst busy schedules and before they're gone. They also remind me of grandma who would take me out back to her garden. We'd pluck them off the plants, give em a little brush off and eat them right there. She'd announce, no schprays!! Get it? Grandma was organic before I new what she was talking about..😆
    So, today..your 'wow, that looks great' salsa recipe appears in my inbox today!😊 and, now I'm so excited to make and freeze jars of salsa and make a little marinara next week after a busy Scouting weekend.
    Thank you so much for all your loving efforts to give us great approachable and scrumptious recipes...for every one! Still have to try those gluten free lava cakes from last mail! ...mmm!
    Wishing you God's blessings with big thanks, Susan 🌹

    1. Hi Susan,

      Thank you for your kind words! I love schprays! So cute.

      I think you will really enjoy this salsa recipe. My children love it too! :)

  3. Thank you Ali for another yummy-looking recipe. I've only ever made salsa using tinned tomatoes. Do you ever add ground cumin or coriander? I usually like to add one or the other.

    1. Hi Shari,

      Thanks for your input! I've never used ground coriander before (I do add a whole bunch of cilantro), but I do occasionally add ground cumin. I should have mentioned that as an option.

      Thank you for pointing this out! :)

  4. Hi Ali! We made your salsa recipe the other day...we don't like it...we LOVE it😊 My hubby is quite the salsa snob and let's just say I don't think another salsa will ever do again. This will definitely be a treasured recipe. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Christa,

      Thanks so much for your feedback. SO glad you both love the recipe. Yay! :-)

  5. How long would you process this in a water bath for canning? I am thinking 30 mins.

  6. Do you have an option to can this recipe? How would I alter the acid content to be sure it could be canned safely?


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