I’ve never been a huge salsa fan. Oh sure, I’ll have some salsa with chips or add it to to other ingredients as an alternative to regular tomato sauce, but it’s not like I would normally sit down and just pig out on chips (or other foods) laden with salsa. Until now.
It all started a few weeks ago when I bought a packaged (but not canned) salsa from the deli at my local supermarket. It was AMAZING. It’s Margaritaville® mild salsa, and I definitely recommend it if you can find it. It had just the right amount of spice and sweet. It was made with Peppadew™ peppers, which I had never heard of before. Turns out that is a specific brand of sweet piquante pepper originating from South Africa. It’s pickled according to their special recipe and bottled. Who knew?
Since I did not have any Peppadew™ peppers, I wondered how I might go about creating my own version of this palate-pleasing salsa. As I searched my refrigerator and pantry, the thought occurred to me: What about peperoncini peppers (can also be spelled pepperoncini, in case you were wondering)? They’re sweet and spicy but not too spicy. It was time to begin experimenting!
And oh what fun I have had over the past couple weeks making batch after batch of delicious salsa. I’ve been eating it on everything — tortilla chips (even though I shouldn’t be eating too many chips), salad, gluten-free burritos, eggs (I don’t always eat 100% vegan), veggie burgers, and even sometimes a spoonful or two by itself!
One thing I love about this salsa is that it’s so FRESH! I know there are benefits to canning salsa and having it available to pull off the shelf in the middle of winter, but I must say the freshness of the tomatoes and peppers and onions mixed in with the peperoncini is just so wonderful! I add lemon juice for flavor but also because (in my limited experience) it helps fresh foods stay fresh a bit longer. All the salsa I’ve made so far has been eaten pretty quickly, so I haven’t been able to test how it lasted more than four days, but I can say that at day four it still tasted fresh.
As for spices in this salsa, I use what is convenient for me — and probably for you, too. Fresh herbs might be better, but I don’t tend to have those around very often. I chose to use Frontier’s Mexican Seasoning as an easy and convenient alternative. Fresh garlic would be good, too, but I tend to be quite sensitive to garlic, especially when it’s raw, so I opted for a garlic and herb seasoning that I use for a variety of dishes. I definitely think you could experiment with your own spice combinations in this salsa and find what works for you. I also realize that cilantro is considered a staple in most salsa recipes. Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of cilantro. I do like it in some dishes, but I find the flavor can sometimes be overpowering and a little soapy. So I didn’t include it in this recipe, but it’s certainly something you might want to consider adding if you like it.
Tomatoes are in season right now, so I’ve been using fresh tomatoes right out of the garden. They sometimes look a little worse for wear, but I don’t mind cutting out a few bad spots. There’s nothing like that fresh garden taste! I also just made this recipe with cherry tomatoes — so good! I used about 18-20 cherry tomatoes rather than 2-3 regular tomatoes.
If you want to add something extra special to this recipe, throw in some fresh sweet cherries! I’ve added as many as 18 (pits removed, of course) and it added such a pleasant flavor. I’ve also been thinking about trying peach and/or mango.
One side note about the peperoncini peppers: adjust the amount based on how much spice you want. The more peppers you use, the spicier your salsa will be. I used eight peppers in my most recent batch. I thought it was great but others thought maybe it was a bit too spicy. I’ve also used only the regular mild peperoncini, but you can get a hot variety, too. I prefer buying my peppers from the health food store because I’ve noticed they don’t have the artificial coloring like those at the regular grocery store.
I hope you will have fun experimenting with your own salsa until you find the blend of ingredients that suits you. It’s a great way to add more raw veggies into your diet!
- 2-3 fresh tomatoes
- 6 peperoncini peppers (stems removed)
- ½ bell pepper (any variety -- green, red, yellow, etc.)
- 2 green onions
- ½ tsp garlic herb seasoning
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp Mexican seasoning
- ⅛ tsp powdered stevia
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Put all ingredients in food processor (may want to roughly chop tomatoes, peppers, etc.) and pulse until thoroughly chopped but still chunky.
- Store in the refrigerator.
- Makes approximately 2-3 cups.