An easy, fresh tasting, homemade salsa recipe that can be made from canned tomatoes but is lower in sodium. Great option for a budget friendly salsa that is delicious year round.
- About Easy Homemade Salsa
- How to Make Homemade Salsa
- Tips for Making Salsa at Home
- Ingredient & Flavor Substitutions
- How to Make Allergy Friendly
- Alternative Prep & Cooking Methods
- What to do if you make a mistake
- Easy Homemade Salsa Recipe
About Easy Homemade Salsa
Salsa is one of my absolute favorite condiments, snacks, appetizers, whatever; I love how versatile it is! I seriously put salsa on almost everything and use salsa in tons of dishes like Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, Salsa Tuna and Bean Salad, Salsa Turkey Lettuce Wraps, Salsa Lentil Soup, and Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Pork.
Not only is salsa full of nutrients, it's tasty and really versatile as well. However, if you are watching the amount of sodium you eat on a daily basis, you might notice that salsa is notoriously high in it.
So instead of forgoing the salsa, I like to make my own so I can control the amount of salt used therefore controlling the amount of sodium in this salsa.
And in my opinion, homemade salsa is hard to beat compared to jarred salsa. (Note that I am not knocking jarred salsa. I always have a few in my pantry, but this homemade salsa recipe low in sodium is nice if you need a salsa that is low in sodium or if you need salsa and don't have it)
This salsa is so simple, and it has only 7 ingredients including salt. It's really inexpensive to make, and you can even make this in the winter when good tomatoes aren't available.
Another bonus: It's quick too! I timed it, and it took me under 9 minutes to make the salsa (preparation time included).
What is Easy Homemade Salsa
This easy homemade salsa recipe is a salsa recipe you can make at home with mostly pantry ingredients so it's budget friendly. And it has almost one-fourth of the sodium in jarred salsa!
Why this low sodium salsa recipe works
The classic ingredients of salsa are hard to beat: tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic and onion. But it's a shame to only be able to enjoy homemade salsa when the tomatoes are ripe and seasonal.
That's why this salsa recipe is fab: because it uses canned tomatoes and other pantry ingredients so you can make this salsa year round.
Another nice thing about this recipe is that it has significantly less sodium that a jar of salsa.
Canned diced tomatoes: It's very important that you buy no salt added diced tomatoes. Otherwise, your salsa will no longer be lower sodium (and it will likely be too salty).
I typically buy whatever diced tomatoes are on sale to always have in the pantry. The great thing about using canned tomatoes in this easy salsa is that you can make this salsa year round and not have to worry about finding fresh, high quality tomatoes.
As noted below in the substitutions, you can also easily use fresh tomatoes in place of the canned. However, I recommend using them only when the tomatoes are in season.
Onion: I simply use a regular yellow onion, but most onions -- including yellow, sweet, or red -- will work. Depending on how much onion you like, you might want to play around with the amounts. I use about 1 cup onions per can of tomatoes. If you are not a big onion fan, use about half of a medium onion or one small onion. You can always add more if desired. [Be sure to wait a few hours before you add more because the onion flavor will develop over time]
Garlic: Regular old garlic cloves that you get at the grocery are what you use here. Nothing fancy. However, if you happen to be out of fresh garlic, simply replace with 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
Cilantro: I know not everyone is a fan of cilantro but it gives your salsa that authentic salsa flavor. Plus, it adds a little freshness to your salsa. You can easily skip it or use parsley in its place.
Jalapeño: The jalapeño is another ingredient, like cilantro, that makes this salsa taste more authentic and fresh, but you can skip it. Or replace it with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Salt: Using a little bit of salt (3/4 teaspoon for the whole recipe unlike the massive amount of salt in many jarred salsas from the grocery store) helps really amp the flavor of your salsa. I've tried using no salt, and it was really quite bland. If you absolutely need it to be no salt, try adding a pinch of sugar to balance the taste of the canned tomatoes.
Lime juice: The acidic flavor of the lime juice helps cut the sweetness of the tomatoes and the sharp onion-jalapeño flavors. You can easily use lemon juice in this salsa, and both will give a fresh flavor to this salsa. However, apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are other great substitutions. I like the option to use vinegar because I always have that in my pantry and don't always have a lemon or lime.
Cost of Homemade Salsa
- No salt added diced tomatoes, 2 cans: $0.99
- Onion, 1 medium: $0.68
- Garlic, 3 cloves: $0.18
- Cilantro, 1/4 cup: $0.24
- Jalapeño, 1 small: $0.20
- Salt, 3/4 tsp: $0.01
- Lime juice, 2 tsp: $0.17
TOTAL COST: $3.46 (Based on San Diego Sprouts 2019) or $0.22/serving
How to Make Homemade Salsa
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Throw everything but the lime juice into a food processor and pulse until it reaches your desired salsa consistency. Then transfer to a bowl, add vinegar, and let sit for a few hours. Enjoy!
In case you need a visual, here is a step by step photo for how to make homemade salsa.
- Add tomatoes (along with their juices), onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, and salt to the food processor.
Pulse until it reaches your desired texture for salsa.
- Transfer to a bowl and add vinegar (or lemon or lime juice).
Refrigerate for at least a few hours to let the flavors come together.
Tips for Making Salsa at Home
This low sodium salsa recipe is great canvas to get you started on perfecting your own perfect homemade salsa. What's nice is that it is easily adaptable to what's in your kitchen and your taste preferences.
Ingredient & Flavor Substitutions
- Fresh tomatoes can be used in this salsa. You'll want to use about 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes.
- For the garlic, you can easily replace the fresh garlic cloves with garlic powder.
- Replace cilantro with parsley or omit fresh herbs altogether if desired.
- Use any type of onion you have on hand: yellow, sweet, or red onion will all work.
- The jalapeño can be omitted for a more mild salsa, or use any other hot pepper. For a pantry option, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes if you don't have a jalapeño. You can also use 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles.
- Lime juice or lemon juice make this a fresher tasting salsa. But if you do not have either, apple cider vinegar and white vinegar will also work.
How to Make Allergy Friendly
No changes need to be made because this recipe is already allergy friendly since it's gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and nut free. It's also vegan, so it's a great recipe to make for parties since everyone can enjoy it.
Alternative Prep & Cooking Methods
If you don't have a blender, you can follow the directions using a blender in it's place. However, be careful not to puree the salsa if using a blender. If you don't want to use (or don't have) a food processor or blender, feel free to dice the onions & tomatoes, mince the garlic, and chop the cilantro to be the size you want in your salsa.
What to do if you make a mistake
- Forgot to buy jalapeño or cilantro: Skip them. Or use one of the substitutions listed above.
- Used too much onion or cilantro: Add extra tomatoes.
- Lacks flavor: Add an extra dash of salt, or if trying to keep this lower in sodium, add extra lemon or lime juice or cilantro or onion or jalapeño depending on the flavor you feel is missing. (For more heat/spice, use jalapeño; brightness, add lemon or lime juice; more herby flavor, add cilantro; intensity, add onion.)
Make Ahead Ideas
Well, salsa is best made ahead. So I recommend making this ahead of time. You can also chop the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro in advance if desired.
Store the salsa in a glass or plastic container as the tomatoes will negatively react to a metal container. This keeps for up to 5-8 days in the fridge, tightly covered. I find that it starts to look a little drab after about 5 days, so I recommend eating it by that time.
Frequently Asked Questions
For most jarred salsas, a 2-tablespoon serving has about 200 to 240mg sodium. And I have never only eaten 2 tablespoons of salsa. So if you're eating about 1/4 cup (or 4 tablespoons), you get 400-500mg sodium in just the condiment. That's a lot if you are trying to limit or moderate your sodium intake.
For this homemade salsa with less sodium, a 4-tablespoon serving has about 115mg sodium.
Follow the recipe below. Note that the serving size is 4 tablespoons and with that, you get around 115mg sodium (almost 1/4 of the sodium in jarred salsa).
Feel free to lower the amount of salt to decrease the sodium even more. Using only 1/2 teaspoon for the entire recipe gives you 78mg sodium per 4 tablespoon serving size. Using 1/4 teaspoon for the entire recipe gives you 41mg sodium for each serving.
Nutrition benefits of this low sodium salsa recipe
The beauty of salsa is that it is made up of mostly veggies so it adds vitamins, minerals and fiber to your meals when used as a condiment. It is also a great way to add flavor and nutrients without having to add a bunch of butter, oil, salt, or other less-nutrient rich ingredient.
Plus, this salsa is lower in sodium, so it's great for those that want to enjoy salsa without the massive amounts of sodium.
What to serve with this recipe
Chips, of course! But additionally, you can add the salsa to almost anything. Some of my favorites include Breakfast Tostadas, Taco Salad, Chicken Quesadilla, Loaded Nachos, Tofu Soft Taco, and California Breakfast Burger -- even though I know I could name dozens more.
This is one of those recipes I come back to time and time again because it's simple, takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, can be modified based on what I have in my kitchen, and doesn't usually require I take a trip to the grocery store.
MORE LOW SODIUM RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE:
Easy Homemade Salsa Recipe
Low Sodium Salsa
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans no-salt added diced tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can no salt added tomatoes
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley
- 1 small jalapeño diced
- 3/4 tsp salt *see notes
- 2 tsp lime juice or lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the tomatoes with their juice, onion, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeño. Pulse until it reaches the consistency you prefer for your salsa.
- Transfer to a plastic or glass bowl, and stir in the salt and vinegar or lime juice.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, so the flavors can do their thang. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Enjoy with chips, over omelets, with fish or chicken, the options are endless
This post was originally published May 2, 2012. Text, recipe, and photos have been updated.
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