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Summer is by far my favorite season.  A lot of people (in NC anyway) complain about the heat and humidity, and they are always wistfully thinking back to spring or wistfully looking forward to fall.  I like spring.  I like fall.  I LOVE summer.  Winter can go eff itself. 

One of the things I enjoy most about summer is its wonderful bounty of tomatoes, peppers, squashes, peaches, and so on.  And no matter what your favorite season if you like/eat tomatoes then you know they are effing amazing during the summer.  Like I will buy large containers of the delicious little guys at the grocery store every time I go shopping, whether I need them or not.  And then sometimes I end up with too many summer tomatoes (who knew that was possible?!).

One day, not too long ago…yesterday maybe…I looked at my basket o’ tomatoes and saw the very early stages of wrinkliness (my word processor is telling me that is not a word, but I choose to disagree) and decided they must be used quickly.  Well it just so happens that chips and salsa is a favorite snack in this house, so I thought “why not make a fresh homemade salsa!”  So I did a little research online and found that most recipes called for canned tomatoes.  I was a bit shocked honestly.  Many of the recipes said that it helped the texture of the salsa immensely to use the canned tomatoes.  Again, shocked.  Given what I’ve already mentioned about the wonderful flavor of fresh summer tomatoes, I was not 100% behind this recommendation.

While I had a good many tomatoes that required quick use before going bad, I didn’t have quite enough to make a big batch of salsa.  So I decided to grab a can of tomatoes with green chiles to add as a base for the salsa and work in the other fresh ingredients.  It turned out perfect.  I readily admit my folly at being shocked (and self-report snobbishness) about canned tomatoes in salsa. 


  • 1 – 14.5 oz can of tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 handfuls of fresh summer grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 of one large onion sliced (I used a yellow onion, but I think red would be good too)
  • 1 jalapeno roughly chopped
  • 2 Tobago peppers** roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

** Tobago peppers are heat-less habanero peppers.  If you’ve never heard of them, I’m not surprised at all.  J and I found them at a farm in Pittsboro, NC and then bought a ton of them at the Abundance Foundation Pepper Festival last year (this year’s festival is right around the corner).  I saved some of the seeds from the peppers, dried them, and kept them until planting mid-spring.  I can’t believe how lucky I was at my first time saving and growing from seeds, but every small cup had seedlings growing out of them.  I currently have 5 Tobago pepper plants in our garden 🙂 

For this recipe, feel free to substitute regular habanero peppers with the seeds and ribs removed (removing the seeds and ribs doesn’t mean this won’t be spicy though, so be careful) or simply add a bit more jalapeno.  Otherwise you could add in some bell pepper or poblano to keep your salsa on the milder side.



In a food processor add the canned tomatoes and chiles, onion, peppers, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, juice of one lime and salt and pepper.


I like restaurant style salsa, so I pureed it until smooth.  If you’re a fan of chunky salsa, then just pulse the ingredients until you reach the consistency you want.


And you are done!  It literally takes maybe 5 minutes to make and is better than store bought.  Plus – no preservatives.  Boom.