This salsa roja is an incredibly delicious homemade treat that only takes a few minutes to roast the vegetables and prepare! Leave it coarse or blend it to a smooth consistency, whichever way you like it! I like to finish my salsa in a cast iron skillet for an amazing flavor boost to this better than restaurant quality salsa!
Easy Roasted Salsa Roja Recipe
I have one person in the household that prefers the smooth option for salsas over a nice chunky salsa, either way, it will still be absolutely tasty! Make this easy restaurant-quality salsa chunky or smooth, based on your preferences.
I've included multiple options below for how to get your salsa vegetables roasted. Note that you can also combine the raw ingredients, blend until chunky or smooth, and roast them in a skillet.
🥘 Salsa Roja Ingredients
This salsa is loaded with fresh veggies! Stop by your produce department (or your garden) and you're good to go!
- Tomatoes - 2 large tomatoes.
- Pepper - ½ of a sweet pepper such as yellow, orange, or red bell pepper.
- Garlic - 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic.
- Onion - ¼ of an onion. Feel free to add more!
- Jalapeno - ½ of a jalapeno. To reduce the heat, make sure to remove the seeds!
- Cilantro - ½ cup of fresh, chopped cilantro.
- Lime Juice - 2 teaspoons of lime juice.
- Salt - A pinch of coarse salt.
*Be sure to see the free printable recipe card below for ingredients, exact amounts & instructions with tips!*
🔪 How To Make Salsa Roja
This recipe is super simple to make! I have instructions below for roasting in the oven, on the grill, in the smoker, or skipping the roasting stage altogether! Grab a food processor and a baking pan to get started!
You'll end up with 6 servings of salsa roja, so you may want to double the batch depending on how much you enjoy salsa!
Roasted Salsa Roja
- Slice the veggies. To get started, prepare your vegetables (2 tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, ½ of a pepper, ½ of a jalapeno, and ¼ of an onion) by slicing them evenly (*see note).
- Prepare your baking sheet. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the sliced vegetables with the skin side up.
- Preheat. Set your oven to broil (on high, if you have that option) and set your oven rack so that it is approximately 8 inches from the broiler.
- Roast. Once hot, broil the vegetables for about 6-8 minutes. Then, turn them and broil another 6-8 minutes (*alternate roasting methods are listed below).
- Mix. Peel the roasted garlic and veggies, ½ cup of cilantro, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and a pinch of salt in your food processor or blender, blitz until roughly chopped or blended until smooth, depending on your preferences (*see note).
- Taste and adjust. Finally, taste and add more lime juice or salt, if needed. Refrigerate the salsa, or serve immediately.
Salsa Roja Without Roasting
- Blend. If you want to skip roasting the salsa ingredients, combine using the food processor or blender instructions above and transfer to a large skillet or frying pan. *A cast iron skillet is recommended, but not necessary!
- Cook and stir. Toast over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8 -10 minutes. You should see the salsa deepen in color, especially if using raw ingredients. Your roasted, grilled, or smoked salsa ingredients can also be finished off in a skillet!
📖 Alternate Roasting Methods
Roasting With A Grill
If you already have the grill out, this is a great way to get that roasted flavor! Using your grill adds an amazing amount of flavor, and is my first choice during the summer months.
Use a grill pan or aluminum foil to set the vegetables on. Turn your vegetables at the 3 - 4 minute mark to get an even dark browned appearance. Grill for about 8 - 10 minutes, or until they are nicely charred. *You may need to work in batches to get all of your vegetables ready.
Roasting With A Smoker
Or, if you have a smoker, place your vegetables on a piece of aluminum foil or in a baking dish. Let the vegetables smoke at medium heat for about three hours.
Please note, that if you use this option your onion will have a more subtle flavor. I suggest using a whole onion if smoking. Then begin with half an onion, adding more of your smoked onion to the salsa as needed.
💭 Tips & Notes
- Slice vegetables so that they are roughly the same size to roast them evenly, and leave the garlic cloves unpeeled.
- The vegetables should have a nice charred and blistered appearance when ready to remove from the oven. Remove vegetables that are done before the others, if necessary.
- Instead of a food processor, you can use a mortar and pestle. Peel your garlic cloves and tomatoes. Place the coarse salt, vegetables, and cilantro in the bowl of your mortar. Grind the ingredients to your desired consistency, then add lime juice.
- To store: Keep your salsa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
The spice in this dish is completely customizable! If you want milder salsa, make sure you remove the seeds from the jalapeno. Additionally, you can reduce the jalapeno (or add more!)
The term 'salsa roja' literally means red sauce. It is what comes to mind when you think about salsa!
In fact, it is just a red salsa (made with tomatoes) and can be prepared using either cooked or raw ingredients.
In short, 'salsa' is just a broad term that could include any kind of salsa (including green) whereas salsa roja is only the red variety.
If you prepared your salsa in the blender, there is a chance it has more of a pink color. This is due to the air that gets added when blended.
Don't worry! It still tastes exactly the same!
🥣 Easy Homemade Dip Recipes
- Horseradish Sauce For Prime Rib - This zesty sauce is so incredibly delicious that you'll never enjoy prime rib without it again!
- Cajun Dipping Sauce - You can dip anything from fries to chicken in this Cajun dipping sauce to satisfy every craving!
- Taco Bell Creamy Baja Sauce - This incredibly popular sauce is perfect for any of your favorite Tex-Mex dishes!
- Salsa Verde - This delicious salsa is made using tomatillos instead of traditional red tomatoes!
- Guacamole - Classic guacamole is the perfect sidekick to your tasty salsa roja!
- Rotel Dip - This amazingly addicting dip features beef, Velveeta, and Rotel!
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📖 Recipe Card
Roasted Salsa Roja
- 2 large tomatoes
- ½ sweet pepper (yellow, orange, or red bell pepper - or use ½ a serrano pepper)
- 2 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
- ¼ onion (more, to taste, if roasted or smoked)
- ½ jalapeno pepper (take out seeds to reduce the heat, if desired)
- ½ cup cilantro (chopped)
- 2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 pinch salt (coarse salt is recommended)
- Roast your vegetables in the oven by broiling 8 inches below the broiler: layer your vegetables evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, including cut tomatoes (in half, so that they are arranged skin side up), sweet bell pepper (or serrano pepper), unpeeled garlic cloves, onion, and jalapeno pepper.2 large tomatoes, ½ sweet pepper, 2 cloves garlic, ½ jalapeno pepper, ¼ onion
- Broil on high setting (if available) for about 6-8 minutes, turn and broil another 6-8 minutes or until your vegetables get a nice, charred appearance. Remove vegetables that are charred faster than the others, if necessary. Broil until all vegetables are slightly charred and blistered. *Alternate roasting methods are noted above in the post.
- You can combine all of the ingredients in a food processor (after peeling the garlic) and give it a few quick blitzes to leave it rough chopped, or combine until smooth (if desired). If using a mortar and pestle, combine the roasted vegetables after peeling the skin off of the tomatoes and garlic. Grind the vegetables together with the coarse salt, then add rough chopped cilantro and lime juice.½ cup cilantro, 2 teaspoon lime juice, 1 pinch salt
- If using a mortar and pestle, combine the roasted vegetables after peeling the skin off of the tomatoes and garlic. Grind the vegetables together with the coarse salt, then add rough chopped cilantro and lime juice.
- Either way, taste and add more lime juice or salt as needed.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!