Home ยป Grilled Salsa Roja

Grilled Salsa Roja

Fresh tomatoes, onion, chile peppers, and garlic create this simple fresh salsa with a subtle smoky flavor that tops any store-bought salsa! Easily adapted to be as spicy or mild as you prefer, this salsa is sure to become a fan favorite!


We have spent the past few days in crazy hot Atlanta visiting our new nephew! His moms too 🙂 He is perfection and we’ve enjoyed the snuggles very much. We’ve made our way through the city, visiting a few hot spots — Sloomoo Slime Institute (mostly an eye roll) and The 3rd Spot, along with my second visit to the Chatachoochee Food Works. Our travel was uneventful which is more than can be expected when flying in at the same time as former President Trump who reported for his mug shot and booking in Atlanta. Oh my. 

It sounds like Harlie is in good hands back home and we’re gearing up for the first day of school for our 1st and 3rd graders. It’s sad to see summer come to an end, but it was a beautiful trip to wrap it up and we are looking forward to the holiday weekend up soon. I’m sure our garden has gone gangbusters being gone this time of year and we’ll likely be whipping up another batch of this salsa.


  • Garden Yield: Some years, those tomato plants and jalapeno peppers go wild and produce a ton of fresh produce. Or there’s a sale on tomatoes you just can’t pass up! This salsa is the perfect way to use those fresh ingredients and make into a flavorful salsa!
  • No Prep: There is NO prep time on this homemade salsa. The only thing you have to do is prepare the grill. 
  • Grill Masters: Sometimes it’s fun (and healthy!) to step away from the meat and find new and unique ways to use the grill and cook over an open flame, whether it be a gas grill or charcoal grill. If you’re not a grill master, rest assured. This recipe is nearly fool-proof and there’s truly no right or wrong way to prepare this fire-roasted salsa.


  • Tomatoes: A medium tomato is about 7-8 ounces or roughly 1/2 pound and a large tomato is roughly 8-10 ounces. You’ll need a total of 3 1/2 pounds of tomatoes, of whatever size and variety you’d like. You can definitely use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, but will either need to place them in a grill or grill pan, or skewer them. Since that’s added work, I prefer plum tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, or another mid-sized tomato. If you can get roughly the same size, it makes for more uniform grilling, however that is completely unnecessary.
  • Jalapeños: This chile is most traditional, however for a milder salsa, you can use poblano pepper or if you prefer spicier salsa, you can use serrano peppers, habanero peppers, or even ghost chiles. Whatever you prefer!
  • Onion: A yellow or white onion is preferred, however a red onion is fine to use. If you do not like onion, feel free to omit and/or replace with an additional 1-2 tomatoes.
  • Garlic: It’s easiest to grill a whole head (bulb) of garlic and the garlic cloves are easiest to remove if you chop off the pointed end of the garlic bulb, exposing just a bit of the garlic flesh. The garlic cloves will soften as they grill and can generally be squeezed from the papery skin. By grilling the whole bulb, you can start with 4-5 cloves and add as you prefer.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro is key to a delicious blended salsa! While not everyone loves the taste of cilantro and it can certainly be left out, I do find it to be the key ingredient in this homemade salsa recipe.
  • Salt: A bit of salt brings out the flavor of all of the ingredients and you’ll find that without, the flavor is not enhanced. You can try with less salt or a salt substitute, if you prefer. Any salt will do – Kosher, sea salt, Himalayan, etc — as it will be pureed.
  • Lime: Fresh lime juice brings a freshness to this recipe and the acidity balances the sweet tomatoes and savory onion and garlic. Lime juice can also work to preserve the salsa some, particularly if you plan to can or freeze the salsa (see below). Lime juice concentrate will work, as well.


  • Naturally gluten-freedairy-free, vegan, and low carb
  • Made of 100% whole foods
  • Tomatoes are very high in lycopene, an antioxidant that has loads of science to support its fight against prostate cancer, as well as cancers and can protect heart health while helping to prevent sunburns, as well!


This recipes makes a lot! How I can I use this leftover salsa other than serving with chips or used as traditional salsa would be used?

This salsa is so good it’s sure to go quick, however any leftovers can be frozen (see below), or used in other recipes such as chilaquileschicken enchiladaschicken burrito bowlsMexican rice and chicken skillet, or slow cooker chicken tacos.

Can I freeze this salsa?

Yes! Thicker salsa freezes better, so I would recommend simmering for 30 minutes or so to reduce and slightly thicken. Allow to cool and freeze in Tupperware or even better, freeze in an ice tray for easy storage and thawing. You can thaw in the fridge overnight, or again simmer on the stovetop over low heat, stirring often.

Should I prepare my grill grates?

You can wipe down your grates with olive oil or coat the tomatoes and peppers in olive oil, if you prefer. I’ve found that it doesn’t make a huge different and there will definitely be a bit of grate clean up after cooking, but nothing that a grill brush doesn’t easily rid of. Therefore, I’ve stopped using oil of any kind.

I can’t handle too much heat! Can I still make this recipe?

Be sure you use jalapeño peppers and not serrano chiles which are significantly hotter. You can start with 1/2 of a pepper and even remove the seeds and membrane after grilling and cooling slightly. You can always add additional heat but you can’t take it away, so start with 1/2 pepper and add from there, blending well after each addition.


  • If you prefer a chunky salsa, you can pulse in the blender or food processor versus blending. It’s best to add the onion, jalapenos, garlic, and salt to puree smooth before adding the tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice to then pulse a couple of times to your desired consistency.
  • The best flavor comes after sitting overnight in the fridge, stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
  • This salsa makes a great gift for neighbors and friends! Pour into cute mason jars and share this roasted salsa recipe with those you wish to spoil!
  • Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. I prefer a traditional corn tortilla chip and nothing flavored or seasoned so that I can enjoy the flavors of the salsa!

Grilled Salsa Roja

Grilled Salsa Roja

Yield: 7 cups (about 28 servings, 1/4 cup each)
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

Fresh tomatoes, onion, chile peppers, and garlic create this simple fresh salsa with a subtle smoky flavor that tops any store-bought salsa!


  • 7-8 medium/large tomatoes (about 3.5 lbs total)
  • 1-3 jalapenos (1 for mild, 2 for medium, 3 for hot)
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head (bulb) garlic, pointed top cut off
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 lime


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic on the grill and grill for 10-15 minutes, turning 1-2 times.
  3. Remove tomatoes, onion, and garlic from the grill. Chop off the stem of the peppers and remove 4-5 cloves of garlic from the bulb and transfer to a blender along with any accumulated juices.
  4. Add the cilantro, salt, and lime juice; blend until smooth. Adjust with more garlic, cilantro, and salt, if needed.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 28 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 14Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 0.7gFiber: 1gSugar: 0.3gProtein: 0.5g

Did you make this recipe?

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Fire up the grill with some of my favorites!

Be well,

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