Authentic Homemade Mexican Salsa
This simple salsa recipe will show you how to make salsa with yellow peppers using an authentic Mexican salsa recipe. A full cooking video and written instructions are included along with a complete picture gallery.
Prep Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Cook Time: None!
Total Time: 20 to 30 minutes
The picture I see in my mind is of my father, crouching down by the fire. Surrounding him is the smell of the smoke from the campfire and the rich smell of steaks as they sizzle on the grill. The air smells fresh and cool from the water of the lake. The air is scented with pine from the pine trees that surround us. Lake Roberts. My dad has taken my sister and I on the annual pilgrimage…the family camping trip that happens every summer. Every summer anywhere from 12 to 40 of my closest Mexican relatives make the trek across New Mexico from El Paso, Texas, where my father was raised, to lake where we would hike, fish, play poker and, most importantly, eat.
We all had many responsibilities while we were there, but my father was always the cook. Being his firstborn, I quite naturally became his personal sous chef. We made this salsa recipe throughout the year, but, whenever I make it now, it reminds me of these childhood trips with my father because it was the gold standard accompaniment to my father’s wonderful campfire-grilled cooking.
A simple recipe that requires no cooking and is easily customizable to your taste and temperature preferences, this recipe makes a perfect compliment to all kinds of meals.
Let’s get cooking!
NOTE: All measurements listed are approximate. Neither my grandmother, my father nor myself have ever used exact measurements, though I have gone to the trouble of figuring them out here for the purposes of giving this recipe to you. As always, adjust it for your taste preferences!
- 6 to 8 Yellow Wax Peppers (depending on your temperature preferences—6 is fairly mild, 8 is fairly spicy)
- 2 Bunches of Green Onions (around 1 cup chopped)
- 6 Large Roma Tomatoes (around 2 ½ to 3 cups chopped)
- 4 Medium Cloves Fresh Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1 tsp. Oregano Leaves
- ½ tsp. Pepper (more if you like it spicier)
- Dice 6 to 8 yellow wax peppers into very small pieces: Dicing all of the vegetables small helps the salsa to have an even flavor and temperature. NOTE: Be very careful when working with these peppers with your bare hands; your hands will be fine, but don’t touch your eyes! For a funny personal story to emphasize the importance of this, click here: Warning—Yellow Peppers are Hot!
- Dice 6 large roma tomatoes into very small pieces: Once again, dicing small helps to even out flavor. It’s also important to know that the tomatoes are primarily responsible for dampening the temperature of the peppers. If you end up with a salsa that’s too hot for your tastes, add a few more tomatoes—it will bring down the temperature.
- Dice 2 bunches of green onions into small pieces: This work is most easily accomplished with a large chopping knife. However, be careful. Most of the finger cuts I’ve received while cooking come from chopping green onions!
- Mince 4 medium cloves of garlic: The smaller these can be cut the better. You can also use jarred, or even dried, garlic to save time. Of course, fresh is always the best for flavor.
- Drop all of the vegetables in a bowl and mix them up, adding about a ½ cup of water: A little water added to the salsa helps to blend the flavors of the spices and vegetables. Be careful not to add too much since, while it won’t affect the flavor too much, it will result in a watery salsa.
- Add the spices and mix it all up: As mentioned earlier, I’ve never actually measured the spices before the creation of this recipe. I just took the shakers and spiced it up. Since you will be starting with this recipe, I think the best approach would be to start with the measurements suggested here, but then immediately alter them to cater to your own taste preferences.
- Ideally, refrigerate it overnight, though it can be served immediately: Overnight refrigeration gives all of the spices time to absorb into the vegetables, creating a somewhat deeper richness to the flavor. Still, there’s no harm at all in serving it right away—I usually can’t resist at least a few chips full!
A Comical Warning!
Once, when I was preparing this salsa at camp, I suddenly found myself needing to use the restroom. In the woods, of course, the restroom is just a few trees away. Having gone and returned, I suddenly found myself rather uncomfortable—while it will not bother your hands, yellow peppers cause intense burning on sensitive areas of the skin… While the burning likely only lasted fifteen to twenty minutes, my memory places the experience at more like several hours.
Moral: Thoroughly wash your hands after working with yellow peppers—and be careful!
If you were to make this recipe, how would you most likely use it?
Because this salsa is eaten uncooked, the flavor is very fresh, making it ideal for adding to foods that can take advantage of this:
Chip Dip: My very favorite way to eat this salsa is on tortilla chips. This allows the flavor to resound without any influence from other flavors mixed in. Served as salsa and chips, this continues to be among the favorites of family and friends for parties, dinner appetizers and potlucks.
Nachos: Used instead of traditional jarred or canned salsa, this recipe adds a wonderful fresh zing to the other traditional nacho toppings. Try it for a great variation on this well-loved meal.
Tacos: This salsa retains its unique flavor when added to the top of tacos instead of other canned or jarred salsas, making a wonderful fresh addition.
Fajitas: My family is not very fond of bell peppers and onions, so fajitas are generally out. With this in mind, I tried preparing the chicken mixed up with this yellow pepper salsa instead, and the results were marvelous. I’m back to eating fajitas again—at least, the ones that come from my own kitchen, anyway.
Steak Garnish: I love a grilled steak, and they were a staple for our last big meal at camp. A finely grilled steak with a bit of this on the top is heaven indeed.