It’s been several years since I first posted my roasted salsa recipe, but what’s worth doing once is worth doing again. Especially when it saves money!
For the next five days I’m going to be completely offline — The Tako family is going camping in the mountains without access to the internet. I won’t be posting to Mr. Tako Escapes on my regular schedule …
But don’t fret — This should give you plenty of time to roast-up some delicious homemade roasted salsa!
Roasted salsa is one of those things that’s just better when done at home. I’ve been making my own salsa for nearly a decade now. That’s right — almost a decade without buying a single jar of store bought salsa. There is truly no comparison. Homemade is just better, especially when all the ingredients are fresh and in season.
With just a little effort you too can produce a delicious roasted salsa at 1/5th the cost of store bought salsa. On top of tasting fantastic, it might even help you achieve financial independence a little bit sooner!
Why DIY Roasted Salsa?
According to the latest survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spends $6,759 per year on food. That’s a significant amount of money!
After housing, transportation and healthcare, food is one of our biggest expenses. Almost anything we can do to squeeze extra savings from this number is worth it. Especially if it tastes awesome!!!
Let me be frank — Store bought salsa is crap. The stuff you find in the U.S. grocery stores tastes like ragù sauce (if it has any flavor at all). The more expensive brands even have the audacity to charge $5 for a 16oz jar. That’s $5 per pound. Outrageous!!!
What’s the big deal? Why do I think store bought salsa is so damn expensive?
To understand, let’s ponder the main components of salsa:
- Tomatoes – $0.99/lb
- Onions – $0.45/lb
- Jalapeños – $0.99/lb
None of the major components cost more than $1 per pound. This kind of thing makes me crazy … What could possibly cause the store-bought salsa to cost $5/lb? The Jar? Labor? Fancy labels and marketing? Profit margins? It’s not hard to imagine, but probably some combination of them all.
Whatever the reason, if you are willing to put in one hour of work (or less) you can create delicious salsa…far better than anything at the store. It’s easy to make, and the cost is a mere $1/lb!!!
Tis the Season for Salsa
Right around this time of year all the major components for a salsa go ‘on-sale’. It’s like mana from heaven. Fresh tomatoes, spicy chilis and delicious onions fresh from the field. It’s a bargain of heavenly delights provided by mother nature — So let’s use this seasonal abundance to our advantage! Pick-up fresh salsa ingredients at your local mega-mart when they’re loss leaders. (No point in paying more than necessary!)
Here’s what your going to need:
- Tomatoes: 2-3 lbs.
- Yellow Onions: 2 (large). Or sweet onions if you prefer less heat.
- Jalapeño (or other) Peppers: It varies (how spicy do you want it?).
- Garlic: Approx 3-5 large cloves.
- Cilantro: 1 small bundle (optional).
- Smoked Dried Chilis: 3 (optional). Find in the ‘Mexican section’ of your local mega-mart.
- Salt: To taste.
The recipe can scale to any size you like. (It’s good to start with a small batch if it’s your first time.)
Once you’ve collected all the ingredients, you’ll need to clean and break down the components into smaller chunks for roasting. (For those that are curious – I use a 10-inch Shun Chef’s knife)
Roasting is where the magic happens, and the flavors change into something…amazing. Some people fire roast, but i just broil the ingredients using the oven in a Pyrex baking dish. Any large flat-ish pan would work great as well. Add the Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, and Jalapeños. Broil at 450F for approximately 30 minutes. Here’s the before and after:
At this point, everything is piping hot. Wait for the roasted components to cool a little. They should be a reasonable temperature before adding to the blender.
When ready, add the the roasted and fresh ingredients to your blender. Now is the time to add the salt, any cilantro you might be using, or any dried chilis.
Then blend the mixture! (Any blender will do…no need for a fancy Ninja or Vitamix blender.)
You can either roughly blend for a very chunky salsa, or blend until it runs smooth like hot sauce. However you like your salsa!
Make Extra, It’s Worth It!
When making roasted salsa, it doesn’t make sense to make a small batch. Make a big batch instead!
Once you get some confidence in your kick-ass-salsa-making ability, you can start making really big batches. It doesn’t keep forever, so you’ll need to store your delicious salsa.
Rather than canning salsa and killing the magnificent flavor, I freeze mine in air-tight locking glass containers. They won’t leak or break in the freezer, and no strange freezer tastes either.
If you make several different “heat” levels like I do, be sure to label it well.
To assist everyone, I’ve put together a video of the whole process. Enjoy! I certainly had fun making it!
The Superior Results Speak For Themselves
The results really do speak for themselves. If you’ve done everything right, it tastes far better than anything you’ll find in a jar.
For less than the cost of a single $5 jar I can produce around 70 oz. of salsa (roughly 4.5 jars worth). Think of this as paying yourself $20/hr for better tasting food. What a bargain!
That’s a tradeoff I’ll make any day.
Is there anything you DIY in the kitchen that saves TONs of money? Let me know about it in the comments….