This Fresh Garden Salsa recipe with fresh tomatoes and jalapenos is made with homegrown ingredients straight from your garden or the farmer’s market. Serve with nachos for a healthy snack.

Bowl of garden salsa with nachos

Do you grow a vegetable garden?

I used to plant tomatoes and jalapenos back when I had the room. First in my parents’ backyard then when I lived at an apartment with a yard.

Unfortunately I don’t have access to a yard where I live now, so the next best thing is buying produce from the local farmer’s market.

Any time I have homegrown tomatoes, especially when picked right off the plant, I love making this Fresh Garden Salsa recipe.

It’s the easiest tomato salsa recipe to make. All you do is chop, add everything to a saucepan, then cook until thickened.

Depending on fast you can dice, your homemade garden salsa can be ready in under an hour.

I learned how to make this fresh garden salsa recipe from scratch back in my high school cooking class, which means I’ve been making this for probably over 20 years now.

Talk about a tried and true recipe!

Serve your fresh garden salsa with nachos for a healthy snack or as an appetizer for cinco de mayo.

White bowl of salsa surrounded by nachos

Ingredients For Garden Fresh Salsa

To make your recipe for fresh garden salsa, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Fresh tomatoes: The best tomatoes for salsa are ones considered meaty, such as beefsteak or Roma. Heirloom tomatoes will work too.
  • Jalapeno: Adding jalapeno seeds is totally up to you. It’s what makes the salsa spicy, so if you love heat add them. If you don’t, leave them out.
  • Onion: Use white or yellow onion.
  • Garlic: An aromatic that adds flavor.
  • Tomato sauce: This is unseasoned canned tomato puree, not to be confused with spaghetti sauce.
  • Tomato paste: This helps thicken the salsa as it cooks.
  • Vinegar: The acidity really makes the salsa pop.
  • Salt: Salt really brings out the tomato flavor. If you’re unsure, try eating a slice with salt sprinkled on it then compare it to an unsalted slice. Which one tastes better?

Do you have to peel tomatoes for salsa?

No, you don’t have to peel tomatoes for this salsa. One less thing for you to prep.

Do you take seeds out of tomatoes for salsa?

Yes, take the seeds out of your tomatoes. It helps keep your salsa from becoming too watery and also helps remove some bitterness.

White bowl with red salsa

How To Make Fresh Garden Salsa

To make this fresh garden salsa recipe from scratch, add your tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, and salt to a large saucepan with a lid.

Bring the salsa mixture to a boil then turn the heat down to simmer and cover with a lid.

A lid not only helps your salsa cook faster, it helps prevent splashing all over your stove. Trust me – it’d get messy without one.

Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with nachos or chill it for a few hours. I prefer it warm, but I’m not going to say no to cold either.

Can you used canned tomatoes for garden salsa?

I’ve made homemade garden salsa with both fresh and canned tomatoes.

Of course fresh will always be preferred (especially with heirloom tomatoes as demonstrated with my homemade tomato soup), but because the salsa is cooked down, canned is acceptable.

That way you can have garden fresh salsa any day of the year, even in the winter.

You can also make Tomatillo Red Chili Salsa from XOXO Bella with canned tomatoes.

What To Serve With Fresh Garden Salsa

Eat your fresh garden salsa recipe with nachos or stir it into some homemade queso to make salsa con queso.

Serve it as an appetizer for Crockpot Beef Enchiladas, Steak Fajitas, or Chicken Fajita Salad.

Use your salsa as an ingredient in Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken, Salsa Chicken Enchiladas, and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps.

Hosting a cinco de mayo dinner? Serve Frozen Mango Margaritas to drink.

This fresh garden salsa recipe also makes a great tomato sauce when you toss it with some pasta. I prefer tortellini (a cheap meal back from my college days), but spaghetti works well too.

Fresh Garden Salsa Recipe

Fresh Garden Salsa Recipe

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Fresh Garden Salsa recipe is made with fresh tomatoes and jalapenos you can use from your garden or the farmer’s market.


  • 1 pound fresh Roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced (roughly 2 cups) (or substitute one 15 ounce canned diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 1 large jalapeno, diced (seeds optional, depending on heat level)
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 oz) canned tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) canned tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably kosher)


  1. In a large saucepan add tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, garlic, sauce, paste, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, turn the heat down to simmer. Cover and cook until thickened, stirring ocassionally, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool 15 minutes. Serve warm with nachos or refrigerate until cold.


Did you make this recipe?

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Originally published May 6, 2012