Salsa roja is a staple in Mexican cuisine and rightfully so. It is so flavorful, bright, and delicious drizzled on all the things. Growing up there was always a salsa roja on the table for whatever meal it may have been. My abuelita always made sure there were plenty of options and knew we all had preference on what kind of salsa we wanted. Her salsa roja was always so dang good and I could never understand why or how. Until now. She always roasted the veggies for her salsas. Ok, maybe not always but definitely most of the time. The flavor was so ridiculously good and the little specks of roasted burnt pieces of the veggies really made it special.
As I mentioned previously, roasted the veggies for this salsa roja is key. With that said, you don’t have to do it and can certainly boil everything. However, trust me on this one. Roasting any veggie always brings out an intense flavor that is only brought out by the slight char done only by roasting. You can either place all of the veggies on a sheet pan and place it under the broiler for a few minutes on each side or you can use a skillet to roast them. I would recommend a cast iron or a griddle of some kind to do this on the stove. To me, broiling in the oven is just easiest and quickest.
What can you use salsa roja for? Everything! We always had salsa in the fridge for any situation. Add it to your eggs in the morning, top your tacos with it, dip your quesadillas in it. Eat it with chips, pour some in a big bowl of fideo or on top of your rice. You can certainly swap it for any recipe that calls for a red salsa and make it your own. Sometimes I like to use it as a base for a simple steak and potatoes dinner. It would be perfect for this bistec con papas, (steak and potato), recipe found here. This salsa roja is going to be a staple in your house so you might as well double the batch!
- 5 roma tomatoes
- 1-2 jalapenos or serranos *see note
- ½ onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- cilantro optional
- ¼-½ cup water **see notes
- ½ tsp salt
- Set oven to broil if broiling. ***See notes if roasting veggies stovetop in skillet.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and the onion into quarters. Cut the jalapenos in half and scrape out seeds and veins if less spicy salsa desired.
- Place everything on sheet pan, minus cilantro, and broil for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Check the veggies at 3 minutes to ensure they don't burn. You want a good char but not burnt veggies. Remove the garlic cloves do they don't burn. Flip veggies over and broil for another 3-5 minutes.
- Place all of the veggies, (and cilantro if using), water, and salt in a food processor and process until desired consistency. I like to leave mine a little chunky. You can also use a blender and just pulse to blend to desired consistency. Adjust salt to taste.