Basic Salsa Fresca or Cruda

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Preparation info

  • Makes about

    1¼ cups

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

The simplest of the salsas (and the most familiar to us all) is the classic New World combination of tomatoes, onions, chiles, and garlic, to which other seasonings can be added as desired. The basic recipe follows, along with some suggested additions. You can certainly eat this straight out of the bowl with tortilla chips, but you can also use it to top various cooked foods. I’ve given some recipes; I hope they’ll open up your mind to the possibilities.


  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced (about ¾ pound)
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced, seeded serrano chile, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Drops of lime or lemon juice to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Combine all the ingredients in a mixing or serving bowl, and set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Before using the salsa, taste it and add more of any of the seasonings you think are needed. Store covered in the refrigerator. For best flavor, eat within 1 day, but it can be stored for as long as 3. (Use your judgment here.) You can easily multiply the quantities to make more.