A few weeks ago, my sister sent me hundreds of tomatoes from her garden. I’ve never, ever seen a garden produce such an abundance of tomatoes. I was determined to come up with several ways to use up as many of the tomatoes as possible before they went bad (which, by the way, is a very challenging thing to do when you don’t have the ability to can the tomatoes). I have made fresh tomato salsas several times before, but I was interested in coming up with a cooked salsa that I could freeze to preserve for a little longer (also, I love the flavor of roasted vegetable salsas).
After quite a bit of experimenting and dozens of batches of salsa (my family hasn’t minded, I promise!) I’ve come up with the PERFECT roasted salsa. We are eating this on everything.
I love it because I don’t have to chop dozens of vegetables (cutting a few tomatoes and peppers in half only takes a few minutes) and it tastes very much like Tex-Mex restaurant salsas. We can’t eat jarred salsa anymore. I’ve ruined us.
My 8 year old, while chowing down on a batch of salsa, still hot from the oven, declared that this salsa was his favorite salsa ever…AND a great way to get kids to eat more vegetables. Yes, we’ve been eating a ton of vegetables these last few weeks and we’re loving it.
Roasted Tomato Salsa
- About 10 large garden tomatoes
- 1-2 large green bell peppers
- 4-5 fresh jalapeno peppers
- 1 yellow onion (red works well, too)
- 2-3 bunches of green onions
- 1 large dried ancho chile pepper (ie, dried Poblano pepper) or 2 smaller ancho chiles (see note)
- 6 whole cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
- 1 large handful of fresh cilantro (see note)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 3-4 Tablespoons lime juice
- Wash all of your vegetables. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side down in a large glass baking dish.
- Cut jalapeno peppers in half, remove the stem and scrape out seeds if desired (I always leave some of the seeds in). Add them to the baking dish with the tomatoes.
- Cut bell peppers in fourths, removing seeds and stem and add them to the baking dish.
- Cut onions into fourths (don’t separate layers) and add them to the baking dish.
- Add peeled, whole cloves of garlic.
- Roast vegetables, uncovered, in the 450-degree oven for 45 minutes. Veggies will be browned and there will be a lot of liquid in the pan.
- Let the roasted vegetables cool for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, add the dried ancho chile to a bowl of hot water and let soak for the same amount of time.
- After the chile has soaked, remove it from the water and cut the stem off. I typically rinse the seeds out of the middle and then cut the child into four pieces.
- Using a large slotted spoon to drain the liquid, scoop out the vegetables and put them into a blender or food processor (I have to do this in two batches – don’t worry about getting equal amounts of everything in each batch, since it will all be mixed in the end).
- Add cilantro (washed but whole – stems are good!), ancho chile pieces, lime juice, salt and pepper to the roasted veggies in the food processor and blend until there are no longer large chunks of vegetables. You may have to use your slotted spoon to grab veggies that don’t want to break up the first time around. Just add them to the next batch of veggies.
- Pour food-processed vegetables into a large bowl and mix both batches (unless you’re lucky enough to have a large enough machine to handle everything at once). Stir and then scoop into Mason jars. Refrigerate immediately or freeze.
I’m a fan of cilantro, so I add a large bunch to each batch. Because “bunches” that you buy at the grocery store seem to vary quite a bit in size, it’s hard to say “half a bunch” for instance….but the way I see it, you’re not going to ruin your salsa by adding too much cilantro. Unless you don’t like cilantro, of course.
A few things to note: I took pictures of several different batches but never of the final “perfected” batch of ingredients. That ugly, large black shriveled pepper? That’s what an ancho chile looks like.
Also, while our family does like spicy foods, this salsa is on the mild side, but since you’ll be making this yourselves, you are free to add as much or as little jalapeno pepper so it’s the perfect spiciness for you. The amount listed in this version is, in our opinion, mild…but those with more sensitive palates might want to decrease the peppers even more.
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