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Capture Summer’s Freshest Flavors with These Salsa Recipes

A bowl of pico de gallo by Natasha's Kitchen, a bowl of tomatillo salsa verde by Simply Recipes, and pineapple salsa by Dinner at the Zoo.
Natasha’s Kitchen/Simply Recipes/Dinner at the Zoo

It’s time to harvest a few fruits, veggies, and herbs from your garden, chop ’em, and turn ’em into a fresh, flavorful salsa! Sweet or savory, salsa’s always simple, and it’s one of summer’s greatest gifts.

First, you’ll learn all about salsa and the different ways you can make it, either fresh or cooked. We’ll also cover how modern chefs are using unique ingredients to create new twists on this classic party staple. Then, it’s on to the recipes!

Salsa vs. Pico De Gallo

Let’s start with an important topic in the world of Mexican dip: the difference between salsa and pico de gallo. While the terms are often used interchangeably due to their almost identical list of base ingredients, two main features set these two dips apart.

Salsa can be made in several different ways. Sometimes you’ll find a recipe using fresh diced ingredients, while others require you to cook and puree ingredients. Cooked salsa often results in a thick tomato-stew-like texture, whereas fresh salsas offer a chunker, more distinct texture.

You’ll also find many salsa recipes that offer a plethora of unique ingredient options, like berries and other fruits.

Pico de gallo (aka salsa fresco) is never cooked and is pretty much always made with fresh tomatoes, onions, chiles, lime juice, and salt.

So, just to review, salsa can be cooked or not, but it comes in many different forms and is made of various ingredients, including fruit. Pico, on the other hand, always requires fresh ingredients and doesn’t come in as many variations as salsa.

There’s More to Salsa than Tomatoes

True, they might forever be linked in the minds of many people, but there’s more to salsa than diced tomatoes. Salsa comes in many forms and is made with many different ingredients.

In addition to tomatoes, fruit salsas are also super popular—think mango and pineapple. These tropical ingredients add a bright flavor to many meals, especially when combined with onions, herbs, and fresh chiles.

Another ingredient you’ll often find in both salsas and pico de gallo is fresh cilantro, which is one of those ingredients people tend to either love or hate.

If you’re a member of the cilantro-haters club, feel free to substitute chopped parsley. That way, you’ll add an earthy touch, while keeping those bright-green specks in your dip.

Now that you know more about salsa, let’s make some! These recipes are all perfect for any summer party or cookout. Whether you’re hosting or bringing a bowl to share, people are sure to comment on how fresh and delicious your salsa is.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

A bowl of tomatilla salsa verde with a side of tortilla chips.
Simply Recipes

Salsa Verde is a bright green salsa made with a native Mexican fruit called a tomatillo. Although many think tomatillos are just unripened baby tomatoes, they’re actually a totally different fruit, and a relative of the nightshade family. Basically, they’re tomato’s cousin.

After removing the husk from a tomatillo, you pan roast or broil them, add a few staple ingredients, and blend away. Cilantro, jalapeño, onion, and lime juice all play a major role in bringing out the authentic flair of a delicious tomatillo.

Get the Recipe: Simply Recipes

Classic Homemade Salsa

Two images: The left image features a bowl of freshly made salsa with one tortilla chip dipped in it, and the right image features a food processor with salsa in it.
A Spicy Perspective

Learn all of the secrets to making a chunky and flavorful salsa at home with this great recipe! First, you’ll prepare your veggies, then chop them all up to a fine grade using your food processor.

You’ll use tangy fresh ingredients combined with a few canned selections to make the most of this flavorful salsa. Reading through the recipe, then trying a bite for yourself will prove that each ingredient provides complementing flavors to one another. Impress friends by making this for your next party!

Get the Recipe: A Spicy Perspective

Authentic Pico De Gallo

Two images: The left image features fresh pico de gallo with a side of tortilla chips and the right image features various ingredients used to make the pico de gallo including an onion, vine tomatoes, cilantro, lime and jalapeno.
Natasha’s Kitchen

Be sure to add this recipe to your list because nothing quite compares to this fresh take on salsa! Diced tomato, onion, cilantro lime juice, and jalapeno are all significant contributing ingredients here!

You’ll love enjoying fresh pico with tortilla chips, but the dip can offer so much more! Be sure to make it for your next taco Tuesday, or add them to homemade burritos.

Get the Recipe: Natasha’s Kitchen

Corn Salsa

A bowl of fresh corn salsa using with a side of tortilla chips.
Cookie and Kate

Corn salsa is another fantastic version that boasts all the sweet and crunchy components you’d love in a salsa. This homemade version is similar to Chipotle’s corn salsa and tends to be a crowd-pleaser!

Add corn salsa to tacos or quesadillas, or pile a tostada high with a heaping spoonful of this crunchy salsa! Otherwise, make for your next summer barbecue to accompany a big bowl of tortilla chips.

Get the Recipe: Cookie + Kate

Fresh Mango Salsa

A bowl of fresh mango salsa using ingredients like mango, bell pepper, onion and cilantro.
Cookie + Kate

Now, we’re getting into tropical fruit territory, where salsa really gets fancy! Sweet mango combined with the sharp red onion and jalapeno dressed in lime juice with salt to taste! It might seem bizarre to you, but you have to give it a try.

Next time you make chicken kebabs or anything with a teriyaki glaze, this mango salsa would accompany it beautifully. Otherwise, be sure to make this salsa to top fish tacos or shrimp tacos!

Get the Recipe: Cookie + Kate

Crisp Watermelon Salsa

A glass bowl full of watermelon salsa made with diced watermelon, red onion, mint, cilantro and jalapeno.
Gimme Some Oven

Watermelon salsa is another out-of-the-ordinary take, but it’s oh-so-delicious! Using mint and cilantro, diced watermelon, red onion, and jalapeno, you’ll learn to create a mouthful of unique flavor.

Get the Recipe: Gimme Some Oven

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

Two images of pineapple salsa. The left displays the salsa in a hollowed out pineapple served with chips and the right image features a bowl of pineapple salsa.
Dinner at the Zoo

We’ll end things just right with delicious pineapple salsa. After trying several variations, this one might be our favorite, especially when served over crispy fish tacos with fresh avocado.

The best part is you’ll learn how to half and hollow out a pineapple. It provides an impressive platter for guests at any summer party.

Get the Recipe: Dinner at the Zoo

Now, you’re armed with a salsa recipe for every summer get-together, just grab a bag of tortilla chips and your work is done. If you wanna continue your adventure of yum, whip up some of these unconventional burritos to go with your chips and salsa.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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