I’m notoriously bad at growing things.

During my first couple years after college, I worked at a church and inherited an office full of Peace Lilies. Try as I might, I couldn’t keep them alive and so all the plants were confiscated from my office never to return. And then there was the container plant garden disaster on my Fargo balcony in 2012. . .

I’ll try again when we aren’t living in a town home development, but, for now, I’ll happily accept any of your extra produce. My in-laws cultivate a beautiful garden of fruits and vegetables in the backyard of their East St. Paul home. After our last visit, they sent us back home to Iowa with a sack full of salsa veggies and burstingly-ripe tomatoes.

I’ve prepared pico de gallo before, but wanted some new ideas for making salsa-making, so I sought the advice of my readers and friends. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Ally of Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats: Ally makes salsa once a week. She recommends blending eight tomatoes, one onion, one jalapeno with seeds, one clove garlic, a handful of cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, and the juice of one lime (cutting up the larger vegetables). Check out her recipe for “Copy Cat Chili’s Salsa.
  • Jenny of Prairie Californian: Jenny roasts her salsa veggies at 400℉ and zips them in a food processor with salt, pepper, sugar, cilantro, oregano, and lime juice.
  • Kate of Kate in the Kitchen: Kate broils her salsa veggies until charred and blends in a food processor. She seasons her salsa with cumin, smoked paprika, ancho chili and kosher salt to taste.
  • Sara (my cousin-in-law married to Brian Dahlen): Sara transforms these salsa vegetables into homemade enchilada sauce by roasting and blending them.

Salsa Collage

As always, their advice was spot-on. We love our golden, roasted salsa and practically eat it like gazpacho. It tasted especially refreshing accompanying simple cheese and spaghetti squash quesadillas.

My Take: 

  1. Cut tomatoes and peppers in half. Cut onion in quarters.
  2. Arrange in a single layer on a sheet pan along with a few cloves of garlic still in the skin. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
  3. Broil until softened and blistered. Flip one-two times for even blistering.
  4. Peel the roasted garlic and zip everything in a blender or food processor with a lime juice and a handful of cilantro until chunky with a drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Season with red wine vinegar, thinly sliced green onion, oregano, salt, sugar, black pepper, and cumin.
  6. My salsa needed more of a kick so I blended-in an additional clove of raw garlic.