There are many different types of salsas in Mexican cuisine. But, one of the most popular and well-known is Salsa Roja which roughly translates to “red sauce”. You will find it at almost every Mexican restaurant and Mexican home.
The beauty of Salsa Roja is it is so easy to make, takes only a few fresh ingredients and works well with so many dishes.
All of these attributes make it a perfect addition to your arsenal of quick and easy picnic food ideas. After all, there are so many Mexican dishes that lend themselves to the portable feast in as far as simple, fresh finger food. We have loads of ideas for a Mexican themed picnic here that show how Mexican food can make such a simple and tasty picnic.
The key to good salsa roja is in using the best fresh ingredients you can get. There is no complex techniques or secrets, this is one of those wonderful dishes where it is the simplicity of the dish that makes it sing.
Salsa Roja is one of those recipes that may vary slightly according to region, family tradition or the mood you happen to be in on the day, but the foundation of the recipe is always the same. This recipe calls for only seven simple ingredients, but feel free to adapt to your own taste.
Some people like to add two types of chillies for depth of flavour – dried Arbol chiles and the jalapeños are a popular mix for a pop of heat with a splash of freshness. Some like to use dried only over fresh.
Some like to add lemon or lime juice but I don’t see a need for that as the tomatoes should add enough acid.
While we have not included it in this recipe, fresh cilantro (coriander) is another popular addition. It’s a contentious herb with a love it or hate it reputation but feel free to throw in a small handful of fresh leaves.
Chillies are a hard ingredient to quantify in terms of heat so we recommend adding the chillies incrementally when blending to make sure the heat is to your liking and or tolerance levels.
How to Serve Salsa Roja
The beauty of this tasty little sauce is not just its simplicity but its versatility. Seve it simply as a dip with soft tortilla bread or corn chips. It’s a go-to sauce for a DIY taco or tortilla spread. Serve it with bbq chicken or fish kebab sticks or as a spicy accompaniment to frittatas, a robust Mexican chopped salad, or any egg-based dish – Huevos Rancheros, for example. The possibilities are endless.
How to Make Mexican Salsa Roja
The Mexican sauce can be kept in the fridge for about a week after opening.
If you like to store your sauce to use later, let it completely cool and store in airtight jars that have been sterilised as you would for jams or relishes. You can find different techniques for sterilising jars here. Stored this way, your salsa will keep for up to 4 months unopened.