Saddle up, salsa lovers, because I'm about to take your taste buds on a wild ride through the flavors of the Southwest! If you're a fan of bold, zesty, and utterly irresistible salsa, then you're in the right place. Today, we're diving into the world of Ranchero Salsa, a concoction that's as rich in history as it is in flavor.
Picture this: the sun-drenched fields of a ranchero, a rustic Spanish term for a ranch. The air is filled with the intoxicating aroma of ripe tomatoes, sizzling garlic, and the fiery embrace of jalapeño peppers. This isn't your run-of-the-mill salsa; this is a true flavor fiesta, featuring a symphony of ingredients like Spanish onion, cumin, Mexican oregano, and the zesty tang of fresh lime juice. The result? A salsa that's the perfect balance of spicy and refreshingly tangy.
In this blog, I'm going to show you how to whip up your very own Ranchero Salsa, step by step. I'll delve into the history and tradition of this Southwestern favorite, explore the vibrant ingredients that give it its unique character, and provide you with a mouthwatering recipe that'll have your taste buds doing a happy two-step.
So, dust off your sombrero, grab your apron, and let's get ready to rustle up a batch of Ranchero Salsa that'll have you saying "Yeehaw!" with every bite. Get ready for a flavor-packed journey through the heart of the Southwest, where the spice is always nice and the salsa is downright sensational.
Let's get started!
Now I'm going to explain here in a few notes what I did to achieve the flavor "I" love ingredient by ingredient.
The Onion: I choose a smaller sized onion because I don't want this to completely dominate. It's just enough but not too strong!
The Garlic: I do love garlic but I don't love it when it's so strong you can't taste anything else. So the recipe says one to three cloves. So adjust depending on how garlicky you like something or the size of your cloves!
The Chili Pepper: You'll see in my photo, I used an ENORMOUS jalapeno but guess what, it wasn't spicy at all! I made sure to remove the seeds and ribs (wearing gloves or wash your hands). So if you like a spicier salsa, leave some of that on the chili or go for a Serrano! Those are much spicier!
The Cumin Powder: Some people love cumin, others are annoyed by it when it's too much. So start out with the lower end of the measurement and then add more if you like it. But I'll tell you, this is what really drives that authentic Mexican flavor so be adventurous!
The Lime: You'll see I mention in the process to add more lime if needed. The lime I had was on the smaller size and was perfect. I also microwave my limes for about 20 seconds as it triggers the juicy juice! Then I use a fork to grind out all that juice from each lime half! Leave no juice behind!
The Cilantro: Y'all, cilantro is just so good for you! It removes heavy metals from your body so load up on this ingredient! I use an entire bunch and whack off the top. The stemmy base I discard but there's a small amount of stems on those leaves and that's where the flavor lives! Use it ALL!
The Oregano: In my opinion, you must have whole leaf dried Mexican oregano! It's usually sold in the aisle of the supermarket where they have international foods and the spice section that's complimentary to that cookery. This oregano is superior in flavor for this application and I always keep it on hand!
The Rotel: Truly speaking, this is a wonderful product and adds so much flavor to your salsa! I go with the HOT version but the final salsa never ends up being too spicy because there's so many other ingredients!
The Canned Tomatoes: Y'all, canned tomatoes are the ticket to "this" amazing recipe! Canned tomatoes are cooked and give such a fuller, richer flavor! If you choose to use fresh tomatoes, you'll find the flavor is just not as complete. Sure, you can roast or grill off some fresh tomatoes, that is much better than just raw! Cooked tomatoes reign supreme for this application.
The Salt: Do not be afraid to season! That's the secret to delicious food! We are in the business of delicious here at the Range Rider and season as you go until you hit that threshold of fantastic, not salty. We don't want salty, we want seasoned!
Ok, to the first picture, you'll see I prepare this completely in the matter of a couple minutes with the use of a food processor. If you don't have one, chopping everything very fine on a cutting board works just fine too, just takes a little more time.
Pulse the processor until the onions, cumin, peppers, and garlic are completely minced. You want these items good and fine.
Throw that cilantro in right on top of the onion mixture and pulse a few more times for good measure.
It should look like this! Super green and incredibly aromatic!
Add the oregano and a can of the Rotel tomatoes!
Add the diced tomatoes and a very generous amount of salt.
You can see the salt in this picture, I use sea salt because I love the amazing, rounded flavor it gives plus it's loaded with minerals our bodies need! YES!
Pulse that around to your texture liking! If you like it chunkier, pulse or chop on your board less. I like my salsa pretty pureed as you see in the finished picture so it lands nicely on a chip!
Looking good! At this point you can see the texture is just about perfect for my liking. From here, I whizzed it around a few more times to get to the final result.
And boom! It's done. All I do at this point is adjust the seasoning with additional salt and if you like it a bit zippier, you can add just another touch of lime. For this batch, my lime amount was on point.
Ok so without further ado, here's the recipe! Adjust to your taste of course and beyond anything, make sure it's well seasoned with enough salt to tickle your tongue!
Ingredients: (Makes about 1 1/4 quarts)
- 1 small yellow onion, trimmed, chopped rough
- 1-3 garlic cloves, peeled, trimmed
- 1 jalapeno or serrano chili pepper, trimmed, seeds/ribs removed
- 1/2 to 1 t. cumin powder
- Juice of one lime
- 1 bunch of cilantro, washed, whack off the top, discard stem base
- 1 t. oregano leaves, dried, (Mexican whole leaf preferred)
- 1 can (10 ounces) Rotel tomatoes, mild or hot
- 1 each, 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- Salt to taste
Prepare Your Ingredients: Start by peeling and roughly chopping the Spanish onion. Peel the garlic cloves, and if using a jalapeno pepper, remove the seeds and chop it. Gather the cumin, salt, cilantro, Mexican oregano, lime juice, Rotel tomatoes, and diced tomatoes.
Food Processor or Manual Chopping: You have two options here. If you have a food processor, you can make the process faster by using it. Alternatively, if you prefer manual chopping or don't have a food processor, you can finely chop all the ingredients on a cutting board. The choice is yours, and both methods yield fantastic results.
Mince the Aromatics: If using a food processor, add the chopped onion, cumin, garlic, and jalapeno (if using) to the processor. Pulse until they are completely minced. You want these ingredients to be finely chopped. If you're chopping manually, ensure that they are finely minced.
Add Cilantro: Add the cilantro leaves on top of the minced onion mixture in the food processor and pulse a few more times for good measure. You'll notice a vibrant green color and incredible aroma.
Add Tomatoes and Seasoning: Now, add the Mexican oregano, a can of Rotel tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and a generous amount of salt. If you like, you can use sea salt for its rounded flavor and mineral content. Pulse these ingredients until you achieve your preferred texture. If you prefer a chunkier salsa, pulse or chop less.
Adjust Texture: At this point, your salsa should have the desired texture. If you like it pureed, continue to pulse a few more times until it reaches your desired consistency.
Final Touch: Taste your salsa and adjust the seasoning. If needed, add more salt or a touch of lime juice for extra zing. For some batches, you may find that the initial amount of lime juice is perfect.
Serve and Enjoy: Your homemade Ranchero Salsa is ready to be served! It's perfect for dipping with chips or as a flavorful topping for various dishes. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
And there you have it—delicious Ranchero-Style Salsa made in the comfort of your kitchen. Enjoy the vibrant flavors of the Southwest in every bite!
This salsa will last in the refrigerator for about a week, maybe a touch longer! My guess is you will enjoy it much faster than that! It's amazing with chips and a margarita but I also love it on eggs in the morning, and on any other Mexican style dish. It's just yummy!