Award winning simple salsa!

My hubs tells me I shouldn't share this recipe.  He wants it to stay 'in the family' ... It's been shared with friends and family already, though - and it's such a super-delicious and easy recipe ... what can I say - I'm feeling generous.  ;)

Here's the story.

My brother in law Armando's mother Maria made a spectacular tostada spread for my sister's graduation party several years back.  Being an authentic Spanish-speaking family... it was a wonderful experience (taste buds included)!

mando beck

I was enthralled by the simple red sauce that his mother put on the tostadas, and asked Armando to translate - "How did you make this amazing sauce?  It's SO good! "  I was expecting to hear a long-drawn out process of slowly letting the tomatoes cook and simmer... adding secret spices etc...

Instead, with a smile, my brother in law translated back to me "It's called El Pato.  Look for a small can in the Mexican food aisle with a duck on it!"

I was amazed!

I began to experiment from then on with the magical El Pato.  You can find this product in nearly EVERY grocery store's Hispanic Foods aisle.

el pato

On it's own, its a bit spicy... but it adds the PERFECT amount of heat to a medium salsa .  Here is our favorite salsa recipe that came from those beginnings:

Now, I will admit there is a compromise in this recipe.

I typically only purchase canned goods with BPA-free lining because of the health risks involved.  That means I soak my beans (saves money as well as improves digestibility), use frozen corn instead of canned... so really the only canned items that I purchase are  tomatoes and Coconut Milk.  Muir Glen Organics has a BPA free lined can, and so does Native Forest Organics (for Coconut Milk).

But, if you're up for 'tainting' your otherwise pure & organic ingredients a bit... this would be the time to go for it.


SARAH'S SIMPLEST (not perfectly pure) SALSA 

  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 1 can El Pato spicy tomato sauce (green or yellow can)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (or a large handful)

Empty contents of both cans into food processor.  Grab approx. half of the bunch (or a large handful) of cilantro and throw it into the food processor.  Pulse until cilantro is blended in, but not totally pureed. You want a bit of texture.


Chop onions by hand (important step) into a small dice.  Add these to food processor and pulse just a few times to incorporate the onion.  If you add the onion and puree it in - the onion flavor will be too strong.

That's about it!

Of course, there are many ways to add or enhance this salsa - fresh corn, jalapeno are just two of the ways you can change it up and have fun with it.

Dig in with your favorite chips, blend it into avocado for a heavenly guac, or top these fabulous Carnitas tacos with it!

I've had friends win salsa contests with this recipe - and it's always a hit wherever I bring it.  Hope you enjoy!


I shared this Pork Carnitas recipe on the fabulous Plan To Eat blog.  Get that recipe here.