Hot Salsa: Hot Holiday Salsa, That Is

Hot salsa on your holiday table? Why not? It goes great on potato latkes, is red and green, and offers colorful fresh low-calorie flavor to perk up just jalapabout any food you can name.

No-cook salsa is so healthy you can practically feel the vitamins seeping into your system as a dollop of the stuff tingles its way down your throat. No wonder the spicy dipping sauce is popular throughout the Levant, where all three major religions were born. You can ladle it over rice and beans, grilled chicken, or simply mop it up with flat bread (or any bread—try it on cornbread for a treat).

H-h-h-hot Salsa?

Raise the heat by adding more jalapeno peppers and/or garlic. Lower it by using less or by offering cooling dairy sour cream or yogurt alongside your hot salsa to temper the heat. It’s all in the cook’s hands. And oh yeah, vegetarians will love you for offering them something a little extra special at holiday time.

Hot No-Cook Holiday Salsa, Levantine Style

Serve over Latkes with sour cream.


  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes, cut up
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 large green onions, chopped or ½ cup chopped white onion
  • ½ cup cilantro (fresh coriander) leaves
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin


Remove stems from jalapeno peppers (wear gloves and avoid touching eyes). Discard jalapeno seeds and ribs if you prefer a milder salsa. Whirl garlic, jalapenos, parsley, and cilantro in food processor until finely chopped. Add oil, lemon juice, tomato puree, salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano. Process briefly. Add cut up tomatoes and chopped scallions or onions and process briefly. The salsa should be slightly chunky.

Serve at room temperature.


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About Varda Epstein

Varda Meyers Epstein serves as editor in chief of Kars4Kids Parenting. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Varda is the mother of 12 children and is also a grandmother of 12. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Learning Site, The eLearning Site, and Internet4Classrooms.