Recipe: Fermented Salsa (Raw + Vegan)

September 23rd, 2014 - filed under: The Food » Recipes

quick easy fermented salsa

Fermented salsa is something I’ve been dying to try for years. Years I tell ya! But, well, you know how it goes – life is busy and timing is tough. I long ago realized that I work on a very extended timeline. As in, the average length of time between the first kernel of an idea for a project/post, and the actual execution of said project/post, is probably around 9 months. Sometimes it happens super quick: I conceive of an idea, I plan it, and it’s done in a matter of days.

That’s rare.

More often things progress very slowly, churning around in the back of my mind, little pieces falling into place. I’ll take a photo that I know will work in the final blog post, even though that post, and the associated project, won’t actually happen for years to come. Or I’ll pick up a prop/tool/tchotchke at the thrift shop, knowing it will fit in . . . later. I mean, sometimes it’s literally years! (This extended timeline becomes problematic with product reviews, which is part of the reason I do so few of them, but that’s a discussion for another day.) I’d guess at any given time I probably have 15-25 potential projects cooking on a burner in the back of my brain.

fermented salsa ingredients

Anyway, that’s just a little insight into my creative process, and has nothing to do with this particular post. This post is about salsa! And more specifically, lacto-fermented salsa that is brimming with happy healthy beasties! Fermenting the salsa adds beneficial probiotic bacteria, increased nutrients, a longer lifespan, and of course, that delightful salty tang.

Last week I found myself facing an abundance of late season tomatoes, and since I was leaving town for 10 days, I had to find a way to use them up – and quickly. And thus, after many years of plotting and planning, a fermented salsa recipe finally came to life in my little kitchen.

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to have a go at it in yours:

** A note – all of these measurements are approximations, and can be modified to suit your taste or depending on your access to produce. The only thing you’ll need to keep constant is the salt, because otherwise it won’t ferment and you’ll end up with a big ‘ol bowl of rotten tomatoes. And of course it follows, if you add a bunch of additional ingredients without subtracting anything, you’ll need to up the salt to compensate. Make sense?

2-3 pounds tomatoes, any type – chopped
1 medium white or yellow onion – diced
2-4 cloves of garlic – crushed or minced
1-3 jalapeños (depending on how spicy you like it) – minced
small bunch cilantro – chopped
2 tablespoons raw unfiltered unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sea salt

making fermented salsa
fermented salsa recipe

Place all the ingredients in a big bowl. Toss everything to mix it up thoroughly.

Portion the salsa into clean canning jars or glass containers. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the top of the solid salsa (just use your fingertips to pack it down if you need), then cover with a lid and set the jars out for 48(ish) hours.

recipe for fermented salsa

As it ferments you may see a little foam forming on top – this is totally normal. After 48 hours, screw on the caps and transfer the jars to the fridge.

You’re done! Your salsa will last many months in the fridge, but you probably won’t need that long. This stuff is delicious!

♥ ♥ ♥

vegan fermented salsa

  • Sonja

    this sounds do-able even for me (fermenting intimidates me kind of)! Yummy! I’ll definately try this. Thanks so much for the recipe and inspiration :-)

  • Rachel in Veganland

    Oh my gawd. Swoon. I’m a salsa fanatic and will eat it on jut about everything, especially atop pudla or on a salad and fermented foods are just about one of my favorite ways to preserve at home. Thanks for the share, Sayward! Hoping to make this myself soon!

  • Leslie

    This isn’t meant to be a judgement or troll comment, but rather a legit question I have that I haven’t been able to answer using my google-fu. How are fermented foods, with live bacteria, vegan? Aren’t the bacteria alive, and therefore not-vegan?

  • Vanessa

    Oh wow, I didn’t even know this was possible! I am just getting into home fermenting, so I need to try this. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Yes! It’s possible, and very very tasty. =)

    Basically I think you can ferment anything.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    No it’s a totally legit question Leslie, and I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to ask. I actually asked a vegan something similar (about yeast) waaaay back in the day before I was vegan.

    So vegans are not against taking “life” because of course, plants are alive as well. Literally everything that humans eat – plants, fungi, algae, bacteria, and animals if you eat those, was once alive. What vegans oppose is causing harm to sentient beings. Bacteria (and plants and fungi) have no central nervous system, no neurons at all in fact, and therefor are literally incapable of feeling pain. Animals feel pain and are capable of suffering (both physical and emotional). That’s the distinction, for vegans.

    Hope that helps clear it up!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Yay, I’m so glad Rachel! I’m a salsa fiend myself and I have to admit, I was eating the finished stuff all on it’s own by the spoon full! =D

    Soooo good.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    It’s so doable Sonja, you should definitely try it! And don’t be intimidated by fermenting. The great thing about ferments is they TELL you, loud and clear, if you’ve messed up. ;-)

  • Rachel from The Judgmental Veg

    This sounds amazing! I imagine it’d make a great holiday gift. Generally speaking, my favorite kinds of salsa have fruit in them. Peach, mango, or pineapple. I will definitely have to give this a try, especially next summer when stone fruits are back in season.

  • Chloe

    Is the raw, unpasteurized vinegar a must, or can regular apple cider vinegar be used? Or any other vinegar for that matter? And is this what keeps it from going bad when left sitting on the counter for 2 days? I live in a hot climate, so this concerns me. Thanks! Looks awesome.

  • Deirdre

    after we finish the pickles i made (to free up my jars) this is SO happening in the kitchen. thank you for the recipe!

  • Angie

    What a fun way to make salsa! I definitely want to try this, thanks!

  • Rebecca Carnes

    I looove salsa…and this looks sooo good!! Will definitely have to make this:):)

  • Elizabeth

    No kidding–I had some pickles tell me last week about my errors in judgment :)

  • Toni Dill

    It’s the salt that keeps it from going bad, and the vinegar has to be raw, because the vinegar has live cultures in it, and that’s what breaks down the food or “ferments” it

  • Toni Dill

    I’ve been vegetarian 10 years, moving towards being vegan, I love any recipes, thank you so much Sayward!

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  • erosan

    A fermented “Pico de gallo” (rooster’s beak)? never had it, but worth trying. Will do tonight, report in 2 days…

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I expect a full report! =D

  • Alyssa

    I recenetly heard an argument for eating oysters because they don’t have a central nervous system & can’t move. What do you think about this?

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  • TessaJo Vowels-Whosoever

    YUM!!!!! I call this “pico de gallo”

  • Shock Therapy

    This was an awesome inspiration today so thank you! Waaaay too much salt to be edible for me. I rinsed some of the salt out in a strainer. Honestly don’t know if it will ferment safely at the lower salt level, but will report back if still alive.

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