Salsa with Smoked Vegetables and Fruits in a Smoker
Salsa with Smoked Vegetables and Fruits Recipe
Salsa is one of those go-staples for when guests are coming over for an informal visit or for a backyard lunch or dinner. I will often make a fresh batch of salsa to take to the beach for a family and friends picnic. It keeps well and travels easily in a small cooler.
I sometimes keep a jar of tomato salsa in my pantry or fridge, along with some tortilla chips, for those impromptu visitors. However, the jarred salsa really doesn’t compare to the freshness and flavor of homemade.
A great way to enhance the flavors and take salsa up a notch is to first smoke the vegetables and fruits in my Smoker. You don’t need to really cook the produce all the way through. They just need a decent amount of smokiness. This can be achieved in as little as 60 minutes of smoke time.
What Fruits and Vegetables to Smoke for Salsa?I don’t smoke everything that goes into the salsa. I keep some of the tomatoes fresh and unsmoked. I also don’t smoke the herbs. It is nice to have a little bit of crisp, fresh texture to give more body to the salsa. You can add the herbs and other fresh ingredients right before serving if preferred.
I recommend chilling the fruits and veggies after you smoke them. Salsa is best when cool, in my opinion. Here are some different items you can add to your salsa:
Vegetables and Aromatics
- Corn kernels
- Jalapeño peppers
- Lime (smoked or not)
- Pineapple chunks
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
Herbs and Spices
- Fresh cilantro
- Ground cumin
- Chili powder
- Cayenne flakes
- Salt and pepper
I don’t use all of these in one salsa. And, as mentioned previously, I don’t smoke everything. It often depends on who I am serving salsa to. For kids, I will use green bell peppers instead of hot peppers and often add a little sweet fruit.
Adults can generally tolerate the heat and don’t always go for salsa with pineapple or mango. I do notice that my adult friends and family like the addition of avocado for a creamy texture. Or, add smoked corn kernels right off the cob for a crunchy texture and a little sweetness.
If you are feeding a crowd, I suggest adding some small-sized beans to stretch the salsa while not breaking the bank. A can of black turtle beans is 99 cents and they are really nice in a tomato-based salsa.
Smoky Tomato Salsa Recipe (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Keto)
- 3 ripe beefsteak tomatoes
- 1 large red onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 3 to 5 jalapeño peppers
- 1 whole garlic bulb
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lime
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- Wood chips
Smoke TIME1 hour 30 min
TOTAL TIME1 hour 45 min
1.Prepare Smoker: Set up the smoker based on its type. For electric/propane, fill the tray with wood chips and water bowl halfway. For charcoal, arrange for indirect heat and add wood chips as instructed. Close the smoker, open the top vent, and preheat at 225°F for about 5 minutes.
2.Prep Ingredients: Halve 2 tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño peppers. Drizzle olive oil on the cut side of garlic bulb. Keep the 3rd tomato aside.
3.Smoke Ingredients: Place all vegetables, fruits, and aromatics cut side up on a smoker rack. Smoke for 60 to 120 minutes, adjusting for preferred smokiness. Ensure to add wood chips and water as needed. Consider placing a foil-lined sheet pan beneath produce to catch drips.
4.Cool and Prepare: Remove smoked items from smoker and allow them to cool.
5.Peel and Cut: Once cool enough, peel skins from tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Remove seeds and stems from peppers, leaving jalapeño seeds for extra heat. Optionally, peel skin from the fresh tomato. Cut all into medium-sized chunks.
6.Process Salsa: Place smoked produce, with desired amount of garlic, into a food processor. Add lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper. Process until achieving desired consistency—chunky or smooth. Use extra garlic to spread on toasted baguette slices for dipping.
7.Store and Serve: Transfer salsa from processor to storage container using a slotted spoon to leave excess liquid. Season again if needed. Cover the salsa and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Below are some ideas for serving smoked salsa.
What to Serve with Smoked Salsa?
I am a bit old school when it comes to serving salsa. I enjoy it with just salty corn tortilla chips or cassava flour chips for a grain-free day. However, I will top a Tex-Mex salad with salsa, sour cream, and crushed chips. I also always have salsa, beans, and melted cheese as part of my homemade nacho platter. We make nachos a lot for a quick and filling lunch. Salsa can be used as a condiment for grilled chicken or blackened fish. And of course, it is perfect for tacos and fajitas.
The kids go bonkers for a Mexican-style 7 layer dip with corn chips. Here are the layers I like, in this order:
- Refried beans
- Sour cream (sometimes mixed with cream cheese)
- Salsa (drained)
- Shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Scallions (green parts)
- Black olives (chopped)
If I want a more substantial dip, I will add a layer of cooked ground beef or finely shredded grilled chicken breast that has been generously seasoned with chili powder and cumin.