Healthy Vegan Dry Roasted Salsa Mexicana Recipe

This Salsa Mexicana recipe is our favourite healthy vegan dip to make when a snack craving hits.

Our quick & easy homemade Salsa Mexicana uses a traditional dry roasting cooking technique that helps develop a smoky flavour. Toss the roasted vegetables into a food processor and you’ll have a healthy vegan Mexican salsa to enjoy in just minutes!

We love serving this roasted Mexican Salsa Dip as a snack in the summer with fresh guacamole, nachos and thirst quenching tequila cocktails.

We’re certain you’ll also love serving this authentic salsa as a flavourful sauce slathered over your favourite Mexican appetizers and entrees!

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Save our Healthy Vegan Dry Roasted Salsa Mexicana recipe to Pinterest!
Save our Healthy Vegan Dry Roasted Salsa Mexicana recipe to Pinterest!

What Is Salsa Mexicana?

Salsa Mexicana is a traditional cooked Mexican salsa. To add additional flavour we like to prepare the salsa ingredients using a dry roasting technique in a hot skillet over the stove.

In Mexico it is normally called salsa mexicana, simply “Mexican sauce”. Because the colours of the red tomato, white onion, and green chili and cilantro are reminiscent of the colours of the Mexican flag, it is also called salsa bandera, or “flag sauce.”

Our healthy salsa recipe features onion, chile, garlic and tomatoes that are dry roasted in a skillet until charred and cooked through. The roasted vegetables are then tipped into a food processor and blitzed together with fresh cilantro and salt to taste.

You can serve the dish as a dip with nachos or as a flavourful sauce to spoon over enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tacos or taquitos.

We love serving Salsa Mexicana with creamy guacamole, queso fundido and a refreshing tequila cocktail.

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Traditional Salsa Mexicana recipe ingredients.
Traditional Salsa Mexicana recipe ingredients.

Travel to Mexico by Cooking Dry Roasted Salsa Mexicana at Home

I love traveling to Latin America.

As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.

For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Salsa Mexicana recipe. I’ve embarked on culinary adventures at local restaurants in Cuba, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

In Mexico, I’ve spooned through spicy bowls of roasted Mexican Salsa at restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Mexico City, Merida, Chichen Itza and Playa del Carmen.

Salsa Mexicana is a vegan and vegetarian recipe that is a healthy snack option because its low in calories and full of healthy nutrients.

After enjoying your first taste, you’ll realize why dry roasted salsa is a must-try when visiting Mexico!

You May Also Enjoy Reading These Mexican Travel Stories…

This easy homemade Salsa Mexicana is dry roasted in a large skillet.
This easy homemade Salsa Mexicana is dry roasted in a large skillet.

Where To Eat Healthy Salsa Mexicana

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Mexican restaurant that serves Salsa Mexicana.

Haven’t traveled to Mexico before? It may be helpful to first sample dry roasted salsa at a local restaurant to better understand how it is served. You’ll discover the ideal spicy heat level, typical thickness of the sauce and other Mexican dishes to serve at the table.

In Toronto, the best Mexican restaurants that may serve their own homemade Salsa Mexicana recipe include El Rey, La Carnita, Playa Cabana, El Catrin, Campechano, El Trompo, Fonda Lola, Hot Mess Tex Mex, Rosalinda, Reposado Bar, Grand Electric and Milagro.

Blend dry roasted Salsa Mexicana ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Blend dry roasted Salsa Mexicana ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

My Family Loves Vegan Salsa Mexicana

I love cooking Mexican food for my friends and family.

I first made Salsa Mexicana for my family on a hot summer day at the cottage. I served the spicy salsa on the dock as a mid afternoon snack with guacamole, spicy queso dip, Mezcal Paloma Slushies and Margaritas.

I knew my parents would love this salsa recipe because they enjoy Mexican food, snackable dips and healthy vegan recipes.

Whenever I make this Salsa Mexicana recipe I like to double it so I have leftovers I can store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week. It tastes particularly delicious in the morning spooned over fried or scrambled eggs with warm tortillas.

Garnish the salsa with fresh cilantro.
Garnish the salsa with fresh cilantro.

Health Benefits

Our Salsa Mexican recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

Chili has been proven to help reduce the duration of sickness, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss. 

A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals. 

Salsa Mexicana Photo Image.
Salsa Mexicana Photo Image.

Recipe Cooking Tips

Salsa Mexicana is a quick and easy healthy salsa recipe to make at home. Here are some helpful cooking tips for first time salsa makers!

  • We suggest dry roasting the vegetables in a large nonstick skillet.
  • Use tongs to gently flip the vegetables as they are dry roasting. You want to really blacken the skin of the tomatoes as this adds flavour to the salsa.
  • We’ve used Spanish cooking onion in this recipe but you can substitute for white onions, or sweet Vidalia onions.
  • We’ve used plum tomatoes in this recipe but you can substitue with large beefsteak tomatoes of a similar weight.
  • If you like spicy food keep the seeds in the chile and blitz in the blender. If you are looking to make a mild Salsa Mexicana remove the seeds from inside the chile before blending.
  • Feel free to substitute serrano chilies with jalapeño peppers to make a milder salsa. Habanero is the perfect chile to use if you like really hot spiciness in your salsa.
Serve Salsa Mexicana in a bowl with nachos for dipping alongside guacamole.
Serve Salsa Mexicana in a bowl with nachos for dipping alongside guacamole.

What To Serve with Salsa Mexicana

There’s nothing more satisfying than scooping through a homemade bowl of Salsa Mexicana with nachos.

This salsa is really versatile. It can be served both as a dip or a sauce at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

If you’re making Salsa Mexicana as a dip serve it as a snack with queso dip, guacamole and ice cold beer or your favourite tequila cocktails.

If you’re going to use the salsa as a sauce, spoon it over your favourite enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tacos or taquitos. We especially love serving this salsa with scrambled eggs in the morning for brunch.

If you’re hosting a Mexican-themed dinner party you might want to serve our Salsa Mexicana recipe with:

This healthy salsa recipe is vegan and vegetarian friendly.
This healthy salsa recipe is vegan and vegetarian friendly.

You May Also Enjoy These Dip Recipes…

Now you're an expert on how to make an authentic Salsa Mexicana recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make an authentic Salsa Mexicana recipe!

How To Make Traditional Salsa Mexicana (RECIPE VIDEO)

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5 from 1 vote

Dry Roasted Salsa Mexicana

How to make traditional Salsa Mexicana. Our healthy vegan dry roasted Mexican salsa recipe is a yummy dip to serve as a snack with nachos.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Salsa Mexicano
Servings: 4
Calories: 42kcal


  • French knife
  • Large Skillet
  • Food processor
  • tongs
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons


  • 1 Spanish Cooking Onion
  • 2 Serrano Chiles
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 5 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt


  • Over medium heat in a nonstick skillet add the onion, garlic, chili, and tomatoes and cook until charred on both sides.
  • Remove the chili stems then transfer all of the charred vegetables to a food processor with cilantro and salt. Blitz until pureed.
  • Roasted Salsa Mexicana can be served warm or at room temperature.


Calories: 42kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.3g | Protein: 1.8g | Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 591mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 5.4g | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

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