Recipes Sauces And Condiments

Fermented Salsa

I started making fermented salsa in my quest for the perfect spicy condiment. I love hot sauce, but it doesn’t have much in the way of texture. I love chili oils, but they are so calorific I don’t want to eat them every day. Enter fermented salsa – fresh flavours that brighten up almost any dish and nourish you and your gut.

This salsa is versatile. I like to keep some in my fridge at all times to add flavour to sandwiches, put on my morning eggs, I often have some for lunch on top of a piece of wholemeal toast spread with hummus and topped with leafy greens, or even at the weekend with tortilla chips, guac and a beer.

If you are afraid of fermented foods 1 -don’t be and 2 – this salsa might be a good place to start. It doesn’t taste aggressively fermented, it’s just nicely sour and has a little bit more depth than fresh salsa.

It also has the benefit of being a quick ferment. The larger your pieces of vegetables are, the longer they take to ferment. Because the pieces here are so small it’s done in about 3 days. You’ll know it’s done you see some small bubbles and it tastes and smells pleasantly sour. If in doubt you can visit Cultures For Health who have more in depth information on fermentation.


1 red onion

1 red chili – or 2 if you want it spicier

1 yellow pepper

1 lime

500g tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

30g fresh coriander

15g / 1 tbsp salt


Peel the onion, slice into three pieces.

Slice the pepper into chunks, removing seeds and white pith. Slice the lime in half.

Heat a large, heavy bottomed cast iron griddle pan over high heat and place the onion, lime and pepper on it, face down, for several minutes, until blackened, then flip and repeat on the other side. Put the chili on as well, whole. You don’t want to cook the anything here, just blacken and caramelise to add flavour.

Remove from heat, allow to cool, then roughly chop the onion, pepper, lime and tomatoes. Slice off the lime peel and chop. Slice the chili, removing the seeds if you feel they will be too spicy. Mince the garlic, finely slice the coriander and mix everything together with the salt, massaging gently so the natural juices are released. Then, in batches, pulse in a food processor until you reach your desired texture. Or, if you want it on the chunky side you can chop by hand.

Place in a clean jar and press down so that all the solid components are underneath a layer of liquid. I also recommend covering with some baking parchment to be sure that none of the salsa is exposed to air, as this is when mould arises.

Close lid and leave in a cool, dark place for 3 days, or until it’s fermented to your liking. Once it reaches your sweet spot keep in the refrigerator to halt the fermentation process.