Sephardic Salsa

This garlicky tomato salad comes from the Sephardic side of my husband’s family. Though it seems simple, it’s surprisingly flavorful thanks to a healthy dose of raw garlic and a zesty kick from jalapeno peppers. The spiciness in the jalapenos comes from a naturally occurring compound called capsaicin, which can be helpful with migraine relief, clearing up sinus congestion, and even reducing cholesterol and inflammation. When jalapenos are combined with tomatoes, heart-healthy olive oil and garlic, it makes for a powerfully healthy garnish.

The key to making this dish work is using fresh, quality ingredients. Use a good quality olive oil with a flavor you like. Chop up some fresh garlic, don’t rely on the jarred pre-minced variety. Fresh squeezed lemon juice is a must. Don’t skimp. It only has a few ingredients, so make sure they’re good ones. Salt will really bring out the garlicky flavor in this dish, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle on more till it tastes just right. The texture of this salad is somewhat reminiscent of a garlicky Mexican salsa fresca, which is why I call it Sephardic Salsa. It’s not super spicy; you can add more jalapeños or a touch of cayenne pepper for more heat, if desired. Alternatively, for a more mild salad, you can roast the jalapeños before adding them to the salad. Serve this as a side salad, as an alternative to salsa, or as a topping for grilled fish. Goes great with freshly Baked Pita Chips. It would make a tasty variation on salsa at your Super Bowl celebration, or anytime you need a garnish with a kick.

To learn how to make crispy homemade Baked Pita Chips, click here.

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Sephardic Salsa


  • 10 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2-3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Salt to taste
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: 8
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover
  • Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and stir until blended. Salt will really bring out the garlicky flavor in this dish, so don't be afraid to sprinkle on more till it tastes just right. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. Serve.

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Comments (3)Post a Comment

  1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    1 – How long can it last in the frig?
    2 – I looked at your link on how to roast the peppers, and it looks like I could try the oven method. If I am making the mess with the gloves, can I make more peppers and leave them in what liquid to have it ready for something else? If I let it sit in oil, then it would be ok, if used again for this recipe, any suggestions would be fabulous.
    3 – The recipe looks wonderful, and think will set aside for the passover foods to make, this would be great on matzoh or on celery.
    4 – Thank you for your creative recipes, and I enjoy your history blog.

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