What can I use instead of salsa? This salsa substitute with no tomatoes recipe uses fruits for a 1:1 salsa alternative that’s great as a dip for tortilla chips or on nachos. It’s only five ingredients and vegan, plant-based, Paleo, and gluten-free. You'll also learn the best substitute for jarred salsa in recipes and a substitute for salsa on tacos.
- 🍅 What can I use instead of tomato salsa?
- 🌮 What can I use instead of salsa for nachos?
- 🥫 Can you substitute diced tomatoes for salsa?
- 🤔 Can you substitute salsa for Pico de Gallo?
- ⭐ Substituting Salsa Benefits
- 🥘 Ingredients in Salsa Substitute
- 🔪 How to Substitute Salsa
- 🌡️ Salsa Substitute Storage
- 📋 Salsa Substitute Nutrition
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 How to Use Salsa Substitutes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
🍅 What can I use instead of tomato salsa?
What can I use if I don’t have salsa? There are a number of foods that are best as a salsa replacement, depending on how you want to use them. Here are some foods you can use as alternatives for salsa:
- Marinara sauce (tomato sauce)
- Crushed tomatoes
- Fresh tomatoes (diced tomatoes)
- Canned tomatoes
- Tomato juice
- Chipotle hot sauce
- Tomato paste
- Picante sauce
- Pico de Gallo
- Enchilada sauce
- Salsa verde
- Green chiles
Please note that only some of these substitutes for salsa can be used as 1:1 substitute. For example, you can use marinara sauce or another tomato sauce in place of salsa in my Air Fryer Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe. However, hot sauce is not a good replacement for large amounts salsa in recipes.
Use a small amount of hot sauce, ketchup, tomato juice, or tomato paste to replace SMALL amounts of salsa in a recipe only. A little of these ingredients go a long way. They can work as an easy salsa substitute in recipes in a pinch to add heat or sweet.
To substitute larger amounts of salsa, you need an alternative that has a similar flavor and texture to salsa. Spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatoes, or canned diced tomatoes are better as 1:1 salsa substitutes in recipes. You can season these foods with chili powder or other spicy ingredients to give them a kick.
🌮 What can I use instead of salsa for nachos?
What can be used in place of salsa for nachos? Some of the non tomato salsa dips work wonderfully as alternatives to salsa for nachos. Here are some ideas:
- Sour cream or Mexican sour cream dip
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Keto cheese dip
- Bean dip
- My salsa with no tomatoes (in the recipe card below)
You can also use any of the above as a salsa substitute for tacos. Though these substitutes for salsa with no tomatoes are great on tortilla chips, they are not good salsa substitutes for recipes.
🥫 Can you substitute diced tomatoes for salsa?
Diced tomatoes can work as a substitute for chunky salsa in certain recipes. For example, I’ve had success using diced tomatoes in place of salsa in certain soups and casseroles. You may want to add diced green chiles, onion, and garlic powder to the tomatoes as well, for extra flavor.
Can you substitute salsa for diced tomatoes in chili?
Yes, salsa can replace diced tomatoes in chili. I use this substitution sometimes, depending on what’s available in my kitchen. Hot salsa will make the chili spicy, so use mild chili if you can’t take the heat!
🤔 Can you substitute salsa for Pico de Gallo?
Pico de Gallo (AKA salsa fresca) is a type of fresh salsa that you can use as a jarred salsa alternative. It works well both in recipes and in dishes you top with salsa.
⭐ Substituting Salsa Benefits
Why substitute salsa? Here are a few reasons:
- Sweet and heat: You have better control over the sweetness and spicy heat with salsa alternatives. For example, you can increase the heat in this recipe by leaving the seeds in the jalapeno. For a milder salsa alternative, leave the seeds out.
- No sugar added: Some salsas can have sugar added, particularly the fruit salsas. This is sugar free salsa is a great alternative to condiments (including ketchup and barbecue sauce) that are packed with added sugar.
- Low sodium salsa: Jarred salsa may be high sodium due to added salt plus the natural sodium in tomatoes. My salsa substitute has no salt added and is low fat with fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals. You’re getting the good stuff in salsa with far less sodium.
- Easy homemade salsa recipe: You need only 5 ingredients to make this simple salsa alternative.
- Vegan salsa: Many salsas are whole foods plant based (wfpb), gluten free, and vegan. This alternative is salsa is as well.
- Delicious: This homemade salsa substitute is so tasty, I could eat it by itself for a snack! The combination of peaches and cherries would be a great fruit salad combo too.
🥘 Ingredients in Salsa Substitute
Here is your shopping list to make a homemade salsa substitute:
- 2 cups cherries
- 1 cup peaches
- 1 jalapeno
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
The secret on how to make the best salsa in the world is to use fresh ingredients that you like. The perfect time to make this recipe is when fresh cherries and peaches are in season.
If you don’t care for balsamic vinegar, substitute with fresh lime juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or orange juice.
The one downside to creating recipes with fresh cherries is that you have to pit them all. I use this cherry pitter to help me out, but I’ve heard a paperclip works just as well.
You’ll also need a good knife to chop the fruits and veggies. Some prefer to pulse ingredients in a food processor to save time.
🔪 How to Substitute Salsa
Rinse the fruits and veggies and pat them dry. Pit and stem the cherries, and chop them into one-eighths.
Finely chop the peach, jalapeno, and cilantro. If you don’t chop them small enough, you’ll have something closer to a fruit salad than a salsa.
I prefer to remove the seeds of the jalapeno for this recipe. You can leave them in if you prefer a hot salsa substitute.
Stir the chopped cherries, chopped peaches, jalapeno, cilantro, and balsamic vinegar together. Leave your salsa substitute in the refrigerator until serving time.
Use it as a salsa sauce for tacos (especially fish tacos), on burgers, or as a chip dip. This salsa substitute is better as a topping than as an ingredient in recipes.
🌡️ Salsa Substitute Storage
You can keep this salsa substitute recipe in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. It does not freeze well; the fruits become mushy when thawed.
📋 Salsa Substitute Nutrition
How many calories in salsa substitute? How many carbs in salsa substitute? One fourth of the recipe of this salsa substitute has 68 calories, 14.6 grams net carbs, and 1.2 grams protein.
The above portion is a good amount to use as a chip dip. If using the salsa substitute to top fish or tacos, you may want to cut the portions in half. (In other words, this recipe will make 8 servings in that case.)
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Both salsa and most alternatives to salsa are low calorie and rich in phytonutrients. You can use salsa to top chicken, fish, pork, or as a traditional snack dip. If you’re vegetarian, salsas are also great on top of cooked grains.
You could serve this salsa sub as a snack with a pile of corn chips or apple chips. If you are trying to lose weight however, try salsa as a condiment for lean protein. This makes for a low-calorie but delicious and filling meal that may help support weight loss.
Here, I used the salsa alternative as a topping on white fish, with sides of wild rice and roasted Brussels sprouts. Four food groups have been covered! This is just one example of a healthy way to use salsa.
Tomato salsa and salsa subs can also add low calorie fiber and fluid volume to soups, chili, and casseroles. (They pack in a ton of flavor as well!) Using some of the salsa substitutes mentioned here can help give you more tasty variety in your meals.
If you find cilantro has a soapy taste, substitute cilantro in salsa with another fresh herb. Some popular options are flat leaf Italian parsley, mint, Thai basil, or culantro (AKA Mexican coriander).
Both taco sauce and salsa work as a topping for tacos, burritos, and other Mexican food. If the taco sauce is closer to hot sauce than salsa, it cannot be used as a salsa replacement in recipes.
Ro-tel is a combination of canned diced tomatoes and green chilies. You can use it as a substitute for chunky salsa in certain recipes, such as stuffed peppers. However, I find Rotel too watery to use as a nacho or taco topping.
You may be able to use very smooth salsa in place of enchilada sauce in recipes. Substitute salsa verde for green enchilada sauce, and use red salsa for red enchilada sauce.
Can I substitute salsa for picante sauce? American picante sauce is typically a smooth salsa that can be used interchangeably with other salsas. Salsa picante from Mexican cuisine is more like a hot sauce, and cannot be used as a 1-to-1 salsa alternative.
Salsa verde is primarily made of tomatillos so green chilies are not a perfect match for recipes. Small amounts of green chilies may work as a sub for salsa verde.
Lizano Salsa Sauce is a condiment from Costa Rica that is very unlike what we call “salsa” in the U.S. With its savory and complex flavor, Worcestershire sauce is the best substitute for Salsa Lizano (IMO).
👩🏻🍳 How to Use Salsa Substitutes
Here are some recipes where you can use salsa alternatives:
Always use good judgement regarding which type of salsa substitute is best for which recipe!
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Best Salsa Substitutes (Plus Substitute for Salsa Recipe!)
- 2 cups fresh sweet cherries
- 1 cup peach, finely chopped (about 1 medium peach)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Rinse the fruits and veggies and pat them dry. Pit and stem the cherries, and chop them into ⅛s.
- Finely chop the peach, jalapeno, and cilantro. If you don’t chop them small enough, you’ll have something closer to a fruit salad than a salsa.
- I prefer to remove the seeds of the jalapeno for this recipe. You can leave them in if you prefer a hot salsa substitute.
- Stir the chopped cherries, chopped peaches, jalapeno, cilantro, and balsamic vinegar together. Leave your salsa substitute in the refrigerator until serving time.