Chips and salsa is just one of those snacks that I crave once in a while. The only downside is the sodium content. For a snack-sized amount of chips and salsa, you can easily hit well over 500 mg of sodium! And that was just from your snack choice! This low-sodium salsa is as fresh and guilt-free as they come.
Enjoy your favorite condiment without the added salt or sugar that many store-bought canned and fresh salsa varieties have.
Heart-Healthy Tip: Choose lower sodium or no-salt-added tortilla chips to pair with your low-sodium salsa for extra low-sodium bonus points. See below for my favorite tortilla chip recommendations!
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Daily Sodium Needs
Choosing lower sodium versions of all your normally higher sodium foods and snacks is always a great idea. Our bodies only need about 500 mg of sodium per day to function properly. That adds up very quickly.
Sodium is an essential nutrient which is responsible for regulating blood pressure and maintaining fluid balance in our bodies. It also aids in muscle contracture and nerve function. However, too much sodium can raise blood pressure and lead to weight gain from fluid retention.
If you have high blood pressure (hypertension) or heart disease, you may have been told by your physician to follow a heart-healthy diet or perhaps limit you sodium intake to improve your blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day if you have high blood pressure. However, for general health, most adults should get around 2,300 mg per day.
To put things into perspective, one teaspoon of table salt = 2,300 mg sodium. And FYI, the majority of our daily sodium intake does not come from the salt shaker. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the largest portion of our daily sodium intake comes from commercially prepared, processed foods.
Now, let’s see where salsa measures up in terms of sodium content.
Does Store Bought Salsa Have a Lot of Sodium?
In general, most store-bought salsas are not low sodium food products. They can potentially contribute to a good amount of your daily sodium intake. It all depends on how much salt is added during food production and of course how much you decide to eat.
Here, I’ve compiled a list of some popular store-bought salsas along with their sodium content per serving.
|Salsa Brand/Type||Amount Sodium Per 2-Tbsp Serving|
|Tostitos Chunky Salsa||250 mg|
|Tostitos Restaurant Style Salsa||200 mg|
|Herdez Salsa Verde||230 mg|
|Chi-Chi’s Thick and Chunky Salsa||170 mg|
|Cholula Original Salsa||260 mg|
|Pace Chunky Salsa||230 mg|
|Newman’s Own Mild Salsa||90 mg|
|Amy’s Salsa Medium||190 mg|
As you can see, each 2-tablespoon serving will add a significant amount of sodium to your diet.
This low-sodium salsa recipe is only 15 mg of sodium per 2-tablespoon serving or 118 mg per half-cup serving!
And what’s up with the added sugars that some brands add to their salsa?
Added sugars should be limited for heart health. This is because added sugars contribute to extra calories, leading to obesity and chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, added sugars provide zero nutritional value.
In my opinion there is no place for it in salsa. However, some people will argue that a little sugar is needed to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. I’ll let you be the judge of that one, but you won’t find any added sugars in this low-sodium salsa recipe.
Rotel Original No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies– this is the best no salt added tomato product. The green chilies add a moderate amount of heat, making these perfect for salsa or any other Mexican dish.
Jalapeno Pepper– for even more heat in this low-sodium salsa, I added half of a jalapeno pepper (with seeds removed).
Red Onion– I prefer red onion in salsa. However, you can also use a white onion or even green onion (spring onions).
Cilantro– I love cilantro. And I definitely disagree with the 4-14% of the population that swears it tastes like soap. This herb is amazingly flavorful and bright. This heart-healthy salsa would not be the same without it. Feel free to adjust the amount to your preferred liking.
Lime Juice– I love the fresh taste of lime in salsa. I know folks who use lemon juice as an alternative. Whichever form of citrus you prefer is perfectly fine.
Salt and Pepper– Just a small amount of salt and pepper to taste.
How to Make Low Sodium Salsa
If you’re making this low-sodium salsa with a food processor, the entire process will take less than 5 minutes. However, you can make this salsa without a food processor as well. For these instructions, see the “Additional Notes” section in the recipe card below.
- The first thing you want to do is gather your ingredients and set up your food processor.
- I pre-chopped the red onion and jalapeno (which is totally optional and not necessary if you’re using a food processor). Skip the pre-chopping if you like.
- Add all ingredients to your food processor and pulse a few times until the salsa is at your preferred texture and consistency.
- That’s it! Now it’s time to enjoy your homemade restaurant-style salsa!
All together, this low-sodium salsa recipe will make two and three quarter (2.75) cups of salsa or 5.5 half-cup servings. You can eat it right away or wait at least an hour for the flavors to meld.
Substitutions and Variations
The more you pulse, the finer and thinner your salsa will be. I actually prefer a slightly watery, restaurant-style salsa, which is exactly how this recipe turns out. Or maybe you want to adjust the amount of heat in this recipe? The following substitutions and variations will help.
If you like a chunkier, less-watery salsa, there are a few things you can do:
- pulse the mixture less
- drain some of the liquid from the canned tomatoes
- use less lime juice
For a milder salsa:
- leave out the jalapeno pepper
- use green bell pepper in place of the jalapeno
- omit the jalapeno AND substitute low-sodium canned tomatoes that do not have green chilies
- Use fresh tomatoes instead of the Rotel No Salt Added- substitute
Other spicy salsa options:
- substitute fire-roasted low-sodium canned tomatoes and add a tablespoon of chopped chipotle pepper
- substitute serrano pepper for the jalapeno pepper
- add a dash of sriracha or hot pepper sauce
Storing your freshly made low-sodium salsa is super simple. You can use any storage containers with a tight-fitting lid.
Or you can be environmentally friendly by reusing empty jars that you’ve saved for moments like this! Since this recipe makes 2.75 cups of salsa, you might need two salsa jars.
Whichever way you choose to store it, this heart-healthy salsa will stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Low Sodium Chip Options
Now that you have your delicious low-sodium salsa made, what kind of chips should you enjoy them with?
Store-bought tortilla chips are often high in sodium, making them off-limits for those following a low-sodium diet. However, some brands do cater to those looking for low-salt or no-salt ship options. Here are are few of my favorite salt-free and lower sodium tortilla chip options that pair perfectly with this healthy salsa recipe.
- Xochitl Mexican Style Tortilla Chips, No Salt (Affiliate link)
2. Siete Grain Free No Salt Tortilla Chips (Affiliate link)
3. Garden of Eatin’ No Salt Added Blue Corn Chips (Affiliate link)
What Can You Eat Instead of Chips for Salsa?
While chips go oh-so-well with fresh salsa, you can eat this healthy salsa with other foods as well. Here are some popular options:
- any vegetables you like (try jicama, bell peppers, celery sticks, or carrot sticks)
- cucumber or zucchini slices
- rice cakes
Other low sodium recipes you might enjoy:
- Low Sodium Taco Seasoning Blend
- Spinach Pesto
- Tahini Salad Dressing
- Turmeric Balls
- Oatmeal Protein Bites
- Apple Butter Recipe [Small Batch]
- Chewy Granola Bar Recipe
It is not the salsa itself that will raise blood sugar but rather the sodium in your salsa. High sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure. Additionally, consuming large amounts of salsa that is moderate to high in sodium can add to your daily sodium intake, therefore increasing your blood pressure.
Homemade salsa can be much healthier than store-bought salsa in terms of the sodium content. If making it yourself, you have control over how much salt is added.
Yes, by trying different types of peppers, you can adjust the flavor and heat in this low-sodium salsa. For milder salsa, try using green bell pepper or poblano pepper. Or for a spicier salsa, try serrano pepper.
Yes, you can substitute fresh tomatoes for the canned tomatoes. In fact, if you make this during tomato season, you’ll end up with incredible results. Keep in mind that the canned tomatoes used in this recipe have green chilis added, which will add more flavor and spice compared to substituting with fresh tomatoes.
Yes. You can make this salsa one to two days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Consume it within 5 days of making it for the freshest taste.
Low Sodium Salsa (With Canned Tomatoes!)
- 1 Food Processor optional
- 2 10 oz cans Rotel Original No Salt Added tomatoes and green chilies
- ½ jalapeno pepper seeds removed
- ½ cup cilantro
- ¼ cup red onion
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Gather all your ingredients and assemble your food processor (if using).
- Add all ingredients to your food processor. (See notes if you do not have a food processor).
- Pulse all ingredients a few times until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve with tortilla chips, veggies, or as a topping or condiment.
- If you like a chunkier salsa, or you do not have a food processor, you can make this salsa by chopping the jalapeno and red onion to your desired consistency then mixing everything together. The canned tomatoes can easily be mashed with a fork if you do not like chunky salsa.
- This salsa may be too spicy for some people. For less heat, omit the jalapeno. The canned Rotel already has some spice from the green chilies. Or try 1/4 cup green bell pepper in place of the jalapeno.
- For more heat, try a spicier pepper such as a serrano or add a small amount of chipotle pepper.
Share with me: I’d love to hear from you. Message me in the comments below if you’ve tried this low sodium salsa recipe or share your favorite homemade salsa recipe! I’m always looking for more!
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Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.