Santa Maria-Style Salsa

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

The classic tomato and celery-based salsa is an accompaniment to Santa Maria-style barbecued tri-tip.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

  • Yield:Makes about 1 quart
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:15 minutes


  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced (about 2 1/2 cups total)
  • 1 stalk celery, peeled and diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 scallions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 fresh California green chili (Poblano or Hatch can be substituted), diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt


  1. 1.

    Combine tomatoes, celery, scallions, chili, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, and Worcestershire in a medium bowl and toss. Season to taste with salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Serve. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container for up to 5 days.