This Italian Salsa Cruda is a great way to enjoy ripe summer tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and fresh Italian herbs. It is perfect for bruschetta, tossed with pasta, or spooned over grilled meat or fish.
If you enjoy fresh salsa, you will like this Italian salsa cruda recipe. Also known as salsa cruda di pomodoro or raw tomato sauce. It is similar to the Mexican pico de gallo but with an Italian twist.
Summer fresh tomatoes are the star of this recipe.
Fresh, seasonal tomatoes from the garden or farmers’ market are so sweet and flavorful. Locally grown heirloom tomatoes at the grocery store will work wonderfully as well. Keep the tomatoes at room temperature when you bring them home. Refrigerating affects the flavor and texture of the fruit.
Peppers add crunch, color, and lots of flavor to the Italian salsa cruda.
Either green bell peppers, or colorful ripe sweet bell peppers are a great choice. Also consider Marconi, Jimmy Nardello, or other sweet Italian frying pepper. If you want to add a bit of heat, try pepperoncini peppers.
Don’t fear the raw garlic in this recipe.
The strong flavor of raw garlic is tamed when combined with acidic vegetables and vinegar. No one enjoys biting into a chunk of raw garlic, so be sure to either grate the garlic cloves with the small holes of a box grater, or mince it very fine. The raw garlic flavor will mellow and infuse with the other ingredients in the salsa cruda after mixing.
How to Make Italian Salsa Cruda
This Italian Salsa Cruda recipe is easy to throw together and offers a lot of fresh flavors from the ripe tomatoes, peppers, and fresh Italian herbs. Simply chop and combine with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, a bit of red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.
Let the salsa cruda sit out at room temperature for a least an hour after mixing. The vegetables will macerate and soften, and the flavors will mingle into a delicious raw salsa.
Serving Ideas for Italian Salsa Cruda
As a dip
Serve as a chunky dip with crackers, crostini, grilled flat bread, sliced cucumbers, or baked zucchini chips.
Toss with pasta
This wonderful raw tomato sauce is perfect for summer pasta dishes served warm or cold. Simply prepare your pasta, drain, and top with the salsa cruda. Finish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and enjoy.
Use as a bruschetta topping
Italian salsa cruda is delicious heaped on grilled slices of crusty bread, bruschetta style. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch slices, grill or toast under a broiler until lightly browned, rub with garlic, and top with the salsa cruda. Try it with this Roasted Garlic Rosemary Bread.
Spoon over grilled meat or fish
This Italian-style uncooked tomato sauce is tasty served over grilled fish or chicken. Drizzle with fresh squeezed lemon, and sprinkle with additional fresh Italian herbs.
Feel free to explore variations using your favorite ingredients. Try different types of tomatoes and peppers. Swap some of the herbs for thyme or oregano. Replace the red wine vinegar with balsamic for some extra sweet richness. Add some chopped Kalamata olives. The possibilities are endless.
Italian Salsa Cruda (Salsa Cruda di Pomodoro)
- 1 pound tomatoes diced about 2 cups
- 1 medium bell pepper diced about 1 cup
- 4 cloves garlic grated or chopped very fine
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- Mix all the ingredients in a glass bowl.
- Let the salsa cruda sit out for a least an hour at room temperature to let the flavors marinate.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Makes about 3 cups. Refrigerate leftovers and use within 2-3 days.