Fermented Salsa

fermented salsa - quirky cooking

One of the most important ways to keep your gut healthy and happy is to give it plenty of natural probiotics. When your gut is healthy, the opportunistic flora is limited in numbers and greatly controlled by the good bacteria. But if the good bacteria in the gut is weakenered and damaged, the bad bacteria get out of control. These microbes cause many health problems. Amongst other things, they wreak havoc with the digestive system, and cause leaky gut (damaged gut wall integrity), which means partially digested foods can escape into the bloodstream. This results in immune system attacks, and can lead to autoimmune diseases. (For more info, see this article.) 

We are working on gut healing using the GAPS diet, which helps to detox the body and reduce the bad bacteria and toxins in the gut, so that the gut flora can regain health and flourish. A big part of this healing diet is making natural probiotics (like fermented veges and sauerkraut) a regular part of our meals. Fermented veggies in fact contain many times more strains of good bacteria than commercially produced probiotic capsules. So we get sauerkraut and other fermented veggies on our plates as often as we can! Sometimes I make my own, sometimes (when I can’t keep up with everything) I buy Kehoe’s Kitchen saerkrauts. (Kehoe’s Kitchen’s products are wild fermented and unheated – they are available in the refrigerated section at health food shops. Beware of supermarket fermented veggies as they are generally heated, which kills the good bacteria.)

If you’d like to try making your own fermented veggies, this recipe is a great one for beginners, as it’s super simple, very quick to make, and is a delicious condiment! I’ve adapted it from an old favourite which you can find here (and also in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook). My kids don’t like fresh coriander for some strange reason, but they will eat ground coriander seeds, so I changed the recipe to suit us. I also added cumin, because you can never have too much cumin in your life. Ha ha!

I think I like this best with the whole seeds, but the kids like it better with the ground spices – play with it and see what you think. You can reduce the amount of chillies and add some red and green capsicum if you want to make this more child friendly. But I love the spiciness of this salsa – a little goes a long way. I serve it with:

– chilli, avocado and lettuce

– on scrambled or poached eggs with paleo bread, toasted

– mixed into mashed avocados for a dip

– mixed into dairy free sour cream (or cultured sour cream) as a dip

– as a salad dressing… add some homemade mayonnaise if you like

– alongside lamb and braised lentils

If you like Mexican food and love to add salsa to spice up your meals, you’ve got to try this!


Fermented Salsa - Quirky Cooking
Breakfast idea: Fermented salsa on scrambled eggs (with grated zucchini), paleo bread toast and avocado, and some red cabbage sauerkraut.



Fermented Salsa

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  • Author: QuirkyJo



46 tomatoes

68 cloves garlic

100g green and/or red chillies, deseeded and quartered

1 handful of Italian parsley

1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds (or 1 tsp whole coriander seeds)

1/4 tsp ground cumin (or 1/2 tsp cumin seeds)

1 tsp dried oregano

2 small onions, halved

juice of 2 lemons

1 1/2 Tbsp fine sea salt

1/4 cup filtered water


1. First, remove the skin from the tomatoes: bring a pan of water to a boil, place tomatoes into the water, and simmer for a few minutes until the skins begin to blister. Take out of the water and cool slightly, then remove skins. Chop into 1cm cubes, and place in a large bowl.

2. Place chillies, garlic and parsley into a Thermomix bowl and chop 3 sec/speed 7.

3. Add onions and chop 3 sec/speed 5.

4. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix together, then place into a large, clean, glass jar. (I like to use clip-seal preserving jars.)

5. Press down with a wooden pounder or meat hammer and add a little more filtered water if necessary to cover the veggies. The top of the veggies should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.

6. Cover tightly with lid and keep at room temp for 2-3 days before transferring to the fridge.


  1. Lasts for up to a year in the fridge.
  2. Don’t stress about whether it’s ‘off’ or not – you will know if there’s anything wrong with fermented veggies because they’ll smell so bad you won’t want to eat them. This recipe is super simple, and I’ve never had it go ‘off’.

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20 thoughts on “Fermented Salsa

  1. Louise Schofield says:

    Hi Jo
    I have citrus allergy. Could I substitute apple cider vinegar in your demented salsa recipie?
    Thanks very much for your recipies. I am looking forward to seeing you in Perth.

  2. Kerry says:

    Hi Jo,

    How much fresh coriander would you use instead of the seeds. Also would it just be the leaves or stalk and roots as well.


  3. Susan says:

    Do you have a basic fermenting recipe to use with any vegetables that doesn’t call for buying a “culture starter” from a health shop or such place, like I’ve seen on some blogs and websites. We live in a country town, such a shop and that type of product not available here. People and nationalities that did fermenting I’m sure didn’t use such a product, either, in the past. We need to be nightshade and GF.
    Sincere thanks

  4. Angela says:

    Hi Jo, thanks for sharing – im going to give it a try, I have the whole spices – do I wizz them up any first? or is the idea to chuck in whole? Cheers

  5. Freya says:

    Do you think the onion can be left out? (On a low FODMAP diet). I understand that good bugs (and bad!) like onion…
    I love your blog and book, many thanks for all that you share 🙂

  6. Jan Wallace says:

    Hi Jo. In this recipe, you havent mentioned about mixing salt with the filtered water? Or did I miss something? I am also a maker of fermented foods at home and know how crucial the salt is. Tia. Love your blog books fb page etc x

  7. Andrew says:

    Do you need to add any starter culture? If so what brand do you use?
    Thanks for all your knowledge Jo. I have your book and enjoy your website.

    • QuirkyJo says:

      You don’t need any starter culture – this is a wild fermented recipe and salt is all you need. 🙂

  8. Jasmin says:

    I just made this with some of my mum’s homegrown garlic and coriander instead of parsley ? It smells amazing! Is your room temperature in FNQ quite warm? My kitchen in our poorly insulated house gets pretty hot in SEQ, so I’m just wondering if I should keep it a bit cooler downstairs.

  9. Beth says:

    Hi Jo, thanks for all your recipes, you have been a great help to me! I’m looking to start doing some fermenting now so would like to try this recipe, just wondering what water filter you use and what ones are good for using with fermented foods & water kefir?
    Thank you!

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