This cilantro salsa is a fantastic taco bar topping. And, a fresh green salsa for any Southwest or Mexican meal. Bright herbs, green onions, spicy jalapeño and lime make this recipe versatile and tasty.
This green salsa is one of the best taco toppings, with all the fresh flavors you want in one spoonful. Spicy jalapeño, green onions, lime, and cilantro make this fresh green salsa great for tacos, my Chipotle Chicken Meatballs, nachos or a Mexican taco salad.
This cilantro salsa recipe is one of the best taco toppings for a taco bar
Salsas and fresh green toppings are always on the list when I'm figuring out what to put on a taco bar.
The filling for tacos is easy. You choose your protein or veggie, season it perfectly and boom! You have a great taco filling.
I have some great taco recipes you can try:
- Blackened Salmon Tacos are delicious fish tacos!
- Green Chili Beef Tacos are a great one-skillet meal.
- Corn and Chorizo Tacos are spicy and delicious.
- Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa would be great with extra cilantro!
- Veggie Loaded Carnitas Tacos are made in the slow cooker.
For the toppings I always have fresh cilantro on hand. Many of my tomato or fruit salsa recipes include cilantro, but sometimes I want a real pop of green freshness.
This cilantro-heavy, spicy jalapeño, green onion and lime mix is the most ideal combo. It's not a saucy salsa. Rather, a fresh topping that goes on tacos and so many other things.
What are traditional taco toppings?
On my trips to Mexico and of course to the taco stands in NYC and Queens, I see a slew of similar taco topping options.
The most traditional taco toppings include chopped white onions, cilantro and hot sauce. Beyond that you'll find different salsas, avocado and cheeses.
I'm sharing a taco toppings list that you'll want to keep handy at all times! Use any or all of these on a taco bar, with your weeknight taco dinner, or on top of nachos!
Toppings for tacos:
- Cotija or Queso Blanco cheese
- Hot sauce like Chalula
- Tomato salsa or pico de gallo
- Tomatillo or Green Salsa
- Diced avocado
- Chopped white onion
- Pickled red onions
- Pickled jalapeños
- Roasted corn or corn salsa
- Sliced scallions
- Jalapeños or diced chilis
- Grated cheese (cheddar or Pepper Jack)
- Sliced fresh or pickled radishes
- Sliced lettuce
- Black olives
- Diced tomatoes
- Cabbage slaw
- Fruit salsa
- Sour cream or Crema
- Lime wedges
Not just for tacos!
This refreshing mix of greens and jalapeño is not just for taco topping.
I serve loads of this cilantro salsa on my Mexican Meatballs. Here are a few other ways to enjoy this great topping.
- In a burrito
- On top of enchiladas
- Tossed into a Southwest salad
- Sprinkled over grilled steak
- On grilled chicken
- Over nachos for a crowd
A fresh salsa recipe with cilantro as the star
It's easy to make this great condiment. Cilantro is the star of this salsa and you can begin with that.
Cilantro adds a fresh herb boost and the leaves add bulk to the salsa. This salsa isn't saucy or wet. The lime adds a little juice, but it's almost like pico de gallo as far as being a nice fresh topping without the sauce.
Here are some helpful tips and instructions.
• Wash and dry the cilantro. I use a salad spinner.
Gather the cilantro together by the stems and start chopping from the leaves toward the stems. When you get to just the stems you can discard them. A few tender stems in the chopped mix will be great. There is a lot of flavor in cilantro stems.
• Seed the jalapeño and cut it with the skin side down on the cutting board.
Get the seeds and white pith from the inside of the pepper out. The white pith isn't super tasty and the seeds add too much heat.
Set the pieces of pepper on the cutting board with the skin side down. As you slice and dice, your knife will cut right through the pepper without sliding off the skin. No cut fingers here!
Cilantro Salsa Recipe
- 1½ cups chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- ¾ cup finely sliced scallions, white and green parts
- ⅓ cup finely diced, seeded jalapeño
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Use immediately.
Tools you'll need for this recipe:
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Recipe by Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes and food styling for magazines, books, television and advertising. Find out more about me!
Recipe and food styling Tara Teaspoon. Photography Darianne Edwards.