Charred Sweet Pepper & Tomato Salsa

Posted by Erin DuBois on

Outdoor grills are often considered a tool for cooking main courses only, such as steaks, hot dogs, or burgers. But cooking on a charcoal or wood-fueled grill adds such a delicious smoky flavor, that our family just can’t get enough. We’ve experimented with making everything from clams to pasta skewers, apple pie, and even funnel cake! 

We decided to make this salsa recipe to add some extra flavor and excitement to our camping trips. We replaced store-bought salsa and chips with this recipe, and we haven’t looked back since. This smoky salsa is perfect for cooking on our flat pack camping grills, as it requires minimal prep and can be cooked quickly over high heat. The combination of char-grilled sweet peppers and tangy tomatoes will make your mouth water and keep you coming back for more!

Salsa has a long and varied history, with numerous adaptations and variations coming from different parts of the world. The word “salsa” itself is derived from the Spanish word for sauce, and it is believed that the salsa originated in Central and South America, where prehistoric peoples like the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas produced hot sauces with chiles, tomatoes, and other ingredients. These sauces were frequently used to intensify flavors or add a little heat to dishes.

Early in the 20th century, the United States developed salsa that is familiar to us today. Mexican-American communities in Texas and California started infusing regional produce like bell pepper and corn with traditional Mexican ingredients like chiles, onions, and tomatoes to create a new kind of salsa that eventually became a cherished staple of American cooking.

We combined a few of our favorite things for this salsa recipe; sweet peppers, heirloom tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and jalapeños. The sweet peppers add a mild, slightly sweet flavor to the salsa, which compliments the acidity of the tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes, with their juicy and flavorful flesh, add a rich, fruity taste that is both tangy and sweet. Grape tomatoes, on the other hand, have a slightly more intense sweetness and firmer texture, which provides a nice contrast to the softer, juicier heirloom tomatoes. 

The jalapeños give the salsa a spicy kick that helps balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients. Jalapeños are the ideal choice for adding a little heat to this dish without overpowering it because of their mild to medium heat level. As a result, the salsa tastes even more vibrant and delicious. The heat from the jalapeños also helps to bring out the natural flavors of the other ingredients.

Red onion and garlic are also included in this recipe, two ingredients that are crucial for giving this charred sweet pepper and tomato salsa flavor depth and complexity. Red onions are renowned for their subtle sweetness and crisp texture, which gives salsa a nice crunch. It also adds a light sharpness that helps balance the sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers.

On the other hand, garlic gives the salsa a strong, earthy flavor. When garlic is cooked, aromatic compounds are released that give the salsa depth and a more savory taste.

All of these components come together to make a salsa that is both savory and sweet, with just a hint of heat. The combination of textures, from the soft tomato flesh to the crunch of the peppers and onions, also contributes to the salsa’s allure. So this salsa is sure to be a hit, whether you use it as a topping for grilled meats or a dip for tortilla chips!


Charred Sweet Pepper & Tomato Salsa

Spice up your outdoor cooking with this irresistible char-grilled salsa that strikes the perfect balance of sweetness, savoriness, and spiciness!


Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes


Servings: 2

Course: Snack or Condiment

Grill type: Otzi Ember Dual-Person Grill in Stainless Steel



3 heirloom tomatoes (halved) 

1-2 jalapeños 

6-8 sweet peppers

8oz grape or cherry tomatoes 

1/2 red onion

3 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp salt (or to taste)



  1. Place veggies on grill top and cook to desired doneness. Remove and allow to cool.
  2. Add tomatoes to a large mixing bowl. Mash with fork. 
  3. On a cutting board dice jalapeños, sweet peppers, red onion, and garlic. Combine with tomatoes in the mixing bowl.
  4. Add salt and mix well.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

If you try this recipe, be sure to let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a rating and comment below, and tag a photo @otzigear on Instagram for your chance to be featured on our page!

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