Traditional Argentine Food #2 – Salsa Criolla

Salsa Criolla is essentially the South American version of the salsa, with heavy emphasis on onions! Its very commonly seen in Argentina as a dip or accompaniment in almost every parilla in Buenos Aires. It goes well with bread, steak, seafood and chicken but you can eat it with pretty much everything you would a traditional salsa.

Until very recently we served criolla with all of our dinners and mains as a nice alternative to our amazing chimmichurri but as winter drove on it became less popular and we withdrew it from the dinners. It may make a return for the summer though as there arn’t many accompaniments as refreshing as this one on a hot day. and its very easy to make.

Traditional recipes are involve dicing the following:

onion, tomato and pepper and adding herbs such as oregano, salt and pepper and then adding olive oil and white vinegar all together in a bowl and keeping refrigerated until serving.

Bo – “Salsa Criolla is one of my favourite accompaniments in Argentina, its refreshing and the emphasis is on having the freshest ingredients possible but as with most things I make I have added what I consider to be improvements. For example the criolla you find over here contains way too much fresh onion for my taste, it over powers everything, when I make criolla I add perhaps 1/4 of the onion that everyone else does. It still contains the satisfying crunch you associated with the salsa but you can at least talk to somebody after eating it without knocking them out with onion breath! I will tell you the method I came up with but by all means experiment and add your own twist. The following will serve around 20 people”

1/2 Onion

5/6 Plum Tomatoes (I prefer these as they are meatier and better to eat fresh rather than cook)

3 Peppers (mix up the types to add colour to your salsa)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup malt vinegar

1 large Cucumber

juice of 1 lemon


Finely dice all ingredients, as small as you can, the finer you chop the stronger the flavours will come through.

Add all the chopped ingredients into a bowl and add the oil and vinegar and mix thoroughly.

Add the following herbs depending on what you are serving: (also finely chopped)

Cilantro/ Parsley for meat

Dill/Chives for fish and seafood

Refrigerate until you ready to serve then just before you serve add salt and pepper to your discretion. By adding it last minute it doesn’t have a chance to soak into your salsa and the taste will still remain fresh.

“This method won’t overload your palate with onion and I can’t emphasise enough the need to use the freshest ingredients. The lemon juice gives it enough tang to go excellently with seafood”


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