Fresh Tomato Salsa with Cilantro – Cooking with Kids Recipe

Fresh Tomato Salsa with Cilantro and chips on plate

It’s September, peak time for locally grown tomatoes, and our garden is no exception.  I love seeing the deep bright reds that change color practically overnight.  If you grow your own or purchase from a local farmer, you know that there is no substitute for vine-ripened tomatoes.

Garden tomatoes on vine

Today Bryan and the kids helped me make one of my favorite recipes, fresh salsa!  We started the morning in the garden, picking ripe tomatoes.  This was my favorite part.  I loved watching Mason and Lily run through the garden grabbing every red tomato they could find to fill the buckets.  It was so fun to see them beaming with pride when they showed us what they picked.

Child picking tomatoes from garden

Kids picking tomatoes from garden

Mason and Lily picking tomatoes

Girl standing in garden by tomatoes picked

Once we gathered all the ingredients to get started, it was a pretty quick and easy.  The kids love this recipe because there was plenty for them to do… lots of chopping and mixing.  They can have a little more independence since there are no unsafe ingredients, hot cooking, or complex steps.  They can take full ownership of the recipe. 🙂

So, guess what we ate at snack time today… chips & salsa, of course!

The salsa is also great on chicken, eggs, salads, rice, vegetables, or in quesadillas, cheese dips, or omelets, but the family favorite is salsa with tortilla chips.  It must be the crunch.

Our family has come to love Donkey Chips Unsalted Tortilla chips.  Bryan and I don’t like the typical amount of salt on most tortilla chips.  So we rarely bought them until we came across the Donkey chips at a local grocery store.  There are probably more unsalted chips on the market, but this is all we’ve found in our area.

To get started, here is a list of supplies you will need:

Please note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product using my affiliate link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.  All affiliate links are highlighted with an asterisk(*).

Boy rinsing tomatoes in kitchen sink

Dylan washing produce


Every child’s ability varies depending on maturity or cognitive and physical ability.  Parents need to use their own discretion when assigning tasks.  These are general guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Salsa with Cilantro.

18 months – 3 years old:

  • Wash fresh produce
  • Name and count ingredients with child
  • Add ingredients into bowl
  • Mix ingredients together

Ages 3 – 5 years old

  • All of the younger tasks
  • Chop fresh de-seeded tomatoes and pepper
    • It is helpful to cut vegetables into smaller manageable sections
  • Chop fresh onion
    • To reduce chances of watery eyes, try sunglasses or goggles and keep cut side down
  • Cut herbs using a kid-safe scissors*
  • Use measuring spoons and cups

Ages 6 – 7 years old

  • All of the younger tasks
  • De-seed tomatoes and green pepper

Ages 8 – 9 years old

  • All of the younger tasks
  • Juice the lime

Age 10 – 12 years old

  • Should be able to complete all tasks to this recipe with adult supervision
Child chopping green peppers with kid safe knife

Lily chopping the green peppers


  • Wash everyone’s hands!
  • Clean all work surfaces before starting.
  • Leave tasting until the end. Your child(ren) might not understand the difference between a ready-to-eat ingredient and a raw unsafe ingredient.
  • It is okay for your kitchen to get a little messy.
  • Keep in mind that your child is learning, so patience is key!
Kids snipping cilantro with kid safe scissors

Mason and Lily snipping the cilantro

Kids juicing limes with hand juicer

Mason and Lily jucing the limes

Child adding lime juice to salsa

Lily adding the lime juice to the salsa

Child mixing fresh salsa

Lily mixing it all together

Fresh Tomato Salsa with Cilantro

Fresh garden tomatoes, flavored with onions, green peppers, cilantro and lime juice. A refreshing snack with tortilla chips or adds a delicious topping to grilled tilapia and homemade tacos.
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings: 8
Calories: 16kcal
Author: Stacey Weichelt, RDN, CD


  • 3 tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime juiced


  • Wash the outside layer of the tomatoes, pepper and lime. Rinse the cilantro under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Remove the stem and seeds from the tomatoes and dice into 1/2 inch pieces. To prevent the salsa from getting watery, it is important to remove the seeds.
  • Peel and dice onion into 1/4 inch pieces. When cutting onions with a child, make sure the cut side is down to reduce the chances of burning,watery eyes. My daughter also likes to wear sunglasses 🙂
  • Remove the stem and seeds from the green pepper and dice into 1/4 inch pieces.
  • Snip or chop the cilantro into smaller pieces.
  • Juice the lime. Use the method you prefer best. We use a standard citrus juicer, which is great for kids due to their limited hand strength.
  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl and stir until incorporated. If not using immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container.

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