CASA GALLARDO’S | Salsa Ranchera

by RRR

The famous Casa Gallardo Mexican restaurant chain was founded by Ramon Gallardo in 1975.  The first location was in the St. Louis area.

The late 1970’s and the 1980’s experienced an American love affair with Mexican restaurant chains.  Casa Gallardo quickly became one of the most popular Mexican restaurants, within the ranks of Chi Chi’s and El Torito.  The Mexican food obsession was so widespread that Time magazine published a piece titled “The Enchilada Millionaires” in 1982, in which Ramon Gallardo’s rags-to-riches story was featured.

The Salsa Ranchera that they served in the restaurants was so favored that the restaurant packaged a shelf-stable version that was sold retail in grocery stores nationwide.  Casa Gallardo has, since, gone the way of the beloved Chi Chi’s chain and has closed all of their stores.  But the memory of the legendary salsa lives on for those that were lucky enough to have had it.  In fact, one of my viewers of my YouTube channel requested that I recreate this salsa recipe.  In his own words, he commented, “I wake up daily wishing I could go sit at their bar, eating chips and salsa and sipping on a margarita with the glass rimmed in salt.”  That is salsa loyalty!

I was lucky enough to find the original recipe from the restaurant, itself!  The source of this recipe comes from the Casa Gallardo recipe binder of 1993, so this is the real deal!  However, the yield on the original recipe version was 1 gallon!  That is a LOT of salsa, so I reduced the ingredient quantities by half to make 1/2 gallon.  That is STILL a lot of salsa.

Casa Gallardo had 2 versions of their salsa, mild and spicy.  For a milder version, feel free to use less jalapenos in your recipe.  I would also recommend removing the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno, as that is where most of the heat is in a pepper.  For a spicier version, kick up the jalapeno and be sure to include the entire pepper.

The recipe also calls for jalapeno juice.  I used the brine from a jar of pickled jalapeno, instead, and it came out perfectly.  And make sure, when you blend the salsa in the food processor, not to over blend the mixture.  You don’t want to make a puree, the salsa should have some body to it.

Casa Gallardo's Salsa Ranchera

Serves: 1/2 gallon Prep Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • ½ LB. yellow onion
  • ½ LB. fresh jalapenos
  • ½ LB. firm, beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ½ LB. canned, crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ oz. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cold, filtered water
  • 1 oz. cider vinegar
  • 2 oz. jalapeno juice (or pickled jalapeno brine)
  • 1 TBL dried oregano
  • 1 TBL garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. sea salt


Remove jalapeno stems, cut in large pieces.  Cut onion in large chunks.  Chop onions and jalapenos in food processor for approximately 10 revolutions.  Do not allow the mixture to become a puree, you want it to be slightly chunky.  Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl.  Stir ingredients and replace into the food processor.  Blend the salsa until smooth but has a bodied texture.

Refrigerate until very chilled before serving.

Serve with Chipotle's Guacamole and Rubio's Fish Tacos and Enjoy!


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