Fresh Salsa

Image by jamesjyu via Flickr

As you may be aware, I have a teenage son. He likes MEAT and STARCH. So how am I to get some vegetables in his diet? SALSA!

Salsa is a wonderful thing, because you can make it out of anything. You can make it mild, med-hot or super-hot. All depends on your tastes.. but the key here is it’s all veggies.

I don’t follow a recipe, I follow what is in my fridge or garden.

When my son asks for a snack, I say – have some salsa. He can go through a cup or more at a time. Salsa is also a great way to change-up your standard dinner:

  • Top some fresh grilled/pan sautéed chicken
  • Top on fresh fish with fresh salsa and bake/saute, Makes an instant sauce
  • Toss with some just cooked rice, makes a great side dish
  • Puree – instant gazpacho
  • Toss with corn – and sauté for a 1 – 2 minutes makes a great side dish – who doesn’t eat corn?
  • Tacos? Soft or hard shell or salad..
  • Toss with lettuce for a quick salad to go
  • Toss with chicken salad (or other salad) to kick it up a notch
  • Toss with Couscous, or pasta or other grain (after the grain/pasta is cooked), toss in some feta or goat cheese.. yummy

Salsa has so many applications I am not even beginning to list them all. But one thing is for sure… some chips and salsa, my son eats his veggies and I feel good.

Below are ideas for “salsas”. Make it your own. I have used any combination of the below:

For me Must Haves:

Onions – 1 med
Tomatoes – 4 Roma tomatoes
Garlic, finely diced  (I use 1 clove if making 2 – 3 cups. Add additional if desired)
Acid: Lemon, Lime and/or Vinegar (cider or white is good) (1 lemon or 1 lime juiced) I use all 3
Salt – to taste (can even put in fresh ground black pepper)

Olive Oil (just a tablespoon or so)

Optional add ins (key is a small dice):

Cilantro
Parsley
Olives
Scallions
Broccoli/Cauliflower chopped very small
Cucumbers (seeded, peeled, then diced, I usually use english cucumbers)
Bell peppers (red, green, yellow, orange)
Hot peppers (seeded, then diced Or seeds if you want it extra hot) your choice
Summer Squash
Zucchini
Avocado
Celery
melon (water melon, cantaloupe, honey due, etc.)
Papaya
Mango
Corn
Jicama
carrots – shredded, then diced
cabbage shredded, then diced
green beans
Asparagus

And there are many more… options.. kiwi, strawberries…

Its easy – can be time-consuming, as the smaller the dice and ratio to tomatoes and onions, the better integrated and less noticeable. I prefer hand diced, or mandolin diced, or other methods for dicing as it just looks, tastes and feels better. But to each his own. if you want quick – go ahead and puree, or pulse away.

The ratio of other ingredients to the core ingredients is somewhat important. If you have two cups of a tomato and onion mixture, you should not put more than 2 cups of other ingredients. The tomato and onion mixture I find best if 1/2 and 1/2. I like fresh sweet white onions.

Since originally posting this entry, I have found a few other spices I have been using that I find makes a big difference in flavor for the vegetable only salsas. 1/2 tsp celery salt, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground cardamon. These amounts are for the recipe quantities listed above.

Hope you enjoy.

Nicole

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About culinaryease

I am a single mother who loves cooking and providing tips, techniques, to get everyone out of the takeout lane and into the kitchen.

4 responses »

  1. Nicole says:

    You can also make a big batch of salsa and freeze. Mind you when you defrost, the veggies won’t be as crisp, but that is ok. You may want to puree the defrosted salsa. Its still veggies.

    It can also be used as a base for a good vegetable hot soup – just add chicken stock and simmer.. TASTE and adjust seasoning.

    Or top on toasted baguette rounds for a “bruchetta” type appetizer for a party.

    One last note – if you don’t have time to make a fresh salsa, the super markets now sell fresh salsa in the salad section. It is very good and no problem using it. You can also use it as a base then add other fresh veggies to it.

    Like

  2. Herb Callender says:

    What is jiicama?

    Like

    • culinaryease says:

      n.
      A crisp, sweet turnip-shaped root vegetable (Pachyrhizus erosus) used raw in salads and as crudités or cooked in stews. Also called Mexican turnip, yam bean

      http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-jicama.htm will give a full explanation of jicama.

      In my words – it resembles a white root vegetable on the outside, but the consistency and flavor of a mild apple. Not so sweet or tart, but gives good texture and flavor to raw dishes. If you want to cook it, i would only lightly saute it or can be used in stews or soups similar to a potato.

      When sliced thin, shredded or julianned, it is a great addition to salads and gives a great crunch.

      Like

  3. Herb Callender says:

    Tks! Jicama sounds like a must-have, now. Somehow, I think my local Korean/Japanese/Mexican veggie market may carry jicama. I’ll let you know 🙂

    Like

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