Monday, August 8, 2011

I am a salsa snob

I have pretty much always loved salsa. When I was in college my friends and I ate tons of it all the time. Sometimes chips and salsa constituted whole meals. I pretty much always bought Tostitos Brand.... that is until I decided a couple summers ago to make my own salsa. It was all over after that. I quickly became a salsa snob. Now it's fresh salsa or bust (ok ok if jarred salsa is offered to me I won't turn it down; but you won't find it in my fridge).

I'm not sure what prompted me to make my own, but the flavors and textures in fresh salsa cannot be touched by any of the jarred salsas out there (believe me, I've since tried many different brands looking for the best salsa).

Fresh salsa is so easy to make, is a great snack, the perfect taco or quesadilla topping, and when put on top of a garden salad makes one of my favorite low-cal dressings. There are a billion and two salsa recipes out there each with their own twists and suggestions for the perfect balance of flavors, but I use a really simple, slightly altered, Betty Crocker recipe combined with my eyes and my taste buds.

  • 3-5 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Serrano or habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped (for medium; more for spicier salsa)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
Placed in a bowl and mixed.

If you happen to have small tomatoes, you might want to add more. If you like it spicier or less spicy, you may want to add more or use less of the hot peppers.
It's such a basic recipe that it can be altered to suit your personal preferences.
*Note: be careful with the Serrano or habanero peppers, and also the jalapenos, as their oils can burn your skin and eyes.

Simple, right? I often make a double batch because we eat this so quickly in my apartment. I do the chopping by hand, but a food processor would do the job too.

In my apartment we've tried a lot of the store bought fresh salsas, some we will buy in a pinch or when we're lazy and some just haven't been very good. Some store bought salsas worth trying: Wholly Salsa is a great brand, their salsa is very addicting but lacks the fresh chunks we like; the Stop & Shop Wild Harvest Brand has nice fresh chunks but lacks some of the pop out flavors in homemade salsa; and Whole Foods in-store made salsa is  good but expensive.

This spring and summer while I have been eating a lot of salads for lunches I've tried to get a little creative so I'm not eating the same tossed salad every week. One of my favorites to date uses fresh salsa as the dressing.

I mix pinto beans with a little bit of EVOO and some taco seasoning. Adding those and fresh salsa to the top of my salad (lettuce, cucumber, onions, celery, tomatoes). It's flavorful, filling, and very fresh.

Hm. Now that I mention that... I think I might just have that this week for my lunches.


  1. I seriously had a love affair with your salsa and may or may not have squealed a bit when I saw you left the remainder in my fridge.

    Don't tell my husband :P

  2. I am such a salsa and guacamole snob. I have a hard time eating other people's salsa. Your recipe is actually quite similar to my go-to recipe (other than the bell peppers).