10 creative ways to use salsa
Looking for what to eat with salsa besides chips? Try these 10 healthy ideas for salsa.
The tomatoes, peppers, onion and fresh cilantro in traditional Mexican salsa provide vitamin C and a lot of flavor, especially hotter salsas heavy on the jalapeño peppers. Tomato salsa is also rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help protect cells from damage.
Making salsa at home is easy, but there are plenty of store-bought ones that also taste delicious and avoid unhealthy ingredients. (Read the nutrition label and avoid buying those containing a lot of sodium, sweeteners or chemical preservatives.)
The down side is that the usual way to enjoy salsa — as a dip for tortilla chips — means eating all the salt and fat in the chips. So much for a healthy snack. For a healthier option, consider making your own tortilla chips or choose baked chips instead of fried.
There are many creative ways to use salsa that take advantage of its flavor and versatility. So if you’re a fan, don’t limit your enjoyment to a huge basket of tortilla chips. Try these ideas for salsa.
10 more uses for this flavorful Mexican condiment
- With eggs. Top scrambled eggs or an omelet with a big dollop of salsa. Or spoon the eggs and salsa into a whole-wheat tortilla to roll up as a breakfast burrito. The whole-wheat tortilla adds fiber. Top deviled eggs with a bit of hot salsa for a spicy kick.
- For cooking meat in the slow cooker. Place a boneless pork roast or boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a slow cooker. Top with a generous amount of homemade or store-bought salsa (for a 4-pound pork roast, for example, pour in a large jar of store-bought salsa). Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, depending on your slow cooker and how much meat you’re preparing. When it’s done, shred the meat with two forks, incorporating the salsa into the shredded meat. You now have a big batch of filling for tacos, burritos or any Mexican-themed casseroles. (Topping it with some chopped fresh cilantro is a nice touch.) Leftovers freeze easily, too.
- Substitute salsa for salad dressing. Green salads are lovely, low-calorie lunches and side dishes, but store-bought salad dressings can be high in salt, sugar and fat. (Again, read the nutrition label and watch serving sizes.) If you can’t stand the idea of a rather dry salad but want to cut out the calories from salad dressing, try a big scoop of salsa on your salad instead. It works especially well with salads containing beans (think black, red or pinto beans) or some chopped cooked chicken. The salsa adds some moisture and the punch of the jalapeño pepper to what might otherwise be a bland lunch.
- Top grilled fish with salsa. This works especially well with salmon combined with fruit-based salsa. Best to wrap the fish and salsa in a foil packet to avoid a big mess when turning the fish on the grill.
- Slather your hamburger with a salsa as fiery as you like. Those containing lots of garlic or smoked peppers are ideal for burgers.
- Stir salsa into grits. Throwing in a little shredded Mexican cheese is yummy, too. (Watch the amount of cheese if you’re limiting saturated fats.)
- Marinade. Mix some canola oil and/or freshly squeezed citrus juice into the salsa to thin it out, then use it as a marinade for your favorite meat.
- With shrimp cocktail. Skip the cocktail sauce; dredge big tender shrimp through a cilantro-heavy salsa instead.
- Homemade chili. Add a jar of store-bought salsa to your chili to take it from good to great.
- On a baked potato. Give a boring potato some pizzazz by adding salsa, grilled peppers and onions and a sprinkle of cheese for a hearty and satisfying lunch or dinner.