Salsa for Everyone

Salsa! Just thinking about salsa conjures up images of fun, food, and celebration. While May may be National Salsa Month, salsa is enjoyed every single day of the year. Salsa translates to sauce in Spanish and has been around for thousands of years. Its history can be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas who used various combinations of chilies, tomatoes, and other spices as a type of condiment.

It was in 1991 that salsa outsold ketchup for the first time and became the largest selling sauce in the US. The first National Salsa Month was celebrated in 1997 to honor the 50th anniversary of Pace Salsa.

Salsa is low in calories, full of flavor, and available with a variety of ingredients, from tomatoes, jalapenos and habaneras to mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, and beans. Salsa goes with just about anything. In addition to traditional dishes, salsa may be scrambled into eggs, served with chicken and fish, added to salads, enjoyed as a garnish on a burger and so much more. There are as many ways to enjoy salsa as there are salsa recipes.

There are many types of salsas that are commonly used in traditional Mexican cuisine. Each has a unique flavor, texture, and preparation method. A few examples include:

  • Pico de Gallo may be the most popular type of salsa. Ingredients typically include tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, onion, salt, and serrano peppers. It is used mainly as a topping. Pico de Gallo literally means “rooster beak” salsa. Perhaps because this chunky salsa was eaten with the thumb and forefinger that resembled a pecking rooster.
  • Salsa Verde translates to green sauce. It is made from tomatillos instead of tomatoes. It is cooked and blended to make a sauce that is then chilled.
  • Salsa De Aguacate, also a green salsa, includes avocado. The buttery texture and mellow flavor of the avocado helps tone down the spiciness of the hot peppers.
  • Salsa Roja is a broad term for any red salsa that contains blended and cooked ingredients from traditional salsa ingredients and can be added to any Mexican dish.
  • Salsa Taqueria is similar to salsa roja, but is made with fresh chiles. This salsa is often the kind that is served with chips at a typical American-Mexican restaurant.
  • Salsa Criolla is a less commonly prepared type of salsa that is made without tomatoes. The primary ingredient is sliced red onion that is mixed with salt to pull out the naturally sweet flavor. Peppers, cilantro, and lime juice enhance the dish. The ingredients are all kept raw and unblended. This salsa is a wonderful addition to many dishes and is a great topping on tacos and sandwiches.

When making fresh salsa, be sure to refrigerate for about an hour prior to serving to let flavors meld. If using fresh fruits, coat diced fruits with an acidic juice, such as lemon, lime, or orange juice, to prevent browning. Keep salsa refrigerated and use up homemade salsa within 3 to 4 days after preparing.

Salsa is great for snacks and entrées, but it can also be used in desserts and baked goods. The choices are truly endless with the different combinations of fruits, vegetables, and herbs and spices.

  • Try this quick and versatile colorful Corn Salsa recipe for a tasty appetizer or a side to any beef, poultry, or fish.
  • This Mango Habanero Salsa is an easy way to pack a flavorful punch. Serve it right away for a stronger flavor or make it ahead of time and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors mellow.
  • Great to feed a crowd, this Southern Mississippi Salsa Dip can be made in minutes. At under 50 calories a serving, creamy avocado and fiery jalapeno make this salsa a hit. Serve with healthy baked tortilla or pita chips.
  • For a healthy snack, appetizer, or dessert, try this delicious Fruit Salsa Recipe with crispy cinnamon chips.
  • These low-sodium Grilled Chicken Tacos are topped with a colorful Mango Salsa that’s full of flavor.

Whatever your preference, there is salsa for you – from hot & spicy and sweet & savory to herbal & aromatic.

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