4 Simple Salsas

June 24, 2014 Soups, Salads, Salsas

Summertime is the best time of year for salsa. Cool and flavorful, it's such a versatile summer stunner. Sure, you can dip chips in it (my personal favorite method of eating salsa), but it's also great as a condiment or ingredient in many different dishes.

Salsa is traditionally tomato, onion, jalapeño and cilantro — which is delicious, don't get me wrong — but it's a little predictable. How can you make your salsa a little more interesting?

Cool and flavorful, salsa is a versatile summer stunner.

Add beans. Beans make salsa into a meal. They add texture and flavor, and they really stretch those farm-fresh veggies. I love this black bean salsa recipe, which adds beans for flavor and corn for crunch. During the height of summer, try using fresh corn sliced straight off the cob. It'll change your salsa — for good.

Think outside the box. So you're a bean-adding pro, but have you ever considered adding baked beans? It sounds a little odd, but it gives depth to your salsa recipe. Baked beans come with built-in sweetness and spice! This spicy summer salsa calls for original baked beans, but you can substitute your favorite flavor.

Use fruit. Fruit salsas are amazing on top of grilled fish and certainly on tortilla chips. You can use a variety of different fresh or canned fruits — pineapple is particularly popular. This savory-sweet salsa calls for pineapple tidbits, but I like to get sliced pineapple from the produce section and then grill it. You get a little smokiness, and grilling the pineapple adds some caramel sweetness. Just chop it up and add it to the salsa instead of the tidbits. You'll love it.

Add spice. My favorite way to add spice is chipotles in adobo — you can just use the sauce that envelopes the chipotle peppers, or you can chop up a pepper or two to add some smoky heat. Love it hot? Find some habaneros, or for intense heat, ghost peppers. Like just a little heat? Chop half a jalapeno — just be sure to remove the seeds. When handling peppers, wear disposable gloves. They'll keep you from getting capsaicin, the heat in peppers, from getting on your skin. While it won't burn your skin, it could burn your eyes if you accidentally rub them!

Do it all! Beans, dried fruit, fresh vegetables — mix it all up. That's the great thing about salsa: You can really do whatever you'd like with it. Adjust spice by adding more or less jalapeno, brighten things up with lime juice — make it your own. This salsa with baked beans is particularly customizable. Play around with the flavors until you find a salsa recipe that's all your own.

With enough creativity, you can have a different salsa for every day of the week.

MeetJulie Niesen

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