9 Ways to Use Salsa (Besides Chips and Dip) - Shared Legacy Farms (2024)

It’s that time of year…SO many tomatoes.

You might even say “too many” tomatoes?

Farmer Kurt calls it Tomatopalooza!

Most of us are loving the all the fresh tomatoes, but I also know that there are plenty of you out there who could use a viable exit strategy so these beauties don’t go to waste!

Salsa is a great option to move some tomatoes quickly. It’s low in calories, super nutrient-dense and an EASY way to use your local, seasonal produce. Plus…it’s a great way to get more vegetables on your plate!

At my house I tend to use my fresh salsa as a condiment on a variety of dishes, it’s not just for dipping chips!

Here are 9 ideas for using salsa…

Use as a Dip: substitute some vegetables for the tortilla chips! Use large bell pepper slices to “scoop” the salsa, or large slices of kohlrabi, get creative!

Tacos and fajitas: spice up your meal with some homemade salsa, turn the average dinner into something different this time of year.

Grilled Meats: grilled chicken need some flavor? Add some fresh salsa on top!

Scrambled Eggs: I love to just add some salsa once the eggs are on my plate, just like a condiment. It’s a great idea to add some vegetables and nutrients to your morning (or evening) meal.

Omelettes and Frittatas: add some color and nutrients on top with your own salsa!

On top of a salad: looking to spice up those greens? Throw some salsa on top, sometimes I’ll add salsa and some olive oil instead of dressing.

Mix with other condiments: mix with your ketchup for a kick with your fries.

Compound butter: mix with softened butter and keep in the fridge, add to steaks or other proteins once cooked.

Burgers: add to your meat mixture prior to cooking to add an extra flare to your average burger.

I tend to enjoy fresh salsa over the summer the most, but salsa can also be preserved to enjoy throughout the year by canning or freezing.

So how do you make a basic salsa?

Let’s talk about a basic FRESH salsa first.Keep in mind that all of us may love salsa a different way. It’s best to taste as you go and adjust ingredients as you prefer!

Basic Fresh Salsa Ingredients:

  • 6-9 Tomatoes– Roma tomatoes work best because they have less water than other tomatoes, but you can use whatever you have on hand. You may decide to drain them if they’re super watery.
  • 1-2 Onions– Sweet onions are great for salsa, or red onions. These both have a milder onion flavor and will not overpower the other flavors.
  • 1-3 Jalapenos- This depends on the amount of spice you want! Remember to NOT add the seeds or inner membranes if you want less heat.
  • 1-2 Garlic cloves– How much do you like garlic? Start with one if you’re not sure, you can always add more at the end!
  • 1-2 tsp salt– or more to taste.
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 T Lemon juice– or more to taste.

Those are the basics, below are some additional items that you may also enjoy in your salsa…

  • Bell peppers– these definitely add some crunch
  • Cilantro or parsley– chop finely, just remove the larger stems
  • Corn– raw corn straight from the cob provides some sweetness and wonderful texture
  • Black beans– make your salsa a little more filling by adding some beans
  • Mangoes or Peaches– dice and add to your salsa for some sweetness and color

Food processor versus cutting by hand?…

You have two options, you can use a food processor for a more “restaurant style” salsa OR you can get to chopping things by hand.

I personally prefer to chop things by hand, it makes a more “salad” like salsa that I enjoy on a larger variety of foods, but either are a great choice.

If you’re using a food processor, add all the “basic” ingredients to the processor (tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, salt, pepper and lemon juice). PULSE 5-10 times, be careful not to over blend. Taste, adjust seasonings as needed.

At this point if you want to add more of the basics, remove your already pureed salsa and pulse the additional ingredients separately. This will prevent your salsa from becoming too watery. Once you like the taste you can add some of the other ingredients listed above, but no need to puree more.

The cilantro, corn, beans, etc should be added to your already processed salsa, no need to puree those items.

If you want to chop things by hand, get chopping! The consistency and size of your veggies is really based on preference. I like larger pieces of tomatoes in my salsa, so if I’m using cherry tomatoes I just slice them in halves. Chop up all the “basics,” taste and adjust items or seasonings as needed.

Add in the extras if you’re using any (cilantro, beans, corn, etc.) and enjoy!

Storing Your Salsa:

These fresh salsas will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. I highly recommend storing in a large mason jar to keep them fresh. Salsas are typically made at least one day in advance to allow the flavors to marry.

Afraid you’re not going to eat salsa this week? Don’t know how to can it?

Freezing is an option!

To freeze salsa you will need to prepare the food processor version of the above recipe. Typically only the basic ingredients are used in this method (tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon).

Process all ingredients as discussed above. Heat 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, add in pureed salsa. Allow to simmer for 2-3 hours at low heat to thicken. This will prevent your frozen salsa from being too watery once thawed. (Although the consistency and flavor will not be quite the same once frozen).

Once salsa has thickened, allow to cool and place in labeled freezer safe bags. Store in freezer for up to one year!

Salsa can also be canned for long-term storage.

If you want to do this, always use a tested canned salsa recipe from a trusted source, since food safety/ pH levels are a factor when it comes to canning.

Canned Salsa Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 30 -40 tomatoes
  • 2 lbs onions (1/2 yellow, 1/2 red)
  • 5 assorted red bell peppers, green bell peppers or 5 yellow bell peppers
  • 3 -4 chili peppers (optional)
  • 2 -3 jalapeno peppers or 2 -3 other hot peppers like serrano peppers, habanero peppers etc
  • 1 cup lemon juice — REALLY IMPORTANT!
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (or fresh garlic)
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons pepper
  • 5 tablespoons chopped cilantro, to taste

Directions:

Wash all jars, lids etc in the dishwasher.

Always wear gloves while preparing salsa!

Prepare tomatoes by soaking tomatoes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to split and loosen skins. Peel and chop all tomatoes, drain excess juices off in a strainer or colander before adding to extra large bowl. (I half or quarter the tomatoes, then process briefly in a food processor before draining off juices, I like the tomatoes kind of chunky).

Dice or cube all onions and peppers into the same bowl. Add chopped cilantro. (I do all the onions, peppers and cilantro in a food processor – I keep them kind of chunky also).

Once all the veggies are in the bowl, stir in the lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Taste to see if it is as hot as you would like it – if not add 1-2 more hot peppers tasting after each addition. Keep in mind as it sits for a while it will get a little bit hotter.

Bring all ingredients to a boil in large pot & simmer for 15 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking.

Fill jars leaving about 3/4 inch at the top. Wipe off tops of the jars before putting lids on. Screw lids tight then turn back about 1/4 turn.

Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Cool jars.

Before storing, test each jar to be sure it has sealed by pressing down on lid, it should not click back.

Submitted by Cadie Jardin, our CSA Coach and Registered Dietitan

9 Ways to Use Salsa (Besides Chips and Dip) - Shared Legacy Farms (2024)
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