Home News 15 ways to use salsa you’ve never thought of before

15 ways to use salsa you’ve never thought of before



By: Michele Brosius

It is time to think beyond the tortilla chip and get saucy with your salsa. May is National Salsa Month, so what better way to celebrate than by incorporating new ways to use salsa? Mild, hot, medium, sweet or savory; salsa is a versatile condiment that can be used in countless ways beyond the chip bowl.

Unique ways to use salsa in your cooking

The next time you find a half-empty salsa jar in the refrigerator or you need to clear out some space in the pantry, consider incorporating salsa into your everyday cooking.

1. Salsa makes a delicious burger topping

May 28th is National Burger Day, and if you’re looking to spice up your burger toppings, salsa may be just the kick you need. Whether that means adding salsa and avocado slices to your burger or mixing some salsa in with mayonnaise, the tomato, garlic and onion flavors may be just the thing you need to take that burger to the next level.

2. Add salsa to soups and stews

Add salsa to canned soups for a fresh homemade flavor. If you go the homemade route, give budget-friendly black bean soup a delicious kick by cooking in a few tablespoons of your favorite jarred salsa.

This simple soup just needs some basic seasoning like cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder and salsa, of course. Once done, add your favorite toppings and enjoy.

3. Elevate your rice with a salsa sofrito

Replace the water used to make rice with vegetable or chicken stock blended with salsa to give it an extra burst of flavor. Another option is to create a sofrito – a cooking base similar to mirepoix – by cooking 3 tablespoons of salsa in 2 tablespoons of neutral oil until reduced. Add 2 cups of rice, toast lightly, then add the liquid and simmer until done.

4. Make a simple salad dressing with salsa verde

Combine the juice of one lime, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and a little avocado oil with your salsa verde for a delicious salad dressing. Better yet, add the salsa verde dressing to taco salads or use it as a dipping sauce for taquitos.

5. Bake salsa in mac and cheese

If you love making your homemade mac and cheese, consider adding some salsa verde to the mix for a depth of flavor your whole family will love. Hatch chili mac and cheese is a popular item in the frozen foods section, but making your own at home is simple, and you’re in control of the ingredients.

6. Mexican-inspired “migas” for breakfast

If your family likes bacon or sausage and eggs for breakfast, consider making migas. “Migas” – which means crumbs in Spanish – are simply eggs, protein and vegetables cooked with pieces of corn tortilla.

Cut small uncooked corn tortillas into squares. Fry tortilla pieces in 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. Add protein of choice and cook down; ground sausage or chorizo work well. Blend salsa in with egg mixture, add to a pan and cook until incorporated. Serve with refried beans and a sprinkle of cotija cheese.

7. Salsa as a breakfast pizza base

There’s no better way to feed a crowd than with a breakfast pizza and salsa makes a great pizza sauce. Layer your favorite salsa on pizza dough, top with egg, crumbled bacon or sausage and cheese, then bake and serve.

8. Grilled salmon topped with mango salsa

If you’ve never tried sweet and savory salsa, you’re in for a treat. Combine sweet mango, onion, jalapeno, lime and cilantro with diced avocado for a delicious condiment.

When paired with grilled salmon, the texture and flavor explosion can’t be beat. Serve with cilantro lime rice for a light summertime meal that is sure to impress.

9. Salsa makes the perfect meat marinade

Speaking of warm-weather grilling, salsa can be used to marinate skirt steak or chicken before it goes on the grill. Add salsa, a splash of vinegar, lemon or lime and some olive oil to make your marinade; season to taste and reserve half of the mixture for serving.

Marinate the meat with half of the mixture and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. The following day you’ll have a flavorful base to throw on the grill for tacos or kebabs.

10. Give your cocktails a saucy kick

Mixing cocktails might be an art form, but there’s always room for experimentation. Consider blending spicy salsa into your Bloody Mary mix. It’s a great way to use leftover salsa.

If you want to try something different or perhaps a bit lighter, pair that same Bloody Mary mix and salsa combo with Mexican beer for a refreshing Michelada cocktail. Be sure to salt the rim with Tajin.

Slay sweets and snacks with salsa

Salsa doesn’t always have to accompany the main event when it comes to your meals. It works well in snacks and desserts as well. Here are a few ways to use salsa on the side.

11. Cheese fries with salsa and queso

French fries are fine on their own, but they take on a new dimension when paired with a salsa and queso mix. Make it a complete and fun weeknight meal by adding chili with all the fixings.

12. Did someone say Thanksgiving?

We all know that after the turkey and pumpkin pie, the cranberries take center stage, so why not mix things up this year and serve cranberry salsa?

Process cranberries, jalapeno, onion, salt, lime and cilantro, and serve with vegetable crudites or chips for something new and different on your holiday table. The salsa also makes a great topping for the Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches we all love.

13. Salsa as a base for ceviche

Make a version of ceviche by combining lime juice, salsa, shrimp or diced white fish with seasonings for a quick and easy appetizer. Traditional ceviche uses lime juice to cook the seafood, but you can use cooked fish; just be sure not to overcook.

14. Fruit salsa with cinnamon chips

Ok, we know we’re trying to get away from chips and dip, but fruit salsa and cinnamon chips are a must-try. During the summer, a refreshing batch of fruit salsa complete with diced strawberries and kiwi is a great accompaniment to your backyard barbeque dessert table.

Fruit salsa is also great on ice cream or sorbet. Spicy fruit salsa can often be found in the produce section of your grocery store if you enjoy a sweet and savory mix. Habanero peppers and mango sorbet go especially well together.

15. Make homemade popsicles for the kids

If you make your kids popsicles, consider adding a spoonful of fruit salsa to the mix. Your kids will love the popsicles on a hot summer day, and you’ll feel good about the added serving of fruit in the frozen treat.

Of course, you can always eat your salsa the way nature intended – with a bowl of tortilla chips – but the mix of ingredients, flavors and textures in salsa make it an excellent base and starting point. There’s no limit to the creative ways to incorporate salsa into your cooking.

Michele Brosius is the creator of Midlife Healthy Living where she expertly combines her love for cooking with budget-conscious nutrition strategies. Through her blog, she encourages women to embrace a healthier lifestyle with simple recipes and wellness tips.

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