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5 Tasty Untraditional Salsas

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Summer is salsa season. Not only is salsa incredibly easy to make, it’s the perfect go-to accompaniment for when the kitchen is too hot to contemplate using your oven or stovetop. Plus, the traditional ingredients?tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and peppers?are at their peak during summer, making it one of the freshest and most delicious dishes you can make. 

But this tasty condiment is more than just the chopped-tomato variety commonly served with chips to whet your appetite at the beginning of a meal. You can also use it to balance out or accent certain savory flavors, which is why you’ll often find it accompanying many main dishes, from grilled fish to slow-roasted pork loin. You can also enjoy salsa as a meal in itself, served with rice and beans. Some bold chefs even use it for desserts, creatively marrying chili spices with perky tropical fruits, and serving it atop a soothing sorbet or ice cream, crème brûlée, or flan.

Try some of these delicious non-tomato-based salsas to see if they spark a creative flurry in your kitchen.

Fresh Pineapple Salsa
This is an amazing salsa from the food blog Appogiatura. The writer/cook uses this to top her grilled spicy pork tenderloin tacos.

1 cup pineapple, in small dice
1/2 cup red onion, in small dice
Two jalapeños, seeded, deveined, and minced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lime

Whisk the honey and lime juice together beforehand and set aside. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium-size bowl, then pour the honey-lime mixture over the other ingredients. Chill until ready to serve, then toss again before serving.

Onion, Orange, and Beet Salsa
This interesting and colorful salsa, from, originally appeared in Bon Appétit magazine.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
Two beets, boiled, peeled, and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 large orange, peel and pith cut away, flesh cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped and pitted green Greek olives

Whisk the first three ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Mix in next four ingredients. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper.

The original recipe has this salsa served with a Moroccan spiced lamb burger, but you can easily substitute a grilled leg of lamb that can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.


Mango and Avocado SalsaServe this with grilled chicken or a white fish. Be sure not to overspice your chicken or fish, or else the flavors will compete with the salsa.

1 ripe mango, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeño, minced
1 avocado, diced
Pinch of ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together, adding the diced avocado last. If you’re making this salsa to serve later, leave out the avocado entirely (even if you chill it before serving). To avoid browning, cut up the avocado right before you serve the salsa.

Cucumber and Corn Salsa
This is definitely one of those salsas that deserve to be the main dish, rather than the accompaniment. Serve it with some rice and beans for a complete meal.

2 ears of corn, whole kernels cut off
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, skinned and diced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Mix all ingredients together. The corn does not have to be cooked, since it’s naturally sweet and flavorful. Try soaking it in cold water to help remove those pesky silks before cutting the kernels off.

Fruit Salsa
This is definitely a quintessential summertime dessert. Use this recipe as a guide, but substitute whatever fruits are most plentiful and fresh.

1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 large ripe mango, skinned and diced
1 peach, diced
1 cup blueberries

Mix the sugar and strawberries first. Let stand for a few minutes before mixing in the other fruits. Serve over vanilla ice cream and cinnamon tortilla chips. There are recipes online for cinnamon tortilla chips, but Trader Joe’s cinnamon pita chips are a terrific and more than adequate substitute.

So head to your nearest farmers’ market to find all these delicious, fresh ingredients and get creative. It’s time to get your salsa on.





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