Thursday, May 14, 2009

Salsa Diet (with two salsa recipes!)

I guess it’s time I told you: I’m on a diet. I know – great time to start a food blog! Have you ever noticed though, when you’re on a diet, you kind of get obsessed with food? Well, I’m on this team at work – we call ourselves “Slim Jeans” (no laughing!) – and we’re competing with others to lose the most weight in sixteen weeks. By the way, we’re not calling it a weight loss contest, but a Health Challenge Throwdownwhatever!

Anyway, it’s going really well for me: I’ve lost a few pounds; I’m exercising (a little) more; I’m eating my Lean Cuisines for lunch; and preparing Cooking Light recipes for dinner. It’s working, but I find myself thinking about food way more than I did before the diet. So, here I am, blogging about food. It makes sense really, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry. I know most of you have no interest in boring diet recipes. If I decide to share any “light” recipes, it’ll be because they’re really good, and I won’t even mention that they’re low-fat ‘cause that’s not what this blog is about.

Luckily for me, one of my favorite things is salsa. It goes well with lots of foods, adds mucho flavor, and even on a diet, I can pretty much eat all I want. As with many things, I’m a snob when it comes to salsa. There aren’t many commercial salsas I like, though I’d recommend Native Kjalii Foods Fire Roasted Green Salsa (with tomatillo and avocado). Several Mexican restaurants I’ve tried have good salsa too. One of my favorites is the spicy salsa at El Sombrero on NE Sandy. I won’t claim that my homemade salsa beats either of those two, but it's easy to make and there are all kinds of ways to mix it up, so it never gets boring.

Fresh, chopped salsa is super easy and one of my husband’s favorites. I like the buzz – that rush of heat – from the habañero in this recipe, but please, make it your own way – less pepper, more onion – whatever makes you happy. The quantities are just approximations. I never measure when I make salsa. It's all about what I'm in the mood for at the time. Diced avocado is a great addition to this salsa. Or, try mixing in some chopped tomatillo.


4 medium-size ripe tomatoes - diced
½ cup peeled, diced cucumber
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
½ to 1 habañero pepper (or jalapeño or other) – seeded and very finely minced
1 small garlic clove – minced
1 Tbsp lime juice
½ tsp kosher salt

Mix everything together in a bowl. It’s best if you let it sit in the refrigerator, covered, for an hour or so, then taste it and adjust the ingredients as needed. Keep in mind, you can add, but you can’t take away, so go light on the salt and the hot pepper to start. Also, chile peppers vary greatly in heat intensity, and you can’t tell how hot they are until you taste them. So, be cautious. Use this fresh salsa within a day or two max.

Blended salsa using canned tomatoes is also good. I make this one more frequently in the fall and winter. A teaspoon or so of oregano is an interesting addition to this recipe. Another idea is to take a dried New Mexico (or Anaheim) chile and place it in a lightly oiled hot sauté pan. Turn it occasionally until it starts to blacken and smoke a little. Then add it to the food processor with everything else. I do this for my mom (another salsa lover) and leave out the onion as she prefers.


28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
4 green onions - chopped into quarters (or 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion or other)
¼ cup jarred jalapeño slices (I like Mezzetta brand)
1 small garlic clove
½ tsp kosher salt

Combine everything in a food processor and blend until mostly smooth or slightly chunky. Taste, adjust your ingredients as needed, and enjoy! Use this salsa within a week.


  1. I really enjoy reading this blog. I think you could truly do your own column. It is very enjoyable & informative reading. Go Slim Jeans!!!

  2. Jen from Portland, OregonMay 14, 2009 at 1:54 PM

    Thanks for you comment and the encouragement!

  3. Mmmm, now I'm going to make salsa to go with my tilapia for tomorrow night. Thanks, Jen!