My friend and I recently talked about adding sauces and flavoring dishes when trying to eat healthily. She made the key distinction between eating healthily and eating to lose weight. It’s not always the same. For example, when limiting our consumption of calorically dense foods to lose weight, there is no real low-calorie substitute for butter. Nothing can mimic the flavor of butter. Even if we substituted a “healthy” extra virgin olive oil, we could easy eat the same number of calories or even more: extra virgin olive oil is ~120+ calories per tablespoon! With that distinction in mind, I want to suggest one of my favorite low-calorie AND healthy “sauce”….SALSA! It’s made of whole fresh ingredients, it’s low in calories, and it’s bursting with flavor and nutrients. Olé!
Salsa is a fixture in Latin/Hispanic cuisine and rightfully so: it’s delicious. The best part is that it’s so versatile because it can be modified to each person’s preference, not just in terms of heat/spiciness but also flavors like tangy, sweet, etc.
Standard Salsa Recipe:
6 medium-sized Tomatoes or Tomatillos, cleaned and chopped
1/2 white or red Onion, chopped
1 Lime, juiced
2-4 Jalapeño/Serrano/Ancho chili peppers (all depends on how spicy you like it), deseed and chopped
salt & pepper (to taste)
cilantro (to taste)
**You can either chop and serve it as chunky salsa OR you can toss it into a blender/food processor and serve it pureed. Either way is DELICIOUS!
Tip #1: Want to give it a boost? Toss in some black beans, avocado, and corn! The salsa will be great on chicken, tacos, salads, or as dip for chips.
Tip #2: Or if you are feeling adventurous, toss in some diced mangos into your standard salsa recipe. It’ll be spicy, sweet, and tangy…all great flavors that go well with fish. If you don’t like tomatoes, no worries!
Try Ellie Krieger’s Mango Salsa here:
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup peeled, diced cucumber
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper