Grilled chicken with tangy veggie salsa.
Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.
Salsa is the Spanish word for sauce.* It can be any type of sauce, but most Americans identify it as a tomato-based hot sauce used as a dip with tortilla chips.
There is no one classic salsa recipe: Every region of Latin America has its own style of salsa. In Mexico, recipes are divided between tomato based red salsas and the tomatillo-based green salsas. Even in this division, there are many different salsa styles (see our Salsa Glossary).
We recently received a variety of condiments from Black Angus Saloon, a specialty food company in Lake Ozark, Missouri. The packaged foods are an extension of the local Black Angus Saloon restaurant.
The first two we sampled were salsas: Veggie Salsa† in Sweet and Tangy (with vinegar) and Sweet & Spicy (with chiles). There’s no tomato or tomatillo, making these “clear” salsas. The minced vegetables and small beans provided a charming topping to grilled chicken and fish.
You can purchase Veggie Salsa from BlackAngusBrands.com ($6 per 16-ounce jar) or make your own from our “approximate” recipe, below.
While we tend not to like sweetness in our condiments (keep that sugar in confections and desserts, where it belongs!), we truly enjoyed the Sweet & Tangy Veggie Salsa—so much so that we made a similar batch the same day and enjoyed it on grilled fish. We also sprinkled the sweetened vinegar marinating liquid on our salad.
There’s no cooking involved (unless you want to cook the beans from scratch); just chopping.
We love salsa, so are always looking for a twist to our standards. Salsa is a food bargain: fat free, gluten free, vegan, all natural and low in sodium. Traditional recipes don’t use sugar, either; so they’re low carb, too.
*The Spanish word salsa derives from the Latin salsa, meaning salty, which itself derives from the Latin sal, salt.
†The name may seem redundant as all Latin American-style salsas are “veggie salsas”: no dairy, no meat or fish-based stock, just vegetables, spices and vinegar. It would have been more interesting to call these products “clear salsa.”
MAKE YOUR OWN SWEET & TANGY “CLEAR SALSA”
Consider how much you want, and use appropriate proportions. This is a very versatile condiment: We also used it on eggs, on steamed vegetables, mixed into mayonnaise as a sandwich/wrap spread and mixed into cottage cheese and plain yogurt. We enjoyed the “salsa yogurt” plain, in a baked potato, and as a dip. And it’s a refreshing topping for bratwurst, burgers and franks (it’s much more complex than pickle relish).
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup small black beans
1/2 cup small kidney beans (you can use whatever beans you have)
3 tablespoons each shredded carrots, finely diced celery, minced red onion, green bell peppers and red bell peppers
Optional fresh herbs (toss in a tablespoon of whatever you have in the fridge)
Black Angus Saloon’s tasty “clear salsa.” Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.
Cider vinegar or other vinegar, to cover
1 teaspoon sugar, brown sugar, agave, honey or sweetener of choice (e.g. noncaloric sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more salt and optional chile flakes or black pepper, to taste
Optional spices (we added a shake of clove and nutmeg)
You can build on the ingredients by adding whatever you have on hand. We added sliced olives and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to a subsequent batch.
1. COMBINE chopped vegetables, herbs and salt in the bowl of a lidded container; mix until blended.
2. COVER with vinegar. Place lid on container and let the salsa marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (you can actually use it in as little as an hour, but the flavors blend with time).
3. TASTE and adjust seasonings to taste and add any spices, like the clove and nutmeg we used.
The salsa will keep in the fridge for two weeks or longer, but we doubt there will be any left after a day or two!
Find more of our favorite salsas and dips.