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Monday, March 16, 2009

Yummy Homemade Salsa

low calorie homemade salsaIn case you didn't know, salsa is incredibly low calorie and healthy! Not only is salsa naturally low in fat, cholesterol, and calories, it also contains a number of healthy vitamins and minerals such as Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Potassium. Additionally, tomatoes contain Lycopene which is thought to help prevent heart disease and cancer. Also, garlic is believed to be a natural antibiotic which helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure (in addition to keeping vampires away of course).

Salsa is a great addition to low calorie nachos (hint hint, recipe coming tomorrow), eggs (or egg beater omelets), low calorie quesadillas, soft tacos (recipe coming for soft tacos in coming weeks as well), and many other foods!!

My favorite store bought salsa is called Casa Sanchez Hot Salsa Roja (which you can buy at Whole Foods or Safeway), but I've always desired to create my own salsa at home. After trying various recipes and approaches, I finally found a combination that I really like. Here it is:

- one 28oz can of whole fresh tomatoes (note: canned tomatoes will end up being less watery than fresh, and are easier to work with as fresh tomatoes tend to get more mushy; additionally, canned tomatoes have more Lycopene in them, so they are actually more nutritious!)
- 1/2-1 medium onion
- 4-8 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
- juice from 1 lime
- cilantro

1. Cut off both ends off the onion. Cut in half and remove the outer layers.
2. Remove the papery skin from 4-8 cloves of garlic depending on how garlicy you like your salsa.
3. Wash one or two jalapeno peppers and cut off the stems. Cut them in half lengthwise. The white pith (and to a lesser extent the seeds) contain the heat, not the green flesh. So remove some of the seeds and pith depending on how hot you want your salsa.
4. Wash and pat dry a handful of cilantro.
5. In a food processor, process the garlic, peppers, and half of the onion into the finest possible pieces. Add the salt, lime juice, cilantro, and 3/4 of the tomatoes, and process until no tomato chunks remain.
6. If you like chunky salsa, add the remaining tomatoes, and process briefly to produce tomato chunks of the desired size. Dice the remaining onion by hand and combine with the tomato mixture. If you like smooth salsa, add all of the onion and tomato at once, and just process until smooth.

Fresh homemade salsa can be enjoyed immediately, although it takes 1 hour in the fridge for the flavors to completely mature.

Given that salsa is made entirely of fruits, herbs, and vegetables, it is extremely low calorie. Two tablespoons are about 10 calories, or 0 weight watchers points.

So, what foods do you like to put salsa on? And, if you don't like salsa, what do you use instead?



Balance, Joy and Delicias! said...

yes, I like both making salsa and using them for dressing when I don't have sauce available for pasta, topping the homemade pizza and make scrambled eggs with it.

Anonymous said...

This looks awesome. I love salsa. Now if I can just move past the convenience of buying the store stuff and try this one.

Anonymous said...

Salsa. I use it as my go to dip and as a spice in everything, especially pasta sauce.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this fantastic recipe! It looks very tasty. Will DEFINITELY be making this in the future.

Anonymous said...

Fresh salsa is definitely the best! Yours looks great!

I like it on eggs, steamed or roasted veggies and on top of a taco salad. I also like it as a veggie dip when it is mixed with a little bit of Greek yogurt. Yum!

Unknown said...

do you scoop out the tomatoes from the juice in the can, or pour it all in? I like my salsa thicker and chunky, so I might drain the tomatoes, and then add the juice accordingly...what do you think?

Elizabeth said...

Hi Brenda,
I don't usually drain the tomatoes, but I try to avoid using the juice. Your plan sounds perfect!

Anonymous said...

I used to make it in a similar way, until recently. What I do now is to cook the ingredients and it gives it an added depth to the flavours. Will post the recipe on soon.

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