Local Flavor 4

Take a Taste of Arizona with 
These Fresh Salsa Recipes

From a culinary perspective, the word “Arizona” immediately brings to mind two things: spicy and salsa. Indeed, Arizona is home to some of the oldest and finest Mexican restaurants, which integrate the harvest of the desert into their spicy menus.

Most chefs agree that the key to creating great Mexican food at home, in particular great salsa, is using fresh ingredients, straight from the farmer’s market or garden, if possible. Dubbed “America’s Favorite Condiment,” salsa continues to rise in popularity nationwide with fruit salsas being the current rage—featuring everything from pineapple and mango to apples, blueberries, peaches and grapefruit, boosting the flavor of the salsa.

While many people view chips and salsa as a diet disaster, fresh tomato salsa is actually quite nutritious, being rich in Vitamin C and lycopene (the antioxidant found in tomatoes) and loaded with capsaicin from spicy peppers, proven to help aid in digestive issues. Plus, salsa is naturally low in calories, and always seems to add an element of festive fun to the start of any meal. This trio of salsas, featuring one traditional tomato salsa, one fruit salsa and one spicy salsa verde (green salsa), is sure to please the palate of all your guests. Serve with baked tortilla chips, rather than fried, to cut calories and keep the fun!

Fresh Tomato Salsa

8 large Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 large jalapeño peppers, chopped, 
or more for additional heat

¼ cup red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, diced

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juiced

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. Refrigerate at least an hour prior to serving, to allow flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Yield: 3 cups. Calories (per tablespoon): 10; Fat 0g; Sodium 97mg; Vitamin C 4%. Cost Per Serving: $.19.

Grilled Pineapple 
Grapefruit Salsa

This salsa is great for summer, featuring fresh pineapple seared on your backyard grill! It is the perfect accent on fish tacos, or can be used as a flavorful topping on grilled salmon. It’s also equally delicious on its own, served with chips!

4 slices fresh pineapple, sliced ½-inch thick

½ large grapefruit, peeled and diced

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced

½ cup pecans, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon honey or agave

¼ teaspoon salt

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill pineapple slices until nice grill marks develop, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate; set aside to cool. When cool, finely chop pineapple. Add remaining ingredients; toss to combine. Add salt and additional honey, as desired, to taste. Allow salsa to sit before serving (ideally 30 minutes), for flavors to blend. Enjoy!

Yield: 2½ cups. Calories (per tablespoon): 11; Fat 0g; Sodium 85mg; Vitamin C 8%. Cost Per Serving: $.22.

Spicy Salsa Verde

6 medium jalapeño peppers, or more 
for additional heat

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 small lime, juiced

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup fresh cilantro, leaves and small stems

Place peppers, garlic, lime juice and salt in food processor. Pulse until puréed. With motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is thick. Add cilantro; pulse, until well blended. Taste; add additional jalapeño, if necessary. Salsa can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 3 days. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 cups. Calories (per tablespoon): 26; Fat 2.8g; Sodium 55mg; Vitamin C 2%. Cost Per Serving: $.15.

Suzette Zara is a cookbook author, nutritionist, creator of 
Satan’s Salsa (SatansSalsa.com) and a frequent speaker on low-fat healthy cooking. suzette@SuzetteZara.com