If your New Year’s resolutions had anything to do with health or dieting, then here’s a simple tip that can help: Load up your recipe plan with recipes using salsa. Why? Salsa nutritional facts will probably surprise you. Not only does salsa pack a vitamin-filled punch due to being made primarily of fruits and vegetables, fresh salsa calories are extremely low — there are as few as 10 calories per serving in many types.
So how can you incorporate salsa into your new healthy eating plan? Here are some tips for making the most of this delicious condiment:
- Don’t Skimp on the Tomatoes You Use
If you’re making salsa at home, make sure you’re investing in good tomatoes. The best tomatoes for salsa will be firm, have a high proportion of flesh to seeds, and have a good flavor. Plum tomatoes are a traditional choice, but you can also use rich heirloom tomatoes, tart green tomatoes or sweet cherry tomatoes. If you’re going to use a variety that does have quite a few seeds, clean them out and allow your cut tomatoes to drain for an hour or so in a colander so your salsa doesn’t get too watery.
- Feel Free to Use Store-Bought Versions
Store-bought salsa can be unfriendly to your waistline if you’re scarfing it down with half a bag of fried tortilla chips. But buying salsa to go in recipes is no problem. If you check labels, you’ll find that almost all varieties contain fewer than 30 calories per serving.
- Experiment With Various Cuisines
The most obvious recipes using salsa will generally fall under Mexican cuisine, and adding salsa to your tacos instead of higher-calorie toppings is a good start. But you can branch out, too. Salsa can spice up a lean turkey sandwich, or replace fatty dressings on salads.
- Try Both Cooked and Fresh Salsas
Experiment with your favorite lean proteins to see which pair better with cooked salsas and which you prefer with fresh salsas. In general, cooking will bring out a sweeter, more even taste, while fresh salsas like pico de gallo retain the individual flavors of each ingredient. Main dishes you might have served with a creamy sauce in the past (pork chops, for example) can use the moisture and smoother texture of a cooked salsa, while more flavorful choices like grilled salmon can be brightened up with a simple salsa fresca.
- Make Simple Substitutions First
If you’re having trouble getting started, ease yourself in by making small, simple substitutions. By switching out salsa for onion dip when you sit down to watch a game, for example, you’ll cut down your calories by half or more.
Do you have any delicious recipes using salsa you’d like to share? Tell us all about them in the comments!