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By Rebecca McNary

Making salsa

There is an old Seinfeld episode where Jerry and George talk about why salsa is so popular. They think it is because “people like to say ‘sal-sa.'” And while this is funny, I think people like salsa because it is so darn delicious and there is a variety that will suit everyone.

From mild to spicy or garlicky to sweet, there are multiple ways to make salsa and even more ways to eat it! And to make things even better, they can be fairly low-cal.

I learned to make salsa years ago without a recipe. I just broke down what was in salsa that I loved so much and went from there. If you have a food processor or blender and a knife, you have all you need to create your favorite variety.

I have three varieties that I make on a pretty regular basis. They are easy and delicious. My Go-To Salsa can be eaten with chips, on nachos and with tacos or quesadillas. It is what one thinks about when they think of salsa. Dicey Salsa is a bit chunkier and is great served on top of grilled chicken, on a burger or added to guacamole for an extra zing. Mango Salsa is a great topper for fish or could even be a side to a fresh summer dish.

Go-to salsa

This is so simple it will make your head spin. All you need is one large can of peeled whole tomatoes, a bunch of cilantro, one or two jalapeños (seeded), four scallions (green onions), a tablespoon of sugar (to cut the acidity) and a dash or two of Louisiana hot sauce.

Dump the tomatoes into the food processor. Cut the ends of the jalapeños off and slice length-wise. Run your knife down the inside to remove the seeds (make sure not to touch your eyes until you have washed your hands thoroughly). Cut the stems off the cilantro and add to the food processor. Remove the leafy ends of the scallions and give a rough chop and throw into the processor with everything else. Add your sugar and as many dashes of hot sauce as you please and let the machine do the work for you. Add salt and pepper as you go, because once it is in there, there is no removing it.

It’s that simple. It really is. As it sits in the refrigerator it actually gets better. Because there are no preservatives, it will not last forever. But in my house it never lasts more than a few days.

Dicey salsa

This one requires the use of a knife and not the food processor. Take three Roma tomatoes and dice them into fairly small chunks. Dice ¼ purple onion into the same-size pieces. Using about ½ a bunch of cilantro, roll it up tightly and run your knife through it. Slice up a jalapeño after removing the seeds. Zest one lime and then squeeze the juice all over the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss together.

Mango salsa

This variety is so delicious, you may find yourself standing at the counter with a spoon and eating it till it is all gone. You will need a mango that isn’t overly ripe, but not too firm, either. Peel it, dice it and add it to a bowl. Zest one lime and squeeze juice over the mango. Dice one ¼ – ½ purple onion (your decision), as well as one red bell pepper and half a bunch of cilantro. Instead of large tomatoes, I like to quarter grape tomatoes for this recipe. Toss all together and stand back and admire the beauty of the colors of this salsa! It goes great with all types of fish.

Making salsa is easy. You can mix and match ideas and ingredients to suit your family’s tastes or needs. You can modify it to make it your own. And you can brighten up any meal.

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