The Best Ways to Use Salsa (Hint Dipping Isn’t Among Them)

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Salsa to go

Salsa is actually an incredibly versatile ingredient, going far beyond its standard use as a dip served alongside fried tortilla chips. But with so many different types of salsa available, how can you choose whether to use roasted garlic salsas, fruit salsas or pico de gallo salsa dips for any given application? Here’s some guidance:

  • Salsa to Go on Meats

    Intense garlic flavor is always a great addition to hearty meats (especially grilled meats), so garlic salsa is the obvious — and delicious — choice here. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even blend softened butter and garlic salsa together to make a compound butter, roll it into a log using waxed paper and plastic wrap, and store it in your fridge or freezer. That way, you can just slice off rounds of it to top off a steak or saute some accompanying veggies.

  • Salsa to Go on Fish

    Since fish has a lighter flavor, the delicate flavors of fresh salsas like pico de gallo pair nicely with it. Pico de gallo is actually very easy to make (you just chop together raw tomatoes, onions, peppers and herbs and top with lemon and salt), but you can also pick up a pre-made version at the grocery store.

  • Salsa to Go on Salads

    Salsa can be a great replacement for high-calorie salad dressings; salsa actually has only about 20 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. Classic mild salsa is a great choice for this application, since it mimics the creamy texture of salad dressing and adds enough zest without overpowering the flavor of whatever else you might be adding to your salad. If you need just a little more creaminess than salsa can provide, try stirring a spoonful of sour cream into your salsa before dressing your salad with it.

  • Salsa to Go on Wraps

    Wraps can often be dry and bland, but chunky salsas can fall out of them and make a mess. For that reason, a thin layer of a spicy but more finely blended salsa is the best choice for jazzing up a plain old turkey or chicken wrap while still giving you a healthy lunch.

  • Salsa to Go on Dessert

    You’re probably thinking this premise is crazy, no matter what type of salsa we’re suggesting, but give it a shot — a sweet and spicy mango or pineapple salsa on top of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt is the perfect treat for a muggy summer afternoon, especially when topped with a little freshly grated cinnamon.

What is salsa good with, besides what we’ve mentioned here? Share your recommendations for salsa pairings in the comments.

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