Add spice to summer meals with fresh salsa

Instead of tomatoes, use fruit or other vegetables to bring a bright flavor to snacks and seasonal meals

As harvest time approaches, it’s time to use all those luscious vegetables and fruits you spent all summer tending.

An easy way to use the abundance of tomatoes, peppers, onions and other veggies in the garden or found at farmers markets is by making salsa.

But don’t limit yourself to tomato salsa. There are dozens of salsas that showcase other fruits and vegetables. Use your imagination to create flavors to suit your taste and your dishes.

The fresh flavors of salsa are terrific on their own, served with an accompaniment of chips, or with grilled foods such as steaks, hamburgers, fish, chicken and pork.

The most common salsa is a tomato salsa. At its most basic, it is a combination of chopped tomatoes, chilies, onions and cilantro, flavored with salt and a bit of lemon or lime juice that will keep the flavor lively.

For flavor, color and texture, add bell peppers, jicama, fresh corn, avocado or black beans.

Experiment with different chili peppers, but remember not to rub your eyes after handling them — especially the seeds.

You can use a food processor to chop the vegetables and fruits, but many people prefer to cut them by hand because it gives them more control over the size of the produce.

Most salsas require time to rest after they’ve been mixed, allowing the flavors to meld. But some salsas should be served quickly after they’ve been prepared.

And although summertime seems to call for a salsa made with raw vegetables, you can create a richer, deeper flavor by cooking the salsa or roasting the tomatoes, garlic or chilies.

There’s a salsa for virtually any meal. Try a fruit salsa and cinnamon chips for breakfast, or serve huevos rancheros or a breakfast burrito with salsa on the side. Green salsa is great with scrambled eggs.

Start lunch with guacamole and salsa fresca with corn chips and fresh vegetables.

At dinner, serve Mexican entrees with tomato salsa or top grilled meats with a fruit or vegetable salsa.

Following are some salsa recipes from and

Strawberry Salsa

1/2 ounce balsamic vinegar
1/2 ounce honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound strawberries, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Zest of 1 lemon

    In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, salt and pepper until combined well.
    Add diced strawberries, chopped basil and lemon zest and stir together until incorporated.
    Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.


Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups butternut squash, diced small
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup mild salsa
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons Green onion, thinly sliced
Tortilla chips

    Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add squash, garlic, jalapeno, salt, pepper and cumin and cook, stirring, for a minute. Stir in salsa and black beans. Cover and reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer for 15 minutes, until squash is tender. Stir in lime juice, cilantro and green onion.
    Serve warm with tortilla chips.


Watermelon Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

1/2 whole small seedless watermelon, diced
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 to 2 limes
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

    Mix watermelon, jalepeños, onion, peppers, cilantro, juice and honey in one large bowl. Season with salt as needed and refrigerate at least one hour.


Cantaloupe Salsa

2-1/2 cups cantaloupe, finely diced
1 cup red onion, finely diced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime

    Combine cantaloupe, red onion, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Cilantro Peach Salsa

1 cup cubed fresh peaches
1/3 finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 jalapeño, de-seeded and finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

    Place all chopped ingredients in a bowl and squeeze lime juice over top. Season with salt and pepper.
    Can serve immediately, but salsa is even better the next day.
    The finer you chop the peaches the easier the salsa is to eat.


Spicy Corn Salsa

1 poblano pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups corn
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Sea salt

    Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium high heat and cover.
    Brush poblano pepper and cobs of corn with olive oil. Place on the grill for three to four minutes, until they develop grill marks. Remove and let cool.
    Chop the pepper into small chunks and remove the corn from the cob. Place in a large bowl and add the jalapeño, red onion, chives and lime juice. Toss together and taste. Adjust seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired.
    Serve with corn tortilla chips.

Berry Salsa

1/2 cup diced strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries, halved if large
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño, finely diced
Juice of 1 lime

    Mix ingredients together and chill. Don’t make the salsa too far in advance or the fruit will start to break down.


Better Than Restaurant Salsa

2 cloves garlic, peeled
14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
4 ounce can fire roasted diced green chilies
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup minced colorful bell peppers
1 red or green jalapeño,, minced
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
Freshly cracked black pepper

    With the motor going, drop garlic into a food processor until minced. Turn the machine off and add the undrained tomatoes and chilies. Pulse until everything is broken down but still has some texture. If you like it smoother, pulse a few more times.
    Place salsa in a bowl and stir in lime juice, olive oil and vinegar.
    Stir in minced peppers, onion and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.
    Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.


Strawberry Jalapeño Salsa

15 to 20 strawberries, hulled and chopped into a very small, even dice
1/3 medium red onion, finely minced
Handful cilantro, well rinsed, dried and finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, finely minced, seeds and all
Juice of 1 lime
Freshly cracked black pepper

    Mix everything in a bowl. Taste and adjust any of the ingredients to your taste.
    Chill until ready to serve.



Mushroom, Jalapeño and Cilantro Salsa

16 ounces white mushrooms, finely diced
Small red onion, finely diced
2 jalapeños, finely diced
Handful fresh cilantro, diced
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

    Combine mushrooms, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Add lime juice and olive oil and toss gently. Salt to taste.
    Let sit for a couple of hours to meld. Salsa is best served at room temperature.
    Serve as a topping for fish, chicken, grilled steak or as an appetizer with a basket of chips.
    Makes 3 cups.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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