Some of my favorite aspects of Mexican food (and all the American variants on Mexican food) are also the fattiest ones – avocados mashed together with garlic and pepper, sour cream on top of a taco, and that glorious spicy goo that is hot queso. I generally saw salsa as a garnish on top of other food.
I have had two experiences where salsa became one of my favorite foods, and where I realized that it is pretty much all veggies while not tasting anything like salad. One was when a classmate brought in homemade pico de gallo and we all crunched into tortilla chips covered in the fresh, spicy mix; I noted how refreshing it was, while still feeling substantial – iceberg lettuce, it is not. The other time was at a girl’s night, when I was first getting to know three friends, B, K, and J, who live near where I live now. They made an enormous bowl of corn and black bean salsa, which is pretty substantial and filling without being super calorie dense like guacamole or queso. I could eat it all evening long and still leave a reasonable level of full. Also, it utilized red wine vinegar and had this amazing, addictive combination of sweet and savory. For something similar, check out this recipe from Culinary Hill: http://www.culinaryhill.com/black-bean-salsa/
So when Husband proposed a Taco Tuesday this week, I thought I’d whip out the food processor and make some homemade salsa; we still have mountains of tomatoes coming in and it seemed a great way to liven them up and try using some spices other than my go-to italian-driven palate. I didn’t have any cilantro – our one little cilantro plant had a sad and short life this year – so I employed this recipe – http://www.food.com/recipe/salsa-no-cilantro-370600 – and used lots of onion, garlic, and spices to bring the tomato to life. Instead of layering cheese and avocado on my tacos, I put a large bed of this spicy salsa in and left less room for my fattier favorites. The result was a more fresh-tasting taco that didn’t leave me feeling like a blob afterwards. Delicious.