I LOVE salsa! Yep, I do. A good, tasty salsa can help with meal prep if you’re not too sure what to make or you’re pressed for time. Some steamed veggies, a cup of beans and a spoon or two of salsa and lunch or dinner is done…it’s really that easy. A bit of salsa mixed with guacamole or avocado and you’ve got a tasty, creamy salad dressing that is bursting with flavour. You can even jazz up plain hummus with a few spoons of tasty salsa.
Now…let me explain…I love a certain salsa that I pick up from a little shop that is two hours away from my house and costs $10 a jar. It’s worth it but I don’t typically drive out that far to get it. I enjoy it when I have it then I go without for a long time or I’ll make do with a quick and easy salsa that I can make myself.
This past weekend I decided to try to make something similar to the one I mention above so I could enjoy salsa more often.
I’ll keep trying to refine it but the first attempt came out very tasty and much cheaper. I’ve included what I did on my first attempt and the biggest difference is in a richness to the sauce. Maybe next time I’ll add a bit of tomato paste to the mix to help thicken it up.
1 onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp allspice
1 chipotle in adobo
4 medjdool dates
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
Sautée the onion until it is soft and caramelized. Add the peppers and cook them down until they are tender. I water sautée in a non-stick pan and whenever things get dry and start to stick I add some water and stir it around.
Add the diced tomatoes and allspice and let it simmer.
In a blender blend the chipotle, dates and apple cider vinegar with a little water to make it a paste. Dump it into the simmering salsa.
Once everything is well combined and the liquid has mostly evaporated stop cooking and let it cool.
Yield – Two pint jars
I felt like a genius this weekend when one recipe was suitable for both ends of the spectrum. A low sodium, vegan and nutritarian dish for me and a tasty option for the carnivores in my house. A few simple tricks and everyone was happy.
Start off the recipe then add two things and you can avoid making two different meals for the whole gang!
White Bean Chili
2 onion, chopped and sautéed
1 green pepper chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 can diced green chillies – mild
5 cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 can navy beans and liquid puréed in the blender
2-4 cups low sodium broth or water with a no salt veggie bouillon cube – start with two cups and add more liquid if it dries up and needs to simmer a little longer..
To the sautéed onion add your chopped green pepper and sauté it a bit in water. When the pepper starts getting soft add the garlic and let it cook for a minute or two.
Dump everything else into the pot and let it come to a boil. Simmer until the beans get a bit soft.
Carnivore Modifications – 1 store-bought roasted chicken
Once the chili is ready, set some aside for the vegans/nutritarians to eat. Take all the meat off the chicken and shred it finely. Add it to the remaining chili and if necessary adjust the water and add salt. Simmer and serve.
It’s not always easy to eat healthy, plant-based, nutritarian meals if it means you have to spend lots of time in the kitchen or if the end result is bland and boring. This recipe makes it easier…it takes 40 mins until it’s on the table and it tastes great!
Now of course if you’re a nutritarian you know that removing oil and salt from your diet may make it hard to enjoy food and it may take a while to get used to so if you find yourself missing a little extra flavour from your meals then try this one. Adding lemon juice at the end and using herbs and spices enhances the flavour without added salt.
Quick and Tasty Red lentils & Spinach
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp smoked hot paprika or regular paprika and red pepper flakes to taste
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* ¼ tsp or more black pepper
* 1 cup crushed tomato
* 1 cup red lentils
* 1.5 cups water or vegetable broth
* 1 300g pkg of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove all excess moisture
* juice of half a lemon
Finely chop the onion and water sauté it in a pan. When the onion is translucent and soft, add the garlic and sauté a bit more. Stir in the spices, lentils, tomato and water and let it simmer about 5-10 minutes until the lentils are almost cooked through.
Add the spinach and simmer a little bit more. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon to boost the flavour without adding salt. Serve this over steamed veggies and with a side of brown rice.
Note:If the mixture appears too dry before the lentils are cooked through add a little water after you add the spinach if the mixture needs it. Also, if you taste the lentils before you add spinach don’t be alarmed if it tastes a bit bold…it’ll mellow out once you add the spinach.