Monday, May 5, 2014

Simple Solutions Series: Summer [Vegetarian] Salsas

Simple Solutions Series

May Healthy Eating Presentation

Summer [Vegetarian] Salsas 

& a bonus tip: How to Cut a [Fresh] Pineapple

With an ode to growing up in Texas, Cinco de Mayo, eating the [real] rainbow and an early kick-off to summer, I held the third rendition of the Simple Solutions Series entitled, Simple Summer Salsas (I have not published my April presentation yet; you can find March's here.) My focus is always educating the importance of eating from the L.E.A.N. Traffic Light concept (more here) and these recipes fall in the green and yellow light categories which makes them A+ in my book! I hope you will agree!!

We made 4 fresh food chunky salsas. Three were savory and the last was the 'dessert' option. We had a variety of chips and crackers available for all palates including gluten free and without sunflower products (one guest has a food allergy).

The day of the food demo was unseasonably warmer than I remembered from last year. It reached 95* and though we were at an outdoor kitchen, it was shaded and we had several fans blowing. Thankfully we even experienced a light breeze here and there (which says a lot for being in the high desert because really, there is no such thing in the Spring for a 'light' breeze; winds are usually called gusts and they can go up to 55 mph!). With that said, we wanted to finish earlier than normal and so we forgot to take pictures of the food as we talked about it during the demonstration. 

But guess what? My husband later told me that he wants to bring in a salsa to work on Monday for their potluck style on Cinco de Mayo. I also knew that I really wanted images for the recipes so that I could publish THIS post! So, the next day I went into the kitchen and made all of the recipes from the demo. These recipes were made using my Vitamix so it didn't take much time at all! At the presentation though, we used my co-host's Quick Chef system from Tupperware. 

One quick note before we dig in, these recipes are clean-eating and compliment the Clean Transformation Challenge a.k.a #ctransc. You can message me if you'd like further information on ways to incorporate more green and yellow light foods into your health regimen!

Without further adieu, here they are and I've even included several other food bloggers' recipes so that you have more than a few to choose from. I secretly hope that you choose mine to make and come back to give me some feedback. If you make theirs, be sure to leave a comment on their blog approving of their ingredient profile. I've not made theirs but I like them because they fall in the green and yellow light category of mostly fruits and/or veggies, healthy fats, and herbs and spices. =)

Southwestern Salsa Fresca

This recipe includes two types of plant protein - avocado and black bean. There was only a corner left after the guests tried their samples. I'd say that everyone liked it! =) (The recipe is here.)

Mango Cucumber Chunky Salsa

Ingredients for the dressing:

zest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes
1 tbs raw honey (optional)
2 shallots
1 jalapeno, seeded 
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste
fresh cilantro (to taste)

Yields: 3/4 cup

1. Using a Vitamix [or a food processor of your choice], add all of the ingredients to your container then blend on variable low for 10 seconds. The jalapeno, garlic, shallots, and cilantro will be chopped and the mixture should be a light, creamy green color. 

2. You will be using up to 1/4 cup of the dressing for this salsa recipe; set aside. The other 1/2 cup can be refrigerated in an air tight container to be used with your next salad! 

Note: If you do not have a Vitamix or food processor, you can chop everything by hand. It may take a few extra minutes but it'll still taste wonderful! You can whisk the dressing by hand as well until the flavors are developed to your taste preferences. 

Ingredients for the salsa:

1-2 mangoes, peeled 
1/2 english cucumber, unpeeled and cut in half
1/4 cup strawberries, hulled

1. Using your Vitamix, place mangoes, cucumber, and strawberries in the container and turn on variable low using tamper to push food towards the blades. In ten seconds, food is chopped! (Again, you can chop by hand.)

2. Pour the chopped ingredients into a medium bowl and add up to 1/4 cup of the dressing. Stir gently until combined. Dip with your favorite chip. Enjoy!!

Pineapple Prep & Spicy Salsa

About six years ago I was taught how to slice a pineapple from a food demo that I had attended at a health food store in Southern California. See, I had known about the other way where you slice down the sides of the rind until you're left with the flesh but I found that that way presented a lot more waste. Now I must caveat and say that the other way works great if you've let your pineapple turn completely yellow on the counter. It will help remove all the brown spots but of course, you're still wasting a lot of food. 

So you can do two things: 1) don't let your pineapple turn completely yellow and 2) cut it the way I'm about to share with you to cut down on waste. 

The best pineapple is heavy for its size and mostly green. The bottom will be yellow. This is the time to cut into the pineapple! Follow my images for the how-to and if this way was new to you, try it then come back and share with me your experience, okay? 

This way yields way more pineapple! This particular pineapple gave me 6 cups!! The pineapple cost me $3 (which is a very good cost considering I've seen them as high as $6.50). So when you pay a lot for your pineapples, don't let them turn completely yellow and then cut them the way I showed you above so you can get a good return on investment. =)

Now onto the salsa! 

Like the Southwestern Salsa Fresca this was also a crowd favorite. Two of the guests are not fans of pineapple but enjoyed the recipe because of the spiciness of the ingredients. IMO it was too spicy for me! But, I'm happy everyone else enjoyed it. 

1 large shallot
2 cups of [fresh] pineapple (see demo above on how to cut)
1 jalapeno, seeded
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
Sea salt to taste 


1. Add all ingredients to a Vitamix and blend with tamper for 15 seconds. Done! 

2. Pour into a bowl and couple it with chips of your choice. I used Bean & Rice chips that are gluten free. 

Note: Like the mango cucumber salsa, you can chop by hand. It will take a few extra minutes and then you can control the sizes of the ingredients. 

Chunky Strawberry Apple Salsa 

From my food demo recipes, I saved the best for last - dessert!! We've all seen varieties of this simple fruit based salsa before but I wanted to switch things up by adding a fuji apple and kiwi. Some recipes call for onions to cut the sweetness but I really wanted to end my demo with a dessert option. Plus this is great for kids! I mean all of them are but this flavor profile is gentler on the palate.

A thought hit me when I was writing this blog post, I know for certain that adding soaked chia seeds to this recipe would bring up the nutritive benefit quite a bit (add 2 tbs)! I mean you've already got the seeds from the kiwi in plain view - why not add the chia!?! You try it and see if you like it. I prefer to soak my chia seeds so that they'll be easy to chew and digest. 


1 apple, seeded
1 kiwi, peeled
1/2 lb of strawberries, hulled
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tbs raw honey (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon-coconut sugar mixture (just add 1/4 tsp of each together)


1. Using a Vitamix, toss in the apple alone first and chop it on variable low for 5-10 seconds. There were a few pieces that didn't make it to the blades so I ate them! Remove from Vitamix container and pour into a medium bowl. 

2. Toss the kiwi, strawberries and the juice of half of a lime into the Vitamix container and blend them on variable low for 5-10 seconds. Pour chopped fruits into bowl with chopped apples. Stir.

3. Sprinkle the cinnamon-coconut sugar mixture over the chopped fruits. If your fruits are not very sweet, you can add the optional raw honey at this point. If they're already sweet, omit the honey and gently stir the fruit salsa. 

4. Serve with organic animal crackers, plain or cinnamon pita chips, or it can be eaten alone. It is very good! The apples give it the necessary added crunch I believe it needs. 

I hope you enjoyed my recipes and that you'll be back for more. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to never miss a post that is delivered to your inbox! 

Now onto more vegetarian salsas from my foodie friends!

Pineapple Salsa (raw-vegan) from JarO'Honey {w/Bonus decorative bowl}

Tropical Fruit Salsa & Roasted Tomatillo Salsa from Honey, Ghee and Me 

Mango and Traditional Salsas from The Organic Kitchen 

Fresh Summer Salsa with Cucumber from Recipes to Nourish

Homemade Mango Salsa from Live Simply 

Lacto Fermented Salsa from Economies of Kale

Strawberry Salsa, Cherry Salsa & Salsa Fresca from Fresh Bites Daily 

You can order a Vitamix from Costco, Amazon, and direct from the manufacturer. I purchased mine direct in April 2010. It came with a 7-year warranty and for those that needed which I did at the time, an interest free installment plan. You can order one direct and use my code {06-00 8064to earn free shipping (value $25 US/$35 CN). You can buy them at other places and some may come with the 7-year warranty. I prefer to buy from the manufacturer when I'm making a large purchase. 

Choose, eat, and live well! =)


  1. Love this post. Great ideas for yummy salsas. My favorite is the Mango Cucumber Chunky Salsa as I love mango so much! Can't wait to try it.

  2. Love salsa :) Great round up!