No-Cook, No-Fat Summer Flavor Boosters


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  29 comments   :  27,241 Views

I don't teach at the Midwest Culinary Institute in summertime, but that doesn't mean my schedule is any less busy. I'm still creating recipes for SparkPeople, driving the boys to and from their activities, and working on the family farm--and of course, running and swimming at the pool!

I let the seasons guide my menus, and when the temperature rises, my palate craves what's fresh and simple. Grilled vegetables and meats, fresh fish, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Two of the easiest ways to dress up fresh and simple meals without adding fat, sodium, and calories are to make salsas and relishes. They're a key to 5-minute meals!

"Salsa" means "sauce" in Spanish, which means you're only limited by your imagination and the ingredients on hand when creating a new salsa.

And though we think of sweet pickles on hot dogs when we think of relish, you can create one using plenty of fruits and vegetables. You just need to "pickle" them using an acid (such as vinegar) and cook them. (You could even do this on a grill if you're trying to keep the kitchen cool.)

I created two new recipes that are perfect for hot summer nights. I made a big batch of each and use them several nights a week.

Chef Meg's Spicy Stone Fruit Salsa

Chef Meg's Summer Corn Relish

If you like those, be sure to try these recipes, too: Chef Meg's Grilled Perch with Citrus Salsa, Cilantro Sauce and Salsa Verde, for a fancier meal

Island Chicken with Pineapple Salsa (Chef Meg's Makeover)

Find more salsa recipes here. Try some new relishes, too! With simple additions and fresh ingredients, you can whip up a five minute meal for dinner tonight.

What is your favorite summer sauce or condiment? Do you make your own salsa?

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    Wonderful suggestions--thank you for quick, easy healthy food choices. - 7/10/2012   9:00:13 AM
    Wonderful suggestions--thank you for quick, easy healthy food choices. - 7/10/2012   9:00:10 AM
  • 27
    Salsa is defintely on my to-do list! Sounds delicious! - 9/9/2011   12:46:51 AM
  • 26
    I've never made my own salsa, but would love to try one of these recipes.
    - 9/12/2010   10:23:01 PM
    Talk about a quick, easy, TASTY way to get your veggies AND tamp down your hunger. These are GREAT. - 9/10/2010   5:20:37 AM
  • 24
    Pico de gallo is something I make almost every day when I have fresh homegrown tomatoes... Mmm- mmm- good! - 8/13/2010   12:07:10 PM
  • 23
    Love salsa's, great ideas! - 8/12/2010   4:04:55 PM
  • 22
    These sound great! - 8/12/2010   12:03:31 PM
  • 21
    Yesterday, on the Food TV channel, one of the chefs was showing how to "pickle" cauliflower. Into a jar she put champagne vinegar, and the spices she chose; then dropped the raw cauliflower pieces into the mixture. She closed the airtight lid and shook the jar...She said this will "cook" the cauliflower and preserve it indefinitely. She said in her restaurant, they do this with a variety of summer season veggies and use as a relish or side dish on their menu all year. - 8/11/2010   7:25:12 PM
    great - 8/11/2010   4:54:29 PM
  • 19
    We love the Double Roasted Salsa from Trader Joe's. Delicious! - 8/11/2010   3:40:22 PM
  • 18
    Yum! Can't wait to try it! - 8/11/2010   3:01:33 PM
    I make my own salsa. The key to making it taste more like the restaurants is to roast all veggies. I put my onions, garlic and jalapenos in a cast iron skillet with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet and put it on the grill while I am cooking dinner. Do tomatoes the same way then put it all in a food processor and blend well. It has a great smoky flavor with the roasted veggies. - 8/11/2010   2:03:18 PM
  • 16
    I LOVE TO MAKE MY OWN SALSA - 8/11/2010   12:49:39 PM
  • 15
    I would love to make my own salsa, but I don't like the taste of the fresh ones. If I could figure out exactly how to make one that tasted like La Victoria or Pace salsa, then I could make it myself! - 8/11/2010   12:19:22 PM
    Fresh made salsa is a staple in our home and the advantage to making your own is there are no added preservatives. - 8/11/2010   12:09:46 PM
  • 13
    Love salsas, especially fruit salsas on fish or chicken. Haven't even thought about relishes, even though I enjoy pickling and canning strange veggies (green beans, okra, etc) they make great gifts...something new to try! - 8/11/2010   11:05:04 AM
  • 12
    I love making my own salsa with mangoes - 8/11/2010   10:56:48 AM
  • 11
    Yum! Which do I try first? Thanks for sharing:) - 8/11/2010   10:54:58 AM
  • 10
    Wow...I want to try all of these! I can't wait. Pick a favourite? After you've given me all these? Don't be cruel, hahahaha - 8/11/2010   9:38:52 AM
  • 9
    My favorite salsa is a KraftFoods recipe for Winter Black Bean Salsa (but don't let the name fool you--it's great in summer too). I put it into SparkRecipes and it's low-cal and low-fat too! Check it out here:
    - 8/11/2010   9:38:35 AM
  • 8
    I use salsa instead of salad dressing. I am going to enjoy it, thank you Chef Meg. - 8/11/2010   9:23:34 AM
  • 7
    We used salsa instead of pasta sauce this weekend on food and we are sold! - 8/11/2010   8:12:28 AM
  • 6
    No, as with the Salsa you can buy it would seem a waste of time and expensive. My children like Old El Paso brand. - 8/11/2010   8:01:51 AM
    Yum, Island chicken and pineapple sounds great, will try it 2night - 8/11/2010   7:13:55 AM
  • 4
    Thanks for these recipes they sound great! I can't wait to try them!
    :P - 8/10/2010   11:49:45 PM
    These salsa's sound delish and worth trying just to make things more festive and exciting to the taste buds. Thanks Chef Meg! - 8/10/2010   11:38:49 PM
    how did your posture get so horrible that can't happen over night you may need help a chiropractor maybe or see your Dr. alwhite4 - 8/10/2010   7:02:12 PM

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