It’s official- summer is here. And like most Canadians, we’re going to take advantage of the warm weather while we can! For me, summer foods are fresh salads, green juice, raw fruit platters, and of course, amazing salsa!
Who doesn’t love salsa? It’s a go-to dip for bringing to parties, or for enjoying on your patio in the sunshine. But have you ever questioned the quality of your salsa? As with most products on the market these days, we need to be careful about which ingredients producers are choosing to add.
Let’s take a look at some Ingredients found in many jarred salsas that I’m not so happy about:
- Added sugar. Most of you know how I feel about refined sugar. For those who don’t, I’ll give you the short story… Refined sugar causes inflammation in the body which can lead to disease, it negatively affects hormones and brain function, and it pulls us into the vicious cycle of sugar addiction. If you need more reasons why refined sugar is so detrimental to our health, check out this post.
- Preservatives. By now you’ve probably heard the bad press surrounding added preservatives. Many food preservatives are linked to health risks such as behavioural symptoms (including hyperactivity in children), poor heart health, and even cancer. With that amount of risk, wouldn’t you agree preservatives are highly unnecessary?
- Natural flavours. We know that artificial flavours are basically a blend of chemicals, but what does “natural flavour” mean? Well, natural flavours can describe any amount of ingredients sourced from foods, which are used to give a product flavour (no nutrition included). A large concern with natural flavours- they may contain food allergens such as dairy, eggs, or seafood. Not to mention, vegetarians and vegans ought to be wary of natural flavours, as they may contain animal based flavours. Natural flavor may even include MSG, a known excitotoxin (meaning it over-excites your cells to the point of damage or death). ICK!
As you can see, some jarred salsas CAN contain unwanted ingredients.
In my opinion, salsa producers who skip the added sugars/salts and preservatives, and load up on fresh ingredients, truly have their customers best intentions in mind.
I was lucky enough to connect with such producers, the Trogi family of Trogi Foods, who create amazing salsa- right here in Regina! Preservative free and full of clean ingredients, I couldn’t wait to do some recipe testing with their products. I was also delighted to learn that Trogi Salsa is shelf stable for up to a year, and once opened, the salsa will last about 1 month (for the mango salsa) to 3 months (for the original and hot salsa) in the fridge. This is without preservatives! See what I mean about being unnecessary? I feel that is plenty of time to enjoy your locally made salsa. ‘Cause let’s be honest… who here is buying amazing salsa and ignoring it in their pantry for over a year??
For those of you wondering if salsa can really be used for more than just dipping your taco chips, the answer is yes, definitely! And the possibilities are endless…
For this recipe, I’ve used their Mango Salsa as a dressing on my Summer Fennel Salad, and it turned out ah-mazing! Fruity mango pairs nicely with the subtle licorice flavour of raw fennel. The hint of spice off the jalapenos in Trogi Mango Salsa make for a nice surprise. And the kale I used as a base is sliced thinly (chiffonade) to make it more palatable for enjoying raw. Note that if you don’t like kale, you can definitely sub this out for any lettuce, spinach, or green you might prefer. I hope you enjoy this fresh summer salad!
Fennel Summer Salad with Mango Salsa Dressing
A raw summer salad pairing spicy mango salsa with the subtle licorice flavour of raw fennel.
- 4 leaves black kale (aka lacinato or dinosaur kale), destemmed and chiffonade
- 1 cup dandelion greens chopped
- ½ cup fennel thinly sliced (a mandolin works well)
- 1 small carrot (about ¼ cup), thinly sliced or julienne
- ¼ of a cucumber (about ⅔ cup), julienne
- ½ of a red pepper (about ⅔ cup), julienne
- ⅔ cup Trogi Foods Mango Salsa
Mix all your greens and vegetables together in a bowl.
Toss with Trogi Foods Mango Salsa for dressing. Voila!
*You can switch out the kale and dandelion greens for any lettuce, spinach, or green you might prefer!
*Other suggestions for Trogi Mango Salsa: Use as a sauce for white fish tacos or on top of baked salmon.
Stay tuned next Friday for part two of our Summer Salsa Series!