Fresh Anything + Food Processor = Salsas & Sauces

I am pretty terrible at recipe writing, mostly because I make so many adjustments as I cook that by the time I’m finished, I’m never quite sure how much of everything went into the food I made. Honestly, so much of it is to taste and preference anyway, but I promise to start note-taking when experimenting. I’ve been working my way through creating my own sauces, and I love it because it’s an awesome way to add great flavor to tons of different dishes all while monitoring the health content of each sauce, so when you are lucky enough to have this…

Try combining ingredients to make some of these…

…which can then be used to enhance something like this…

So, here’s what we have – chunky roasted corn and mango salsa, guacamole, and roasted tomato and garlic sauce.

In the salsa – tomatoes (seeds out of about half of them), red onion, mangoes, fresh garlic, cilantro; one half of a fresh serrano pepper (seeds out), one half of a charred serrano pepper (seeds out – char by putting the pepper skin down right on your burner or stovetop grill until it’s pretty black), grilled corn, salt (don’t be stingy – you need it!) and pepper. I break everything down in my food processor, but to make sure nothing gets too chopped up, I do it one to three ingredients at a time and mix them up in a separate bowl. I love chunky salsas that maintain the individual integrity of each ingredient, but if you like it more saucy, just keep pulsing, or even stick your ingredients in a blender. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop everything up yourself (my food processor is a relatively new addition to my kitchen family, and I always used to chop on my own – that’s where all the love is anyway).

In the guacamole – 2.5 scooped out avocados, 1 squeeze of Sriracha, juice of half a lemon, a couple spoonfuls of light sour cream, salt and pepper. If you’re vegan, just skip the sour cream – avocados can easily do their thing on their own. Blend to the silkiness of your preference.

In the roasted tomato and garlic sauce – 2 oven roasted peeled tomatoes, seeds in (place on pan in oven at 400 degrees until the tops are a little bubbly and the skin can easily slide off (about 40 minutes)), 1 head roasted garlic, a handful of cilantro, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 chipotle pepper with adobo sauce, about a quarter cup tofu (whatever you have on hand is fine – silken would be best, but I only had super firm and it turned out great – just needed to blend a little longer), salt and pepper. Throw everything in a food processor or blender and blend, blend, blend, until you reach a smooth consistency. The tofu helps to thicken up the sauce, and a little extra protein never hurt anyone. This sauce has a little bit of a kick (pull out the chipotle pepper if you don’t want it), and it is great on anything Mexican, on bread, on potatoes, on rice – really on anything, so long as you like these ingredients. For this dinner, I added it to the Spanish rice I made because it was tasting a little bland, and this sauce pumped it right back up.

This is just what I did. You can make a sauce out of anything you have lying around. Just be creative. Think about the beans in your pantry – thickening agent! Consider that guava no one knows what to do with – guava berry sauce for a dessert or guava chili sauce for your savory dishes. To boot – everyone will think you are fancy fancy if you get saucy with your foods!

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