Sugar Free Salsa + Baked Tortilla Chips
“Life without Mexican food is like no life at all.” – Unknown
I couldn’t agree more! Known for their array of picante (or muy caliente!) dishes and the use of tomatoes, beans, different rices, hot peppers, and spices, Mexican food, regardless of heritage, is one the most beloved and hottest cuisines on the market. Ask the average North American if they like Mexican, and they’ll probably tell you they had it last week. 🙂 But moderation is always key to optimal health. Believe me, if I could have it everyday, I would. And I have, once upon time (aka the time when I ate just cheese in “lacto ovo vegetarian” diet!)
One of my favourite Mexican past time snacks to have is a good bowl of tortilla chips and spicy salsa! Mmmmm.
The problem? It can be unhealthy especially the Westernized Mexican kind! If you go to any Mexican restaurant (even “Chipotle!”) or buy commercial products like Ol El Paso, you are most likely to consume genetically modified engineered products. Yuck! Everything is made or fried with highly refined canola, corn or vegetable oil and a large percentage of it has been likely derived from genetically engineered crops. How it it even remotely possible to go to a Mexican restaurant and NOT have those enticing, savory chips, tortillas and salsas as appetizers?! It won’t be an enjoyable time if you avoid it, that’s for sure!
Most people have probably been alarmed about the negative health effects that GMO products, such as corn, or at least have heard about these 3 letters. Whether you’re against it, don’t care about it or like me, urging companies to label GMO, your best option for most food is to try and buy organic, local products that have the least amount of additives, preservatives and sugars – or in it’s most natural form (like veggies/fruits).
While I’m sure there are restaurants and companies that offer Mexican products with healthy ingredients, the safest and most enjoyable way is by making your own! You can avoid the added table salt sodium, pesky SUGARS, gluten, high fructose corn syrups, artificial flavors and colors and other “nasties” with just a few simple natural ingredients. If the idea of making salsa and chips intimidates you, be not afraid! After 15 minutes, I created the most delicious and rewarding salsa ever! Let’s face it peeps, buying organic, local, sugar free salsa from your local health store can be expensive especially if it’s a staple part of your fridge.
The baked tortilla chips is ridiculously easy to make as well. This requires you to buy the bestest oil free organic corn tortillas in the world. 🙂 Food For Life‘s Sprouted Corn Tortillas is the one I often use. You can get them at your local health store or Loblaws for about $3.99 and it’s the perfect, nourishing base for all of your Mexican dishes.
Shall we Salsa? Ole!
What you’ll need:
Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips
5 organic corn tortillas (sprouted is best!)
Pinch of cayenne pepper, chili powder and/or cumin powder
Optional: virgin coconut oil for light coating
Preheat oven to 350 F. Break a tortilla into 4 triangular slices by folding it in half – twice – to resemble chips. Repeat for other tortillas.
Dust with seasoning.
Spread on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 7 minutes until lightly brown and crispy. Remove from oven and let cool.
Enjoy this salsa with your homemade baked tortilla chips, during taco nights or on top of my healthy soy free vegan scrambled eggs. You can double the batch and store the rest in tightly sealed jars for future uses. Using the most ripe tomatoes will make your salsa more vibrant and delicious. My lovely neighbour has a lovely garden in her backyard where she’s been growing her own vegetables all summer. She came by the other day to generously give me 10 beautiful full grown tomatoes which made my salsa so much more succulent and fruitful. I dedicate this recipe to her. x
Sugar Free Salsa
6 organic/local tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1-2 organic tomatillo
1/2 small yellow onion
1/4 red chili pepper
2 tbsp of coriander powder or crushed coriander
Squeeze of lime
Squeeze of lemon
3 tbsp of tomato paste or crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp of organic raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp of chili powder
1 garlic clove, minced
Pepper to taste
Coconut oil for frying
Preheat oven to 300 F. Cut tomatoes and tomatillo in half and remove core/stem. Place them all on a lined oven tray.
Cut the bell pepper into strips and place them on the tray with the tomatoes. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the skin of the tomatoes come off easily and the bell pepper slices are soft.
In a skillet or pan, heat coconut oil and cook chopped onions and minced garlic until translucent or lightly brown. Try not to burn them. Keep on low heat if necessary. Add cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne and black pepper. Stir!
Once tomatoes and tomatillos are cooked, carefully remove skins and transfer the soft tomato flesh to the heated pan. Chop the baked pepper strips and toss into pan and mix well. Add tomato paste/crushed tomatoes, lemon and lime squeezes, ACV, chopped jalapenos and red chili pepper. Stir well and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat. Stir, stir, stir!
Transfer salsa onto a bowl and keep the rest in an airtight jar. Enjoy with homemade healthy baked chips.