How to Make Sure Your Summer Cookout Isn’t a Bore

Recipes with salsa dip

Summer is a great time for inviting family, friends or neighbors over for some food and relaxing in the backyard. But it’s pretty easy to get tired of the hot dog, hamburger, and chips-and-dips routine. What’s an easy way to spice things up? Your own salsa bar. It’s as simple as making (or buying) several different types of salsa, arranging them, and waiting for the compliments from your guests.

You can use as many different types of salsa as you want, really, but here are three basic ideas to get you started:

  1. A Mild Pico De Gallo

    Pico de gallo is about as easy as it gets. Just chop up equal amounts of fresh Roma tomatoes and onion, then mix with chopped jalepeno peppers, cilantro, a squeeze of lemon or lime, and salt. Pico de gallo is great for dipping or topping grilled foods. Try it on hot dogs instead of standard relish.

  2. A Spicy Salsa Verde

    Salsa verde is made using tomatillos, a tart alternative to regular red tomatoes. You can control the spiciness based on the kind of chilies you use, just be sure to balance that flavor out with plenty of citrus juice. Salsa verde tends to be blended for a smoother texture than the chunky mild salsas you’re used to getting out of a jar.

  3. A Smoky Fruit Salsa

    For a little extra variety, throw in a fruit salsa such as mango or peach. You can grill the fruit before turning it into salsa for an extra smoky flavor. Chipotle peppers will also give you some of that smokiness, along with heat. You’ll be surprised at how many dishes coordinate with fruit salsa; the sweetness can replace some high-calorie barbecue sauces, and it even tastes great spooned over some vanilla ice cream.

What other fresh salsas would you incorporate into a home salsa bar? Share your salsa recipes — or entree recipes using salsa — in the comments.

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