Trader Joe's Fan - Cooking Healthy With Salsa

salsa_sm.jpgIt’s not just for chips anymore! Trader Joe’s carries a wide variety of fresh salsas as well as bottled salsas that can be used to add flavor to so many dishes. Tomato-based fresh salsas are usually lower in sodium than bottled. Two tablespoons of the fresh salsas offered at Trader Joe’s range from 5 to 10 calories, 0 fat, and 80 to 240 mg sodium per serving. If you are watching your sodium, make sure that you choose the lower-sodium fresh Pico de Gallo (80 mg) or the Mild Salsa (90 mg).

What’s not to love about salsa?

Salsa has been America’s favorite condiment, replacing ketchup, since the year 2000. One-half cup of a tomato-based salsa can supply a wide range of antioxidants, natural phytochemicals (such as lycopene in tomatoes) and is a good source of potassium. In addition, chiles contain capsaicin, which has been associated with many health claims, including the fighting and prevention of chronic sinus infections and congestion and as an anti-inflammatory agent. (Add rinsed canned black beans and corn and increase fiber and nutrients.)

Parents love it because most kids eat it without complaining; perhaps not realizing it’s made of vegetables and fruit- things they might avoid in other forms. It is low in calories; fresh salsa can be low in sodium and it adds zip to whatever dish it is added to. When putting together a meal in a hurry, prepared salsa can make the job super-easy and quick.

Bottled salsas at Trader Joe’s include many varieties including: Salsa Verde, Pineapple Salsa, several tomato-based salsas, and wonderfully flavorful Spicy, Smoky Peach Salsa. Trader Joe’s also carries a refrigerated Papaya Mango Salsa that is low in calories and has no fat. It can be used to add flavor to cooked fish, chicken or Mexican-style entrees.

Other Easy and Delicious Ways to Add Salsa to Your Meals

  • Add it to low-fat refried beans, along with plain yogurt for a yummy bean dip
  • Add it to scrambled eggs or omelets.
  • Add it to a crock pot with chicken, beef or pork and cook all day long.
  • Add it to plain white or brown rice to make flavorful red rice.
  • Add it to rinsed, canned tuna and top a baked potato.
  • Use as a salad dressing for salads or tostadas.
  • Fold it into Trader Joe's guacamole to add flavor and lower the calories per serving.
  • Add it to chopped tofu or tuna; heat and place in a warmed corn tortilla with cilantro and lettuce.
  • Add it to cooked ground turkey for a burrito filling.

Need more ideas?

quick_and_healthy_cookbook.jpgCheck out the following recipes included in the book Quick and Healthy Meals from Trader Joe’s available

  • Chicken Salsa Bowl with Papaya Mango Salsa (page 15)
  • Salsa Verde Chicken (page 17)
  • Chicken and Salsa (page 18)
  • Chicken and Veggie Tostadas (page 20)
  • Grilled Chicken Quesadillas (page 23)
  • Spicy Turkey Pitas (page 53)
  • Honey Mustard-Peach Salsa Chicken (page 54)
  • Baja Fish Tacos (page 63)
  • Shrimp and Papaya Mango Salsa Soft Tacos (page 64)
  • Chili Scallops with Black Bean Salsa (page 65)
  • Tilapia with Peach Salsa (page 67)
  • Ahi Tuna in Curry Simmer Sauce with Mango Salsa (page 72)
  • Tofu Tacos (page 95)
  • Lentil Salsa Stew (page 97)
  • Portobello Mushroom Fajitas (page 99).


Jamie Davidson,MS is a health educator, weight management coach,and seminar leader with over 20 years experience in the field of health promotion. Jamie's book Quick and Healthy Meals from Trader Joe’s: can be purchased online at

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