Photo by Rachel Ferreira

It’s dinner time and, once again, you’re completely out of ideas. Monday night was chicken and rice. Tuesday night, pasta with meat sauce. But now, you’re stuck. Tonight, transform your kitchen into a global eatery; go exotic with the help of salsa – your dinner-rut’s new best friend. Consider the following recipe ideas:

Caribbean Pineapple Salsa:

Combine 1 medium-sized tomato (peeled and seeded), 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, 2 small jalapeño chili peppers, 2 scallions, 1 cup of minced parsley, ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 pineapple (a well-known Caribbean fruit based on migration patterns and economic trade). This particular salsa is best served as a dip for spicy chicken wings or even as a simple garnish for grilled meat or fish.

Moroccan Orange, Red Onion and Black Olive Salsa:

Combine ½ teaspoon of coarse salt, 1 ½ cups of parsley, 1 medium red onion, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne powder, ¾ cup of black, oil-cured olives and 4 navel oranges, a native fruit of Morocco, produced there more than most other places in the world. Rather than chicken wings, meat or fish, this Moroccan orange-based salsa is best served with grilled pork chops, tuna, swordfish or salmon.

Although both recipes feature popular fruits and vegetables from far-away places, the  ingredients are nonetheless accessible to – and enjoyed by – people all over the world. Salsa can be more than a game day snack, actually allowing us to replicate tastes from other countries (all within the comfort of our own kitchen).

Photo by Daniel Schuleman

Garlic Salt

We all know and love fresh garlic, but for an easy substitute try garlic salt, a combination of dried ground garlic and table salt. It adds tons of flavor and spares you from stinky hands. Love the garlicky taste but want to skip the salt? Try garlic powder, a salt-free seasoning with the same bold kick. Try it with hamburgers, guacamole, stews, soups and popcorn.

Dill Weed

Dill weed originates from the parsley family and is popular in cuisines all around the globe. This soft but highly aromatic herb has a flavor reminiscent of celery, parsley, anise and subtle lemon. Try it with salmon, eggs, green beans and Greek yogurt dip.

Creole Seasoning

This salty seasoning is typically a blend of paprika, garlic powder, onion, black pepper and cayenne. The most popular brand is the original Tony Chachere’s, hailing from Louisiana. Creole tends to accompany Cajun dishes like gumbo, but it can also spice up meats and veggies. Try it with jambalaya, chili, polenta, burgers, eggs and steamed vegetables.

Crushed Red Pepper

Made from dried and crushed red chile peppers, red pepper flakes are often thought of as a standard seasoning alongside salt and pepper. These smoky little flakes add heat and intensify the flavor of whatever ingredients they season. Try it with tomato sauce, orange chicken, frittatas and grilled eggplant.

Lemon Pepper

This simple but powerful spice blends granulated lemon zest with cracked black pepper, lending a bright, citrusy, peppery kick. Although most commonly used on fish, lemon pepper can add flavor to a variety of meats, vegetables and pastas.Try it with grilled meats, pasta, fish, pork, zucchini and couscous.

Sea Salt

Perhaps the trendiest spice of the year, sea salt brings any dish to life – sweet or savory – with its coarse texture and bold, salty punch. Sea salt can range from a basic cooking ingredient (crystalline sea salt) to a gourmet garnish (fleur de sel) sprinkled for an elegant finishing touch. Try it with dark chocolate, chips with vinegar and freshly sliced tomato.


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