When it comes to satisfying a snack craving, something salty and crunchy is about as good as it gets. Though everyone’s choices are a little different, it’s unlikely you’ll find anyone who doesn’t love a helping of tortilla chips, particularly when there’s salsa or another dip involved. And it turns out our affinity for these crispy tortillas is nothing new. CNN explained, while the exact origins of this snack food are pretty fuzzy, they had become a staple food in California by the early 1900s. Though the chips became even more popular after nachos burst onto the scene, many of us find a simple salsa or dip just as satisfying. In this spirit, we’re sharing six great salsa and dip recipes to pair with your favorite fried snack.
1. Pomegranate-Orange Salsa
Take advantage of pomegranate’s great flavor by making this sweet and tangy salsa from Cooking Light. The combination of red, orange, and green colors makes this salsa as gorgeous as it is delicious. Feel free to substitute any variety of orange or even clementines for this recipe. Whatever type of fruit you use, make sure to properly segment the citrus so you don’t end up with too much of the bitter, white pith. Just use Saveur’s easy method.
- 1 cup chopped orange sections
- ⅔ cup pomegranate seeds
- ⅓ cup fresh pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve with shrimp, flaky white fish, chicken, or tortilla chips.
2. Roasted Tomato Salsa
You’d be amazed at how flavorful tomatoes becomes after spending a little bit of time under the broiler. The method helps sweeten and intensify the flavor of the tomato, which makes it perfect for turning into salsa. Try it out with Martha Stewart Living’s super simple recipe. Just char the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and chiles, and then purée everything with some salt.
- 9 plum tomatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large white onion, quartered
- 3 jalapeños, plus more
- 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- Coarse salt
Directions: Preheat broiler. Place tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until tomatoes and jalapeños are charred, about 7 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Peel garlic and transfer to a blender along with tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and 1 tablespoon salt. Blend until smooth. Add water, if needed. Season with additional salt, if needed. Serve.
3. Salsa Verde Cruda
For a fresher take on salsa verde, try chef Roberto Santibanez’s raw version, featured on Food & Wine. It’s a particularly good choice if you’re planning on serving some heavier dishes or a variety of salsas because the fresh taste helps cut through rich meats and cheeses. This recipe is also a fantastic addition to a basic plate of fried or scrambled eggs.
- ½ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
- ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- Kosher salt
Directions: Combine all ingredients except for salt and pepper in a blender and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
4. Roasted Garlic Guacamole with Help-Yourself Garnishes
You can’t talk about Mexican food without mentioning chef Rick Bayless. His television appearances and restaurants have helped the cuisine flourish in the U.S., but even he veers from tradition. Take this twist on guacamole, for example. Using roasted garlic and including a bunch of toppings is definitely something a little bit different, but you might never go back to your regular recipe.
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 6 medium ripe avocados
- ½ cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more
- ¾ cup crumbled queso fresco, queso añejo, or another garnishing cheese
- ¾ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- ¾ cup sliced pickled jalapeños
- ¾ cup coarsely crumbled Mexican pork rinds or ½ cup crumbled cooked bacon
- 1½ to 2 pounds sturdy tortilla chips, small tostadas, or 2 baguettes, sliced ¼-inch thick, brushed with olive oil and toasted
Directions: In a small dry skillet set over medium heat, roast garlic until soft and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool, then remove skins and finely chop. Scoop avocado flesh into a large bowl and add garlic, cilantro, and lime juice. Coarsely mash and season with salt. Scoop into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on surface, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fill bowls with garnishes and a large bowl with chips or bread. Remove guacamole from fridge and let guests portion and garnish their own.
5. Queso Fundido with Chorizo, Jalapeño, and Cilantro
You’ll find tons of recipes for queso online, but most of them unnecessarily complicate the dish by incorporating a white sauce or too many ingredients. At its simplest, and maybe best, the Mexican appetizer is really just a dish of melted cheese with a handful of toppings. We like The New York Times’ chorizo-flecked version because it keeps things simple. It also happens to taste phenomenal.
- 7 ounces dried chorizo, diced small
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- Sliced bread, for sandwiches
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for sandwiches
- Tortilla chips, for dip
- Lime wedges, for dip
Directions: Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring, until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Mix jalapeño, cilantro, scallions, and salt in a medium bowl. Add cheese and toss well.
If serving as sandwiches, drizzle bread with oil and brown in a toaster oven. Top with chorizo, then cheese mixture. Return to toaster oven and toast until bubbling.
If serving as a dip, preheat broiler. Combine chorizo and cheese mixture and pour into a shallow baking dish. Broil until melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with chips and lime wedges.
6. Chipotle Black Bean Dip
If you’re sick of the fussy layering involved in your go-to bean dip, it’s time you tried Coffee & Quinoa’s black bean concoction. It’s just a matter of doing a little bit of chopping, then tossing everything into the food processor. If you manage to find yourself with leftovers, this dip makes a delicious sandwich spread.
- 2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 large garlic clove, chopped
- ¼ white onion, roughly chopped
- 2 chipotles in adobo plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Chopped cilantro
- Tortilla chips or cut vegetables
Directions: Combine beans, oil, lime juice, garlic, onion, chiles, adobo sauce, cumin, and salt in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer dip to a bowl, garnish with cilantro, and serve with chips or veggies.