This is one of the first recipes that I started teaching to kids on a regular basis. I have some real good memories of making this salsa. I have watched kids prepare this dish and then get super hyped on how cool it is to eat their fruits and veggies. Witnessing kids who are die-hard Hot Cheetos lovers become fruit and vegetable enthusiasts always makes my heart swell with joy, and in my opinion, it makes this salsa taste that much more special.
When I originally put this recipe together, the idea was to give kids the opportunity to eat lots of different colors and varieties of produce in one dish that was fairly familiar to them. I based this salsa around the types of produce that can be found easily growing during this time of year and throughout the early fall. The final product is a basic chopped salsa fresca with a little twist, a little flava, and a little garden-love.
(For 1 medium to large bowl of salsa)
- 5 medium tomatoes, different colors and varieties
- 2 bell peppers, variety of colors
- 1 bunch of green onions
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro
- 1/4 bunch of basil
- 2 limes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- salt & pepper
Grab one large bowl for all prepared ingredients. Chop the tomatoes and bell peppers into small squares. Chop the green onions into small pieces and dice the red onion. Remove the basil leaves from the stems, and either rip or chop the leaves into small pieces. Cut off the majority of the cilantro stems and discard, and then chop the rest of the cilantro into small bits. Squeeze the limes. Mince the garlic. Chop the jalapenos, either with, or without seeds, or with the partial amount of seeds, depending on your preference for heat. Add a few shakes of salt and some grinds of fresh pepper. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed.
In my cooking classes, I always ask the kids what they would change or add to the recipe next time. Here are some of the many suggestions that I've gathered over the years for this salsa recipe: "More limes." "Less limes." "More jalapenos." "Add mangoes." "Apples!" "Take out the garlic." "More pepper." "Put in chicken." "Mash it up." "Make it all smooth." "Put in cheese." "Hot sauce." "Heat it up." "Put in strawberries!" "Add cucumbers." And then of course there are the purists, who wouldn't change a thing.
Whether making this recipe as written, or with a little bit more improvisation, you will be rewarded with a bright, cheerful bowl of garden candy. The smells are intoxicatingly fresh. It won't be long after this dish is made before you're reaching for the nearest chip!