Category:  Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces

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Macha Salsa

In Fun Foods, Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On December 12, 2021 0 Comments


Macha Salsa or Salsa Macha has its origins in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. It is a crunchy, nutty chile oil made with a variety of dried chiles, nuts, garlic, fried in oil and chopped. You can tweak it to your taste.

Spice up the holidays with this exquisite salsa that is served as a condiment. Spoon it over meats, fish, chicken, veggies, frittatas. I’ve been known to eat it by the spoonfuls.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Inactive prep time: 10 minutes

Makes: About 1-1/2 cups

2 guajillo peppers (dried)
3 ancho peppers  (dried)
3 to 4 dried chile de arbol peppers (use 3 if you want a milder salsa)
1/4 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1-1/2 cups high-quality vegetable oil (preferably, organic canals, sunflower or safflower oil)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt, to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon; taste and adjust level when salsa is finished)

1. Remove seeds and stems from the guajillo, ancho peppers and chiles de arbol.

2. Using shears, cut them into small bits (1/4-inch pieces); set aside.

3. Place the peanuts, garlic and the oil in a 6 to 8-quart saucepot (this will prevent splatters). Alternatively, use a 12-inch skillet.

4. Heat the oil, peanuts and garlic to medium-high.

5. Fry the ingredients until garlic is light brown (not dark brown).

6. Immediately remove saucepot or skillet from heat; stir in the dried pepper pieces.

7. Let the mixture cool for 8 to 10 minutes.

8. After 8 to 10 minutes, stir in the vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust salt level, if needed.

9. Pour the mixture into a glass blender or glass food processor. DO NOT USE PLASTIC AS IT WILL PERMANENTLY STAIN.

10. Pulse-blend the mixture to achieve a crunchy, crumbly salsa – DO NOT OVERPROCESS; DO NOT PUREE.

11. Pour the salsa into a GLASS JAR WITH A COVER (mason jars work well). Tightly seal and refrigerate the salsa up to 6 weeks.
Text & Photograph ©2021 Nancy DeLucia Real


Green Salsa with Guajes

In Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On September 23, 2016 0 Comments

This salsa is made with tomatillos and guaje seeds. Both are used in the traditional cuisine of Mexico.


The gauge pods are about one foot in length and thin and flat. Guaje pods have a tough, outer skin which is green and red in color and slightly translucent. This allows seeds to look like spots along the length of the pod. The seeds are small, flat and light green with a sharp flavor. They are high in protein.

Guaje seeds are incorporated in this delicious green salsa from the city of Puebla. Enjoy the salsa with fish, meat or chicken or as a dressing for a green salad.

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes (toasting the seeds & boiling the tomatillos)
Makes: 2 to 2-1/2 cups salsa

8 to 9 tomatillos, skin removed and discarded and fruit rinsed in water
2 dried red chiles or 1 Serrano chile
8 to 10 guaje pods (found in Latin American supermarkets)
1 whole garlic clove, peeled
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Dash cumin
Salt, to taste

1. Place tomatillos and chile(s) in a 3-quart saucepot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil – tomatillos will become tender after a 5 to 7-minute boil.

2. Meanwhile, using a sharp, pointed knife, split the gauge pod skins at the top. Open the pod skins lengthwise and remove the guaje seeds. Set them aside in a small bowl.

3. Transfer seeds to a nonstick skillet set on medium-high heat.

4. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, toss the seeds as they roast. As they begin to “pop”, immediately set heat on low and continue toasting until they are light golden brown.


5. Transfer seeds to a bowl; set aside to cool while tomatillos are cooking.

6. If tomatillos are tender when pierced with a fork, they are done. Drain tomatillos and chile(s) over a sink in a colander, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

7. Let tomatillos and chile(s) cool for about 5 minutes.

8. After tomatillos and chile(s) have cooled, transfer them to a blender with remaining ingredients except for the seeds.

9. Puree the salsa and taste it. If needed, add a dash more salt.

10. Pour the green salsa into a serving bowl and top it with the toasted guaje seeds.

11. Serve immediately. Alternatively, cover the salsa with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator up to 1 day (after 2 days, the salsa’s flavors will become tart and acidy).

Note: You can serve Green Salsa with Guajes as a salad dressing – this is how I like it!
Text and Photographs ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

Strawberry-Nectarine Salsa

In Fruit and Jams, Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On August 14, 2015 0 Comments

I can’t help thinking that fruit is the sweetest gift that Nature has given us. While I enjoy all types of fruit in its natural state, I also like to be creative with it.

This salsa is made with strawberries, nectarines (or peaches), green onions, Serrano chiles, lime juice, agave nectar and olive oil. It pairs well with meat, fish and poultry. Serve this strawberry-nectarine salsa at your next cookout!

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Makes: 3-1/2 cups

16 ounces fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried and hulled
2 to 3 fresh nectarines, peeled (peaches can be substituted for the nectarines)
4 green onions, roots and dark tips cut and discarded
1 Serrano chile, finely chopped (if chile too hot, then only use half)
Juice from 1 lime
2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar (this can be substituted with granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Working on a chopping board, cut each strawberry in half, vertically.

2. Chop the strawberry halves into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside in a 2 to 3-quart mixing bowl.

3. Cut the nectarines into 1/2-inch thick slices.

4. Cut each slice into 1/4-inch pieces and add these to the strawberries in bowl; set aside.

5. Cut the onions into thin circles (about 1/8-inch thick) and add them to the chopped fruit in bowl.

6. Add the chopped Serrano chiles and lime juice to the fruit mixture in bowl.

7. Gently stir in the agave nectar, olive oil and salt.

8. Stir the salsa thoroughly and taste it. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

9. Serve salsa immediately or refrigerate it up to 3 hours ahead.

NOTE: This salsa will last until the next day. Howevever, the fruit’s texture will change.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

Basil Almond Pesto

In Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On June 14, 2012 0 Comments

At this time of year there’s no doubt that herbs are the rage. My home garden is lush with beautiful green leaves –  parsley, cilantro, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme and the most important herb of all – basil.

For this pesto recipe, I combined the aromatic basil leaves with almonds. This incredible Basil Almond Pesto will help you serve great panini or pasta dishes in minutes. Don’t know about you, but with all that extra time, I’d rather go to a movie or enjoy a great outdoor activity such as biking on a mountain trail or rollerblading at Santa Monica Beach.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 pint

1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole almonds (unroasted and unsalted)
2 cups fresh, Italian flat parsley leaves, slightly packed (washed and spun dry)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, slightly packed (washed and spun dry)*
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. In a food processor, grind the garlic and salt.

2. Add the almonds and process until they are ground (make sure they do not turn into a paste).

3. Open the food processor cover and add the parsley and basil leaves, making sure they fit inside barrel. Cover and process until the leaves and almonds have combined and the pesto has formed.

4. Add the cheese and process once more until mixture is uniform.

5. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the pesto in a thin stream.

6. Using a spoon, transfer the pesto to a glass jar, flattening the top. Gently and slowly pour the vegetable oil over top of pesto to seal it (this will prevent the pesto from blackening). Cover and refrigerate.

Pesto sauces keep in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Whenever using small amounts of pesto, make sure the remaining portion inside jar is covered with vegetable oil.

Pasta with Basil Almond Pesto – Serves 4:

1. While waiting for one pound of pasta to cook, spoon about 3/4 cup pesto into a glass or porcelain serving bowl.

2. Drain the pasta and immediately transfer it to the bowl with the pesto. Gently toss the pasta until it is evenly coated with the pesto.

3. For a creamier texture, add 2 to 3 tablespoons whipping cream and toss.

Serve immediately and ask guests to sprinkle some grated cheese over their pasta, if desired.

Pesto can also be used as a spread on toasted Italian or French bread and in panini.

*Note: After basil leaves have been spun dry, lay each leaf flat on paper towels. Using another paper towel, pat each leaf dry, on both sides. This will prevent the leaves from blackening.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Mango Salsa

In Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On October 20, 2011 0 Comments


Mangoes are my favorite fruit. They are commonly grown in areas of Asia, Mexico as well as in other warm countries. The flesh of a mango is bright yellow or orange, juicy, sweet and slightly tart (when half-ripened). This sensory experience usually makes me forget that I’m merely eating a fruit. I often incorporate the exotic mango in my Indian, Mexican and California dishes.

In my home, this “hot” Mango Salsa is in such high demand that it doesn’t last very long. When preparing the salsa, you won’t be able to stop yourself from “tasting” at least half of it. Be sure to double up on the ingredients when you go shopping or there will be nothing left for your guests!

Buen Provecho (Spanish, for “Bon Appetit”).

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Makes: 3 cups

2 large, ripe mangos, peeled and diced
2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
½ jalapeño pepper, minced
Juice of ½ a lime or lemon
Dash chipotle ahumado powder* (optional)
1 tablespoon white Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a 1 or 2-quart mixing bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings.

2. Stir and serve immediately.

3. Alternatively, the salsa can be refrigerated 2 to 4 hours before serving.

As an appetizer, serve Mango Salsa with tortilla chips or tostada shells.

Mango Salsa can be served as part of a salad course or as a side dish, complementing poultry, meat or fish.

Note: Mango Salsa is best served the same day, but will keep refrigerated up to two days. Overnight, the mango’s texture becomes soft and the salsa mixture is slightly watery but still delicious.

*Chipotle ahumado powder can be purchased online at

Text & Photograph © 2011 Nancy DeLucia Real