What's new in the salsa aisle?

Too much salt. That’s often the problem with salsa. Your best bet? Look for no more than 130 milligrams of sodium per two-tablespoon serving.

But most salsas—especially your run-of-the mill ones that come in jars and typically have a base of tomato paste or purée—have much more than that.

Solution: try salsa fresca or pico de gallo. That’s Spanish for fresh (refrigerated) salsa, which is mostly diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and salt. (Some companies add corn or beans.) You get less salt and more flavor. Many stores carry their own brand of refrigerated fresh salsa. If you can’t find any, try one of our Best Bite (no more than 130 mg of sodium in 2 Tbs.) national brand faves:

  • Trader Joe’s Pico de Gallo. If you like it hot, you’ve got a Best Bite (115 mg of sodium). The mild version is a near miss (140 mg).
  • Wholly Guacamole. The Avocado Verde—it just misses a Best Bite—is more like a (delicious) avocado salsa than a guacamole. It has more tomatillo than avocado, which cuts the calories in two tablespoons from 50 or 60 to 25.
  • Newman’s Own. If you want a jarred salsa and you’re not a heatnik, try Newman’s Own Mild or Medium. If you can take some fire, go with Green Mountain Gringo Roasted Chile Pepper, our taste favorite.

Wholly Guacamole

Newman's Own


Click here to view our full chart of salsas.

Or try making your own. Here’s a quick and simple recipe for fresh salsa from The Healthy Cook, Kate Sherwood.

Fresh SalsaFresh Salsa

1 pint cherry tomatoes

¼ cup chopped white onion

¼ cup cilantro sprigs

1 jalapeño pepper (optional)

1 Tbs. lime juice

½ tsp. kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until uniformly minced. Makes 1 2/3 cups.

Per 2 Tbs: 5 calories, 75 mg sodium


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2 Replies to “What's new in the salsa aisle?”

  1. My go-to salsa-like appetizer consists of my combining a jar of hot salsa with a jar of spicy green harissa (with a combined sodium level of 161 mg sodium per 2 TBSP). To that I add 2 diced habanero peppers along with 2 mashed avocados. I don’t know for sure what the sodium level is, but I expect it’s well below the 130 mg per serving recommended in this article. The resultant concoction is delicious eaten with no-added-salt blue corn chips.

  2. I hear a lot these days about “turmeric”, as an anti-inflammatory substance. Besides finding it in curry, in what other food can we find it?

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