Spice of Life
The benefits of spicy food with summer salsa recipes.
Feeling The Burn
The summer sun brings with it a bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables, some of which you would swear retain the sun’s heat! Mounds of farm-fresh jalapenos, serranos, and other chili peppers pile up at your local grocery store. Maybe you even have some growing in your garden.
But oh my, that heat. Even those of us who love spicy food sometimes question why we do this after a particularly hot meal. There might be a reward beyond just the pleasure we get from eating the food, though. A longitudinal study of Chinese people’s eating habits has shown that those who consistently ate diets high in spicy foods had a 14% lower risk of dying compared to the group that ate spicy foods less than once a week. And other studies have shown that consuming spicy foods can increase the amount of calories that your body burns!
While there is still a lot of research to be done on the benefits of eating spicy foods, one thing is for certain: increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet will help you lead a healthier life. Try some of these delicious summer recipes and enjoy the benefits of the burn!
Pico de gallo
The name translates to rooster’s beak, and we have a hard time keeping our noses out of a fresh bowl of this stuff! Eschew fried tortilla chips and add this delicious salad as a complement to liven up lean cuts of chicken, fish, and eggs.
+ 4 medium tomatoes, cores and seeds removed
+ 1/2 large white onion
+ 2 serrano peppers (feel free to substitute jalapenos if serranos aren’t available)
+ 1/4 C chopped cilantro
+ 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Chop the tomatoes and onion and put in a medium mixing bowl. Cut stems off of serranos and finely chop; remove pith and seeds if you don’t want it to be spicy. Add to bowl. Add cilantro and lime juice to bowl and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with coarse salt.
Roasted tomatillo salsa
This delicious salsa will remind you of the stuff in the green bottles at the local Mexican restaurant, but grilling the ingredients here will give your salsa extra depth of flavor.
+ 2 lbs tomatillos, husked and washed
+ 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered through the root
+ 4 serrano peppers (feel free to substitute jalapenos if serranos aren’t available)
+ 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
+ 2 Tbsp olive oil
+ 1/2 C cilantro leaves
Preheat your grill. Toss the tomatillos, onion quarters, peppers, and garlic in a large bowl with oil. Take the cloves and wrap them in a piece of aluminum foil. Place tomatillos, onion, peppers, and foil pouch on grill. Grill tomatillos, onion, and peppers until they get a nice light char (be mindful not to let the peppers fall between the bars of the grate). Leave foil pouch on a few minutes longer. Remove from grill and let cool. Once cool, blend all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper