Recipes for Medical Students and Residents: Salsa for Beginners

I made a great dinner last night that took about 5 minutes to cook – absolutely within the “pizza rule” for medical students and residents (i.e. a recipe should take less time to cook than it takes to order a pizza).  It’s the kind of recipe I wish I’d had when I was a student/resident, so I thought I’d share it.  I know that many of you are not from Texas (or another state with a tradition that includes salsas), so here’s the basic concept.

1.  Buy tortillas (I like corn the best, but flour or whole wheat flour tortillas are fine).

2.  Choose a protein.  I prefer fish or shrimp (because they are so fast) but any meat will work.  An even easier alternative  is to buy a roasted chicken (or cooked beef or pork).   You can also use beans or tofu if you are vegetarian.

3.  Make a fresh salsa (see below)

When it’s time to eat:  Cook or heat up the meat (or alternate protein), heat up the tortillas (1 minute in the microwave).  Put the meat (or alternate protein) into the tortillas and top with the salsa. These soft tacos can make a compete meal, but serve a side of vegetables if you want … it’s a great dinner (and lunch the next day at work).

Salsas are best when you make them yourself.  You can buy good salsa in a jar but it’s never as good (or as healthy) as the ones you make.  Leftover fresh salsa can be used as a dip for tortilla chips – as is (diced) or blended.

The salsa I made last night was easy:  1 mango, 1 green tomato, red onion, cilantro, a jalapeno pepper – all diced fine and then mixed with lime juice and seasoned with salt and pepper.   All traditional fresh salsas are a variation on this same theme – tomato with or without fruit, cilantro, onion and peppers to taste.  On of the best examples is “Pico de gallo” (shown below), which is one of the most classic salsas – red tomato, onion, cilantro and jalepeno with lime juice and salt.

You can be creative!  Mix and match from this list or check out some of the recipe links  below

  • Vegetables:  tomato, tomatillo,bell peppers, corn, cucumber
  • Fruit:  melon, watermelon, peach, pear, mango, nectarine, avocado
  • Onion:  white onion, yellow onion, green onions, garlic
  • Chiles:  jalepeno, serrano, chipotle
  • Spices:  oregano, parsley, cilantro

Links to salsa recipes:

2 thoughts on “Recipes for Medical Students and Residents: Salsa for Beginners

  1. Yum! I am going to try this. I make salsa using a little mini-processor to chop the onions and jalps– I bought it for a song at the VA– makes it even faster! Thanks, Dr. Brandt!

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