This chunky, crunchy almond salsa is one of the most unique and delicious chili salsas I've ever made or eaten. The recipe includes toasted almonds, jalapeños and green chiles, and the warm, fragrant spices of coriander, fennel, and ginger.
Use this salsa to add instant crunch and flavor to salads, soups, and tacos. It's also the perfect salsa to serve with chips or tortillas when you want something that's more unique and unexpected than your standard bottle of salsa.
This recipe was originally created as a topping for Salmon Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Almond Salsa. The salad is light and refreshing and one of our favorite meals, especially in warm weather months.
But, I realized right away that the almond salsa was the star of that show.
Since then, I've made this salsa to top all variety of tacos, tostadas, and nachos. I've used it to add a bit of crunch to creamy soups, every other kind of salad you can imagine, and as a simple snack that we eat with tortilla chips or warm, homemade flour tortillas.
This almond salsa is also the star ingredient in these delicious little Orange Cedar Roasted Salmon Appetizers.
For all of you campers, this recipe can be easily prepared on a camp stove or in a cast iron skillet over an open fire. It requires minimal ingredients that take up very little space and, if you use canned green chilies, do not require refrigeration.
The salsa will keep well unrefrigerated for up to 24 hours. After that, it's best to put it in a refrigerator, cooler, or in any other container that will keep it relativly cool.
Ingredients Needed to Prepare this Recipe
- Jalapeño peppers. How many jalapeños you use in this salsa is 100% about your personal tastes. The heat level of jalepenos can vary quite a bit, so take a tiny taste of your peppers and then decide how many you want to add. Also factor in the heat level of the green chiles you're using.
- Fresh ginger. Peel the ginger and grate or chop it into very small pieces so that you have about a tablespoon. Another option is to use ginger paste which can be found in the produce section of many supermarkets.
- Ground coriander and fennel seeds. A bit of coriander and fennel add delicious, fresh, slightly sweet flavors that are the perfect compliment to almonds, ginger and green chiles in this salsa.
- Black sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds have a stronger flavor than other varieties of sesame seeds and are a bit more bitter. They are my preference because the bitterness helps to balance out all the other flavors in this salsa without making the salsa itself taste bitter. Having said that, it's perfectly fine to use golden, brown, or white sesame seeds in this salsa.
- Salt and pepper. Start with the amount suggested in the recipe, and then taste the salsa when you're done making it and add more if you like.
- Whole raw almonds. Almond skin has flavor, fiber, and nutrients, so I prefer to use whole raw almonds that include their skin in this salsa (not blanched almonds).
- Extra virgin olive oil. You could use vegetable or canola oil to make this salsa if you prefer, but the flavor that olive oil contributes to this salsa makes it the preferred option.
- Apple cider vinegar. Just a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar lifts up all the flavors in this salsa making everything taste bright and fresh.
- Chopped green chiles. I usually use canned chopped green chiles in this recipe but if you have them, freshly roasted green chiles are much more flavorful! Another great option is frozen hatch green chiles which are available in the freezer section of some supermarkets.
- Fresh cilantro. Use as much or as little as you like. If you aren't a fan of cilantro, simply leave it out or replace it with fresh Italian parsley.
*See recipe card below for specific quantities of each ingredient.
How to Make Almond Salsa
Step #1: Remove the seeds and stem from the jalapeño and chop it into very small pieces. Put the minced jalapeño into a small bowl along with the grated ginger, coriander, fennel, sesame seeds, salt and pepper.
Set this bowl and a bowl of chopped green chiles near the stovetop so you'll have the ingredients ready to add to the skillet when it's time.
Step #2: Chop the almonds.
Chop the almonds so that most of the pieces are roughly pea sized. You'll have some smaller pieces and a few larger and that's fine. There is no need to be exact.
Step #3: Dump the chopped almonds into a skillet with some olive oil. Set the skillet on the stovetop and turn the burner heat to medium.
Let the almonds toast in the skillet, stirring them frequently, until the almonds begin to smell toasty and are turning a rich golden brown. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
Important tip! As soon as you notice the almonds beginning to turn brown, watch them carefully and stir constantly. Almonds can go from toasted to burned quickly.
Step #4: Grab the bowl with the chopped jalapeños, ginger, sesame seeds, and spices and dump it all into the skillet with the almonds.
Keep cooking, stirring constantly, to toast the sesame seeds and spices, and soften the ginger and jalapeño.
Step #5: Turn off the burner and take the skillet off the stovetop. Add the vinegar and green chiles and stir everything around.
Step #6: Dump the salsa into a bowl and let it cool down a bit, until the temperature of the salsa is about room temperature.
After the salsa is cool, stir in as much or as little cilantro as you want. Now is also the time to taste the salsa and add more salt and pepper if like.
That's it! The salsa is now ready to eat!
Here's a list of ways you can customize this recipe to your personal tastes or to better match the ingredients available to you.
- Instead of fresh ginger: use ginger paste, which can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets. You could also use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. Or, skip the ginger entirely and use 1 teaspoon ground allspice or cinnamon if you prefer.
- Instead of coriander: use ground cumin, curry powder, or caraway seeds.
- Instead of fennel seeds: use anise, cumin, caraway seeds, or paprika.
- Instead of apple cider vinegar: use red or white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or sherry vinegar
- Instead of fresh jalapeños: use pickled jalapeños, crushed red pepper flakes (start with ½ teaspoon and increase until you get the heat level you prefer), minced serrano peppers, or minced habanero peppers. Remember that the heat level with all of these options will vary. Taste and adjust to your personal preferences.
- Instead of black sesame seeds: use any kind of sesame seeds, white, golden, or brown.
- Instead of cilantro: use chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley.
Almond Salsa Variations
As with most salsa recipes, let your tastebuds and personal preferences be your guide when making almond salsa. Play around with swapping out and adding new ingredients to suit your personal tastes or just to mix things up a bit.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Different kinds of nuts: Use any other kind of nut in this salsa instead of, or in addition to, almonds.
- Add a handful of dried fruit. Dried cherries, cranberries, or chopped apricots are particularly delicious in this salsa. Add dried fruit along with the vinegar and green chilies after removing the salsa from the heat of the stovetop.
- Add other vegetables. Diced bell peppers, red onion, shallots, carrots, and tomatoes are great additions to this salsa. Add them to the skillet when you add the jalapeño mixture.
- Add some additional peppers. I love adding a couple minced chipotle peppers in adobo to this salsa. Another great option is shishito peppers that have been blackened on a grill top or in a hot skillet and then diced.
- Add some fresh fruit or veggies. After the salsa has been cooked and allowed to cool to room temperature, toss in slivers of jicama, tart apples, thinly sliced or diced radishes, or diced mango or pineapple.
- Toss in other kinds of seeds in addition or instead of sesame seeds: add some chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or even hemp seeds along with or instead of the sesame seeds in this recipe.
Equipment Needed to Make this Recipe
The only things you need to make this recipe is a stovetop, a 12-inch skillet, and a sharp knife.
This 12-inch Cuisinart Non-Stick Skillet is one of the hardest working pans in my kitchen. I use it to make all kinds of dishes, including this almond salsa.
But any kind of skillet will work well for making this recipe. Just make sure the surface is either non-stick or well seasoned. This pre-seasoned carbon steel skillet is another excellent choice.
You could even use a well seasoned or pre-seasoned cast iron skillet. For all of you campers, this recipe can be easily prepared on a camp stove or in a cast iron skillet over an open fire.
How to Store Almond Salsa
Almond salsa will keep well at room temperature for up to 24 hours. After that it should be refrigerated where it will keep well for another 3-4 days. The salsa is safe to eat for longer than 3 or 4 days, but the almonds begin to get soggy.
This salsa doesn't freeze well. But, I've yet to have a situation where we couldn't eat it all up within a couple of days. See the list below of ideas for how to use almond salsa!
How to Use Almond Salsa
Almond salsa can be used pretty much anywhere you would use any kind of salsa.
- Top salads with almond salsa. My favorite way to use almond salsa is in this delicious citrus baked salmon salad. But, you can spoon this salsa over pretty much any salad that could use some crunch and a burst of flavor.
- Stir it into chicken, egg, tuna, or seafood salad.
- Serve it with tortilla chips, potato chips, crackers, or veggies for dipping.
- Spoon it into tacos or over a plate of nachos. For example, a spoonful of almond salsa adds a satisfying crunch to these Tequila Lime Cauliflower Tacos or these Shishito Pepper Tacos.
- Use it to add some crunch to creamy soups. A spoonful of almond salsa over this creamy Curried Roasted Cauliflower Soup is to die for. I also love to serve almond salsa with this creamy Black Bean Soup.
- Use it to add flavor and crunch to roasted vegetables. I love using this salsa to top a plate full of Roasted Beets.
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and minced (*See note)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated or very finely minced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds (Or golden/ brown sesame seeds)
- ½ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8.6 ounces (1 ½ cups) whole raw almonds
- ¼ cup (1 ¾ ounces/ 50 grams) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 6 ounces (1 cup) chopped green chiles (*See note)
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (to taste)
- Add the minced jalapeño, ginger, coriander, fennel, sesame seeds, salt and pepper to a small bowl and set near the stovetop.
- Roughly chop the almonds so that most of the pieces are roughly pea sized.
- Add the chopped almonds and olive oil to a skillet and set the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the almonds begin to smell toasty and are turning a rich golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Watch carefully and stir constantly as they start to turn brown; the almonds can go from toasted to burned quickly.
- Add the jalapeño mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the vinegar and green chiles. Scrape the salsa into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- When the salsa has cooled to room temperature, stir in the fresh cilantro, adding as much or as little as you like. Taste the salsa and add more salt and pepper if desired.
What kind of green chiles should you use?
I usually use canned chopped green chiles in this recipe but if you have them, freshly roasted green chiles are much more flavorful! Another great option is frozen hatch green chiles which are available in the freezer section of some supermarkets.
How many jalapeño peppers should you use?
Use one or two jalapeños in this salsa, depending on how spicy your peppers are and how spicy you want your salsa to be. The heat level of jalapeños can vary quite a bit, so take a tiny taste of your peppers and then decide how many you want to add. Also factor in the heat level of the green chiles you're using.
Almond salsa is a perfect recipe for camping
For all of you campers, this recipe can be easily prepared on a camp stove or in a cast iron skillet over an open fire. The salsa will keep unrefrigerated for up to 24 hours. After that, it's best to put it in a refrigerator, cooler, or in any other container that will keep it relatively cool.
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Serving Size:¼ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 121mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g
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