17 Ways to Use Up a Jar of Salsa

published Oct 16, 2018
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As someone who lives in a household of two, salsa jars frustrate me. They usually come in a decently large size and, once opened, can spoil quickly. I hate seeing this happen, so I’ve long been on a quest to find creative ways to use salsa in my cooking. Here are 17 of them — for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

1. Upgrade boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Just let the meat cook gently in the slow cooker with salsa, and you’ll get a saucy, flavorful filling for tortillas or a topping for your work-week lunch salad.

2. Simmer fish fillets.

Use it as a one-ingredient simmer sauce for fish. Pour a whole jar in a skillet, bring it to a simmer, then poach a few pieces of flaky white fish.

3. Spoon over scrambled eggs.

Jazz up basic scrambled eggs by finishing your plate with a spoonful or two. Or drain the salsa and stir some of the chunky tomatoes right into the scrambled eggs to use as a filling for breakfast burritos.

4. Make a one-pot taco pasta.

Swap out the marinara sauce for salsa to make a taco-inspired pasta dinner that comes together in just one pot.

5. Use it as an excuse for a taco, fajita, or quesadilla night.

Not that you really need an excuse, but a lingering jar of salsa in the fridge is the perfect reason to add a taco, fajita, or quesadilla night to the dinner roster for the week.

6. Make burrito bowls.

Use a jar to make better-than-Chipotle burrito bowls that you can carry to work for the week and make your colleagues jealous.

7. Use as a condiment for chicken, steak, and even meatloaf.

Any meat that’s feeling a little bland can use the assistance of salsa. Serve it alongside grilled chicken or steak or even spoon it over meatloaf.

8. Cook an easy skillet pork chop dinner.

Make a one-skillet dinner by cooking vegetables and pork chops in a skillet and then pouring a jar of salsa over them while they finish cooking.

9. Stir into mac and cheese.

Whether you’re making mac and cheese from scratch or leaning on a box of the instant kind, spice it up by stirring a spoonful of salsa in just before grabbing your fork.

10. Dig into chilaquiles.

Chilaquiles is a breakfast dish of fried corn tortilla chips simmered with salsa and finished with meat or eggs. Yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds.

11. Top queso.

Warm, gooey queso dip is pretty perfect on its own, but it’s such a great base for toppings that it would be a shame not to indulge in them — salsa is a must here.

12. Make nachos!

Make a protein-packed nacho dinner by topping them with black beans and Greek yogurt. (Plus, salsa and all of your other favorites.)

13. Stir up quick bloody Marys.

Invite your friends over for brunch: Blend a jar of salsa and it’s suddenly a fresh-tasting base for bloody Marys.

14. Make a Mexican-inspired shakshuka.

While shakshuka is a traditional Middle Eastern dish, there’s no reason you can’t give it a Mexican slant. Just bring a jar of salsa to a simmer in a skillet, then drop a few eggs in to cook.

15. Use as a base for a casserole.

Just like you might use a can of diced tomatoes as a base for a casserole, you can use salsa — especially when it’s a Mexican-leaning one like this taco casserole.

16. Embrace migas.

Migas is Tex-Mex comfort food — a mix of corn tortillas, scrambled eggs, salsa, and cheese. Make it for breakfast, dinner, or even a late-night snack.

17. Or really, just grab the chips.

If all else fails, keep it simple! Grab a bag of tortilla chips and get to work.