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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Trader José's Hatch Valley Salsa

So here I am, on one hand, casually mentioning my diet here and there, while reviewing things like new fangled cookie butter and mini ice cream sandwiches and kinda disappointing chips and all that stuff. That obviously doesn't add up. So, what do I eat when not indulging myself for your sake, not to mention my very pregnant wife's?

Let's see...chicken. A lot of chicken. Eggs. Sweet potatoes, but not too often. Veggies. It's kinda surprising to me how much I've come to really enjoy good, fresh spinach. Lots of nuts (except peanuts). A lot of fruit. Black coffee. Water. And that, surprisingly, is about it - no dairy or carbs or anything. Still learning the paleo ropes to a great extent, but the results speak for themselves.

You know what makes almost all of that taste better? Salsa. Lots and lots of salsa. Gotta be careful perusing the ingredients list, which for the longest time left me basically with one TJ's choice (which was okay, it's my favorite anyways).

Well, here's another one: Trader José's Hatch Valley Salsa. I love it when that José hombré comes to town - almost always means a win. This take on a classic salsa verde is no exception. I'll admit, before this salsa, I've been somehow ignorant of the whole "Hatch Valley chile pepper" thang - like, yeah, I've had them, but just the mini-canned version, which don't sway me one way or the other. Not anymore. If this salsa is anything like "real Hatch Valley chile peppers," I have a new vacation spot in mind. Every bite is full of roasted, smoky chili peppers, with a little sweetness from the freshly crushed tomatillos adding a nice little balance. The lime and garlic are a nice little touch, too, giving plenty of flavor before the heat descends. If you're a spice-adverse type person, this salsa is not for you. The heat kinda meekly introduces itself, before beginning to build and build, and by the time you're a couple bites in, it's all there in its smoky spicy glory. Yet even then, each subsequent bite still has lots of flavor, from those tomatillos, etc, and it doesn't overpower your food, either. Me gusta mucho.

I've yet to find anything that I reasonably enjoy salsa on that this doesn't work. Meats? Eggs? Veggies? Even those couple tortilla chips I swore I wouldn't sneak and then did? Ab-sah-lutely all of them. One of our loyal readers, a "stevenp", mentioned in  a comment a week or two ago he used this and some coffee-garlic rub as a steak marinade with amazing results - haven't tried that yet, but I'm intrigued - thanks for the idea!

Sandy's not as enamored as I am. "It's just too spicy for me," she said. I guess this salsa is mas pica than most other salsa verdes, which she routinely chooses for her burritos at Qdoba (mmm,Qdoba....). I couldn't get a definitive score from her, but her voice was telling me she was wavering between a 2 and a 3, so I'm going with that for her. For me, I'm just glad to have another tasty, healthy salsa option that fits in my diet pretty easy. As tempting as it is to five it up, I can't give those out too often, so here's a 4.5 instead.

Bottom line: Trader José's Hatch Valley Salsa: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons



  1. Glad, u found it!.. btw here's an article:
    I found it interesting after I mentioned this salsa.

  2. looks good. no cilantro! Hope it's available out west.

    1. You know, the "no cilantro" thing didn't even occur to me until you mentioned it - as a guy who likes cilantro, this stuff is so good, it isn't needed!

  3. Might be a good spicy food to keep on hand in case baby #2 needs a little nudge down the spout later!

  4. A couple of spoonfuls of this mixed with mashed avocado makes a quick guacomole-like dip.

  5. i lived in NM for 20 years and this Hatch Valley salsa came out soon after I moved to the East Coast... it's been a Godsend. Honestly, it tastes so similar to the chile smothered on burritos in restaurants in NM.... that i like to heat it up in the microwave and pour it over a burrito. Also, i strain a little bit of the excess liquid off and add the chile to TJs vegan cream cheese spread... you don't want it too watery, that's why i strain it... i love green chile cream cheese on bagels... it's the best! The green chile that TJ's sells in the little can is a disappointment, but i understand that some TJ's stores sell fire-roasted Hatch green chiles frozen, but this product is not available at my local Trader Joe's, unfortunately.


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