by Chrysa Smith

No, not talking about the Latin dance number—although it would be great for bikini weather. I’m talking about the Latin mixture of fruit and vegetable and sweet and savory—perfect side dishes that are also good for the torso.

Here’s what you’ll need for tasty, healthy and fresh side dishes to spice up summer meals—meals that can be hauled to the beach with ease:


  • cutting board and good, sharp knife
  • supply of red peppers, red onions and cilantro (or parsley)—-and/or—–
  • supply of tomatoes, cucumbers—-and/or——
  • summer fruits like pineapple, mango, watermelon (one at a time please)
  • flavored or white vinegar, oil, salt and pepper

No mayo, sour cream, butter or heavier fats that we know and love—-but nonetheless, add flavor with benefits—-doses of fruit and veggies together in one, low calorie, low-fat, flavorful serving.

If you chop red peppers, onions and cilantro and save those in the fridge, you can probably make up over a week’s worth of salsa pretty easily, as you need it, when you want it. Here’s how the measurements generally run:


  • lime or lemon juice, to taste
  • clove garlic, chopped, to taste
  • olive oil, just enough to combine
  • salt & pepper, as needed
  • sugar, as needed

So, take your pepper/onion/cilantro mixture and add a summer fruit like pineapple or mango or both (chopped). Combine with the lemon or lime juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and a dash of sugar (if desired). mix, let sit for about an hour in the fridge. The tastes will mingle and Oy Chihuahua—-the flavors will explode on your tongue. I like these with grilled chicken (easy for beach eating); or out on the deck, with grilled seafood. For a tangier salsa, replace the fruit with other veggies, like ripened tomatoes, cucumbers and other summer squash. Use the same lime/garlic/oil marinade and let sit. Either way, it’s muy bueno.

For those who want to get it right, right away, check out recipes on or — my favorite ‘go to’ recipe sites for quick and easy reference.