Agave Is The Sweet Touch Your Salsa Needs

Chip dips in salsa bowl
Chip dips in salsa bowl - 4kodiak/Getty Images

There are a million reasons why you should have salsa on hand — from adding it to tacos to pairing it with chips for a satisfying snack, and so on. While you could simply keep a store-bought salsa on hand, there are plenty of reasons to make your own homemade salsa — including adding the amount of sweetness that you want. Of course, most salsas are defined by their spiciness, but that doesn't mean that you can't have a touch of sweetness in there, too. While there are plenty of recipes out there that use sugar, Tasting Table goes a different route with our recipe for charred tomato salsa: using agave.

Agave nectar is derived from the blue agave plant. One reason to choose agave over sugar is that agave is actually sweeter than sugar, if you use it as a sweetener, you don't need to use as much as you would with sugar — you can cut the amount by about half. But you may be wondering why salsa even needs any sweetener to begin with. Well, a touch of sweetness is often used to balance out the acidity of the other ingredients. It also might be necessary for anyone who can't handle too much heat — that teaspoon of agave will prevent each bite from being overly hot.

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You Can Add Agave To Just About Any Salsa Recipe

Light agave syrup in bowl
Light agave syrup in bowl - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Just about every salsa recipe can use a bit of sweetness — whether the recipe calls for it or not, since that touch of sweetness works wonders to balance out the acidity from the tomatoes. Even a non-tomato-based salsa, such as a salsa verde, still has acidity from its tomatillos — thus, it still needs some sweetness to balance the flavors. In most cases, all you need to do is add just a teaspoon of agave.

Other recipes may call for honey as a sweetener — such as our recipe for fire-roasted salsa — which can also be replaced by agave. Honey can have a distinctive taste — depending on the type of honey, it may bring in a floral element or perhaps even an earthiness — that you may not want overwhelming the other ingredients of your salsa. Meanwhile, light agave is neutral and will bring in that sweetness to the salsa without overpowering any other flavors. Keep in mind that light agave is different from amber agave, which has a caramel-y flavor, and dark agave, which has a molasse-like flavor.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.