Saturday, June 30, 2018

Specially Selected Mild Black Bean and Corn Salsa (Aldi)

I guess you could say the flavor of this salsa is jarring. Get it...because it's in a jar? Still not laughing? Fuck you then.
It’s not very often that I buy supermarket salsa. The simple reasoning behind this statement is that my wife LOVES to chop up vegetables, and since that pretty much sums up the entire prep work required for salsa, it goes without saying that she loves making the stuff. And let’s be real here: fresh salsa is loads better than any form of the canned or prepackaged stuff.

So I tend to avoid the canned salsa’s at the grocery store. But she’s never made a black bean salsa, nor even hinted about any interest in making one, so when I saw this at Aldi, I knew I had to pick it up and give it a shot. As it turns out, it was a good call; even my wife was interested in trying this (probably to see if it’s even worth taking the time to replicate; if she loves this stuff, I guarantee she’ll never allow me to buy another jar, because she’ll just make it herself). I have to admit that I was very nervous about heading into a tasting of this stuff; I always equate beans with salty dryness. It’s almost the food equivalent of sea water. I like beans, but they can get very, very boring by themselves, and I wasn’t sure how well they would work in salsa form.

As it turns out, this stuff far exceeded my expectations. I was preparing myself for at least a modicum of blandness, but the black beans blend with the tomato surprisingly well, even giving it a sweetness that I wasn’t at all expecting. It basically tastes like a “southwestern” salsa, thanks to the bean and corn additions, though it’s close enough to regular salsa that most people that enjoy that will find their tastebuds pleased here, too. It's a fantastic combination, and one that I would definitely revisit again in the future. Pair up with Aldi's blue corn tortilla chips for a tasty, cheap, and relatively healthy snack that won't break the bank.

Perhaps best of all is the ingredient list, with “xanthan gum”, which is the last thing mentioned and a common additive in foods these days, being the only “unnatural” thing in the jar. The rest consist completely of vegetables and spices, which helps to explain why this tastes a lot fresher than other processed salsas. Of course, it’s still nowhere near my wife’s fresh stuff, but as far as supermarket salsas go, this is one of the better ones. It’s pretty much a guilt-free snack, with a rather large amount of sodium (as we should expect in every pre-packaged food these days) the only real health hit. Definitely worth a shot for anyone in the market for salsa. Other varieties are available (such as a delicious mango) on a seasonal basis.

Overall: 7.5/10. A tasty salsa for the price, and one that tastes fresher than most jarred salsas. The ingredient list, which consists almost entirely of beans, vegetables, and spices is a large reason for that. I equate beans with “boring” in almost all cases, so I didn't expect there to be much flavor, but these have a great “southwestern” style flair that pair well with tortilla chips (as a salsa should). Of course, this isn't going to touch a freshly-made salsa, but this will save you (or someone else) the hassle of making one, and at a price somewhere around $2, if memory serves me correctly, it's a pretty solid value.

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