At Zipongo, we know that health foods are not always what they seem. So from time to time, we taste-test popular health foods and give you a no-nonsense guide to the healthiest and wisest health food choices available.
This week, we put five of the most popular salsas to the test and asked:
- Is the tastiest salsa also the saltiest?
- Is the healthiest salsa always the most expensive?
We also wanted to figure out just how much sodium we’re really eating while making conversation at the snack table.
Pace Chunky Salsa, Tostitos Chunky Salsa, Newman’s Own Medium Chunky, La Victoria Salsa Suprema, Trader Joe’s Salsa Autentica.
We evaluated the competing salsas based on:
- appearance (5 points)
- texture (5 points)
- taste (10 points)
… for a total of 20 possible points.
Salsa Blind-Taste Test
For an added twist, we also evaluated two brands of tortilla chips: Mission Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips and O! Organics Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips (Safeway brand).
The blind tasters were required to try each of the salsas with both kinds of chips. After some deliberation, the salsas were scored, and we found our winners.
Pace Chunky Medium Salsa and Newman’s Own Medium Salsa were both declared the best-tasting salsa. Pace weighs in at 230 mg of sodium per serving, while Newman’s Own was the lowest in sodium, with 105 mg per serving. Pace was also the most expensive salsa and Newman’s Own was one of the least expensive salsas in the competition.
Blind tasters remarked that Pace tastes like a traditional salty salsa, while Newman’s Own relies on herbs and spices to pump up the flavor.
Never Judge a Salsa by its Cover
Both Trader Joe’s and Newman’s Own are known as good quality health-food brands.
However, while Newman’s Own was a winner in the salsa tasting, both in terms of taste and sodium content, Trader Joe’s disappointed almost all of the blind-tasters.
Trader Joe’s salsa received low marks in taste, texture and overall quality. It was also the salsa with the most sodium, packing a whopping 260 mg per serving.
Crunch, Crunch … What About Those Tortilla Chips?
While the sodium in salsas can easily creep up, tortilla chips can be an unexpected source of saturated fat, depending on the type of oil they’re fried in.
Mission Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips have six times the amount of saturated fat as O! Organics Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips (3 g and 0.5 g per serving, respectively).
While O! Organics was almost twice as expensive as Mission chips, Mission is non-organic, which is a major factor in the price difference.
Although Mission received higher marks in taste, the blind-tasters remarked that O! Organics brand would be a satisfying alternative, considering the difference in nutrition.
Zipongo Salsa Recommendation
Newman’s Own Chunky Medium Salsa and O! Organics Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips
Together, this snack provides 150 calories, 0.5 g of saturated fat, 225 mg of sodium per serving, making it a healthier (and taste test-approved) alternative to other chips and salsas.
Until the next blind-taste test, snack wiser.