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South American-style Dips and Salsas

Spice up your everyday meals...

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This collection of recipes for South American dips and salsas might come in handy when you have an excess of tortilla chips lying around, but these dips and salsas can be used in many other ways as well.  Try serving them over chicken and rice, or with pasta, with vegetables, or as part of a filling for burritos or empanadas.

1. Venezuelan Chunky-style Guasacaca

Marian Blazes
Guasacaca is Venezuela's version of guacamole, and it is typically served as a condiment for grilled meats. This guasacaca recipe has a chunky texture that's perfect for chips (see recipe for creamy-style guasacaca here).

2. Chimichurri Sauce - Argentinian Chimichurri Marinade

Marian Blazes

Chimichurri is one of most delicious and versatile sauces around. It's traditionally served with grilled steak, and is an essential part of the Argentinian parilla, but it goes great with chicken and fish too.

3. Ají Amarillo Sauce - Crema de Ají

Marian Blaes
This versatile, spicy yellow sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roasted chicken, vegetables, french fries, and fried yuca. The star ingredient is the aji amarillo chile pepper, a staple in Peruvian cooking.

4. Peruvian Huacatay Salsa - Aji de Huacatay

Marian Blazes
The key ingredient in this special green sauce (a favorite accompaniment to pollo a la brasa) is the Andean herb known as huacatay ("wah-ka-tay"), or Peruvian black mint.

5. Salsa Criolla - Peruvian Onion, Pepper & Lime Salsa

Marian Blazes

Quick and easy to prepare, salsa criolla is the perfect accompaniment to many dishes. The lime juice is what makes this onion salsa/relish special. It adds a bright flavor that sweetens the onions and livens up everything else on the plate.

6. Aji Criollo - Green Aji Salsa

Marian Blazes
This bright green salsa goes well with just about anything - empanadas, grains (toss it with some just cooked quinoa), grilled meats, etc. It is similar to chimichurri sauce, but with scallions and spicy green chiles instead of garlic.

7. Salsa a la Huancaína - Spicy Cheese Sauce

Marian Blazes
Huancaína (wan-kay-eena) sauce is typically served over cold sliced potatoes in the famous Peruvian dish Papa a la Huancaína. Made with aji amarillo peppers, it is a versatile sauce that goes with many flavors.

8. Lima Bean Dip - Puré de Pallares

Marian Blazes

This hummus-like dip makes a great substitute for guacamole when avocados are scarce. It's delicious on nachos, spread on bread, or as a topping for a vegetable pizza. 

9. Savory Mango Sauce - Salsa de Mango

Marian Blazes
Mango sauce is an excellent accompaniment to chicken or fish. You could also use it as a basting glaze for grilling, or as a dipping sauce for empanadas or tequeños (fried cheese wantons).

10. Salsa de Maracuyá - Passion Fruit Sauce

This passion fruit sauce is one of my favorite recipes. It's easy to make and goes well with so many different dishes. Try it brushing over grilled chicken, and then serve the chicken with mango salsa and rice. It's excellent drizzled over tropical sushi rolls. You can also omit the garlic and use this as a dessert sauce.

11. Homemade Dulce de Leche - Rich Caramel Sauce

Marian Blazes
Dulce de Leche (also known as manjar, manjar blanco, and arequipe), is widely adored all over South America. It's in birthday cakes, ice cream, pastries, cookies and more. Dulce de leche is extremely versatile as a dessert ingredient, but it's just as delicious eaten plain with a spoon.
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