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Tomatillo Salsa Verde

3 methods for making homemade Tomatillo Salsa Verde, a delicious Mexican green salsa made with roasted tomatillos, chile peppers, lime juice, cilantro, and onion.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Elise Bauer

Growing up we always had a choice of two kinds of salsa—a red tomato salsa which we made from scratch, and a salsa verde, or green salsa, which we got from a bottle (Victoria brand).

As a kid I always thought that green salsa was made from green tomatoes, but actually it is made with a distant relative of the tomato from Mexico, the naturally tart tomatillo (pronounced "toe-mah-TEE-yo"). A tomatillo looks like a little green tomato covered with a husk. It's not in the same genus as tomatoes, though both are in the nightshade family (along with eggplants and peppers).

Tomatillos for making homemade salsa verde
Elise Bauer

Salsa verde is really easy to make from scratch, all you need are tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro.

To make the salsa verde, you will need to cook the tomatillos, which you can do by either boiling them, broiling them in the oven, or pan roasting them. All three approaches are quick and easy, though with broiling or pan roasting, you get added flavor from the searing of the tomatillos.

Then it's a quick spin in the blender with the other ingredients, easy!

how to make Salsa Verde
Elise Bauer

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Yields 3 cups
To cook the tomatillos, you can either roast them in the oven, brown them on the stovetop, or boil them. Roasting in the oven or browning on the stovetop will deliver more flavor. Each way works, though boiling is a more common way to cook the tomatillos. Garlic is optional. You can either cook a few cloves with the tomatillos in any of these steps, or add one or two raw garlic cloves when you go to blend the salsa.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves (or more) garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers OR 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped (you can use whole for more heat if you want)
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well
  2. 3 ways to cook the tomatillos
    2a Oven Roasting Method

    Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Add a few garlic cloves in their skin (if using) Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skins of the tomatillos.

    roast tomatillos for making homemade salsa verde
    Elise Bauer
    roasted tomatillos for homemade salsa verde
    Elise Bauer
    2b Pan Roasting Method

    Coat the bottom of a skillet with a little vegetable oil. Heat on high heat. Place the tomatillos in the pan and sear on one side, then flip over and brown on the other side. Remove from heat.

    pan roast tomatillos for salsa verde
    Elise Bauer
    brown the tomatillos in a skillet for salsa verde
    Elise Bauer
    2c Boiling Method

    Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon.

  3. Pulse in blender

    Place the cooked tomatillos, lime juice, onions, garlic (if using), cilantro, chili peppers in a blender or food processor and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.

    pulse tomatillos and salsa ingredients in a blender for salsa verde
    Elise Bauer
    blend salsa verde ingredients
    Elise Bauer
  4. Season to taste with salt.

    Cool in refrigerator.

    Serve with chips or as a salsa accompaniment to Mexican dishes.

Links:

Botanical information on the tomatillo, from Purdue University

Salsa Verde Chicken Bake here on Simply Recipes

Grilled Tomatillo and Corn Salsa

Chile Verde

Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Elise Bauer