If you are looking to spice up your salsa repertoire, this delicious tomatillo avocado salsa is a simple but impressive replacement—or addition—to your typical dips for chips.
The roasted tomatillos add a unique tangy flavor to the creamy avocado base, and the heat from the jalapeños and serrano peppers gives this salsa an elevated taste.
How to Make Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
Like traditional guacamole, tomatillo avocado salsa has a base of fresh avocados, cilantro, garlic, onions, and lime but it takes a zesty spin when the roasted tomatillos, serrano peppers, and jalapeños are added in. This salsa uses minimal oil and no cream, so it's vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
While this salsa may sound complex, it all comes together in a few simple steps. For the signature roasted flavor, the peppers can be seared on the grill, under the broiler, or over the stove, then tossed into a food processor with the rest of the mix and blended into a spicy avocado salsa that's as chunky or smooth as you wish.
Tomatillos, Also Known As Husk Tomatoes
- Tomatillos, also known as husk tomatoes, are a small, green fruit wrapped in a thin, papery husk native to Mexico and Central America.
- Although tomatillos are related and resemble tomatoes, they have a dense and dry texture inside with a sour taste similar to green apples or limes. However, when cooked, the flavor of the tomatillo sweetens.
- In the United States, you can typically find fresh tomatillos from June through September at your local Hispanic or Latin American grocery store or farmer's markets.
- When shopping for ripe tomatillos, look for ones with a deep green hue that feels firm to the touch and has grown out of its husk. Fresh tomatillos can be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Before cooking with tomatillos, you'll want to remove the inedible husks entirely, then rinse the fruit under warm water to remove any waxy residue.
How to Choose a Ripe Avocado
At the heart of this spicy salsa is fresh avocado, the cool and creamy fruit. For the most vibrant and flavorful dip, you want to reach for perfectly ripe avocados.
Look for avocados with a dark green, bumpy rind, an easy-to-remove stem that feels soft but not mushy when touched. Try to avoid light green or heavily bruised avocados as these could have over or overripe surprises on the inside.
Tips for Making Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
- There are a few ways to cook tomatillos and peppers, but roasting makes them more flavorful. Roast them over an open flame outside on the grill or inside on a gas range. You can blacken them under the broiler, blistered in a pan, or charred with a kitchen torch.
- When handling fresh jalapeno and serrano peppers, wear disposable gloves to protect your skin from the oils.
- If you prefer a chunkier salsa, purée the peppers, then dice the rest of the veggies by hand and combine.
Simple Salsa Swaps and Substitutions
- For the tanginess of tomatillo without the spice, you can leave the serrano and jalapeño peppers out of the recipe.
- For milder heat, keep the serrano and jalapeño peppers but make sure to remove the seeds and ribs from inside the peppers after roasting.
- For a spicier salsa, you can skip the pepper roasting step for a more intense flavor.
- If you can't find fresh tomatillos or serrano peppers, check the international section of your grocery for them in a can or jar. Just drain them before blending and save the liquid to adjust the consistency and spice of the salsa if needed.
- Drop a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt in the mix to cool down the heat or make a creamier dip.
- Try different textures and flavors by tossing in a handful of diced tomatoes, mangos, or pineapples to the mix.
Spicy Ways to Serve Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
This vibrant green salsa is the perfect dip for veggies and chips and terrific on top of all types of Mexican cuisine, but it also can be used to spice up all sorts of dishes from breakfast to dinner and anything in between.
- Spice up your morning and add a scoop of salsa to your scrambled eggs, veggie frittata, or green shakshuka.
- Spread this salsa over a piece of crusty bread for more tasty avocado toast.
- Serve it as a sauce with steaks, grilled salmon, chicken, or even sushi.
How to Store Leftover Salsa
For the best flavors and texture, you'll want to serve this tomatillo avocado salsa when it's fresh. However, you can prepare it a few hours ahead in an airtight container and refrigerate it until ready to serve.
The acidity of the tomatillos and lime will slow oxidization, keeping the avocados from browning as fast, but any leftover salsa should be used within 3 days.
More Spicy Salsa Recipes
Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
8 fresh tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
1 serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 small lime, juiced
1/8 teaspoon cumin
2 medium ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
1 medium white onion, chopped
Preheat the broiler on high:
Position a rack 5 to 7 inches from the top heating element.
Prep the tomatillos:
Slice the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet with the serrano peppers, jalapeño peppers, and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Broil the tomatillos:
Broil the tomatillos, serrano peppers, jalapeño peppers, and garlic until they begin to char, about 5 minutes. Turn them over and broil the other side, occasionally flipping until blackened all over and the tomatillos have turned a dark green, an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the roasted pepper skins:
Transfer the tomatillos, serrano, jalapeño peppers to a plastic bag, seal and allow to steam for about 10 minutes. Once the skins have loosened, gently peel them away and discard. For a milder salsa, also remove the ribs and seeds from the inside of the peppers.
Blend the ingredients:
Add the cooled roasted tomatillos, peppers, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, salt, and black pepper, to taste, in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Scrape the sides of the blender down with a spatula if necessary.
Add the avocado, and raw onions, and process until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
Serve and store:
Serve salsa immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||5%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 10mg||52%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|