Salsa Verde Recipe, Made With Tomatillos - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Salsa Verde Recipe, Made With Tomatillos
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Salsa Verde Recipe, Made With Tomatillos

May is National Salsa Month. Most people think of salsa as red; but how about green salsa?

Some people think, logically, that salsa verde—green salsa—is made with green tomatoes (photo #1).

Actually, it’s made with tomatillos toe-mah-TEE-yoes, a distant cousin of the tomato, a green berry the size of a small cherry tomato. It grows covered in a papery husk (photo #3), like the cape gooseberry (a.k.a. ground cherry).

A tomatillo does look a bit like a little green tomato, but the comparison ends there. The tomatillo is naturally tart, compared with the sweetness of a tomato.

Both plants developed in Mexico, but they are not close cousins. Both are in the Nightshade family*, It’s not in the same genus as tomatoes, though both are in the nightshade family (along with eggplants and peppers).



Spanish for “green sauce,” salsa verde is made from a base of tomatillos, seasoned with chiles, cilantro and spices.

A salsa verde can be fresh or cooked. It is typically much thinner than a tomato-based salsa roja, and often used as a sauce instead of a dip.

  • 1-1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or white onion
  • Optional: 2 cloves garlic (more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 jalapeño peppers or serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped (for more heat, leave the seeds)
  • Salt to taste

    1. REMOVE the husks from the tomatillos. Rinse well and pat dry.

    2. BOIL the tomatillos. Place the tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the tomatillos with a slotted spoon and pulse in a blender with the other ingredients.

    3. SEASON to taste with salt. Chill in the fridge to let the flavors meld.

    4. SERVE as a dip with chips, or as a sauce for chicken, fish (photo #2), lamb, pork and vegetables (photo #3).


  • Ají Sauce (a favorite hot sauce in Ecuador and Peru)
  • Enchiladas Suizas
  • Gazpacho Verde
  • Green Bloody Mary With Tomatillos
  • Mexican Dip
  • Salsa
  • Tomatillo Guacamole
  • Tomatillo Guacamole With Roasted Corn
  • Tostadas

    [1] Ready to make salsa verde (photo © Empellon Taqueria)?

    Baked Salmon With Salsa Verde
    [2] Baked trout with salsa verde. Here’s the recipe (photos #2 and #3 © Good Eggs).

    [3] Drizzle salsa verde over roasted vegetables, or give everyone a ramekin of the sauce for dipping.


    *While both are members of the Nightshade family, Solanaceae, they have a different genus: Physalis for tomatillos (P. philadelphica) and Solanum for tomatoes (S. lycopersicum).


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