Spicy Tomatillo Salsa aka Salsa Verde – Recipe

Pan-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Green tomatillo salsa, aka salsa verde. Most people are familiar with it, but never make it. We think it only comes in jars or somehow magically appears at Mexican restaurants. It actually is ridiculously easy to do at home and tastes way better than the pre-packaged version. Once you've got it, you can serve it at the table with any Mexican dish or as a dip for tortillas, fry eggs in it, or use it as a sauce for enchiladas verde.

Let me introduce you to the tomatillo. You guys should be friends. You know, those green things that look like a tomato, usually in the "specialty produce" part of your grocery? Wrapped in a papery husk? Go buy 8 or 10 of them, around 1.5 pounds. You can thank me later.

The version of green salsa below uses a pan-roasting technique, but you can also boil the tomatillos whole, or oven roast, and you can optionally fry the finished sauce in some oil to deepen and intensify the flavors. I've gone for a pretty garlicky hit and medium heat, but you can certainly add other herbs (cilantro, epazote, oregano), or chipotles if you want a smoky spice, or just more serrranos or jalapenos for a biger kick.

Basic Pan-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
Yields about 2.5 cups

  • 1.5 pounds tomatillos, outer husks removed, rinsed, cut in half
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 3 to 6 serrano chilis, stems removed
  • 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Heat a large dry frying pan over medium-high flame. Add the tomatillos, garlic and chili peppers. Cook about 4 minutes on one side, then flip everthing and go another 4 minutes, until the tomatillos are quite soft. You can remove the chilis and garlic sooner if they are starting to burn.
  2. Puree the vegetables along with the onion, salt and olive oil in a blender for several minutes.
  3. Strain and serve. How easy was that?
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, July 27th, 2009 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Sauces and Condiments, Vegan or Modifiable.

7 Responses to “Spicy Tomatillo Salsa aka Salsa Verde – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    July 27, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    That there is a lovely green salsa. I am jonesing for spicy Mexican food since returning from 2 weeks in Ireland, so I’ll be sure to give it a try. Thanks!

  2. Reply
    July 27, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    I’ve been meaning to make salsa because I’ve had wicked cravings for Mexican food lately, but I don’t think I’ll be able to find tomatillos here. I’ll definitely save this recipe for when I’m back in California

  3. Reply
    July 29, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    I like mine chunky, so your recipe it is for the next Mexican dinner 🙂 a tad chunkier!

  4. Reply
    August 12, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    love how easy this is! perfect for summer…. great blog, i enjoyed perusing through!

  5. Reply
    September 8, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    Mexican food lovers like me should really try this one. I am doing some canning salsa recipes myself and I have to say this one is a must try! Happy cooking! Thanks.

  6. Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    I am a huge mexican food fanatic living in California, so trying new salsa verde recipes is a must!! I added more chilies, and really tailored it to me, so Thanks a bunch ;P

  7. Reply
    December 20, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    just finding this at the end of 2016… so sad! think of all the awesome salsa verde i could have been having from my own kitchen and not a store jar! just made this today for some carne asada tacos tonight (only used half the garlic – my bf isnt the biggest garlic fan, and jalaps instead – my grocer didnt have any serrano in stock) and i am so excited! it is DELICIOUS! thank you so much

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