Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa – Recipe

Avocado Tomatillo Salsa
Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

Many years ago. Gulp. More than two decades ago, when I lived in the Bay Area, I would visit friends in the Mission District of San Francisco and inevitably eat at one of the great neighborhood taquerias. Many of them keep little jars of an avocado-based salsa on the tables, to add a little creamy drizzle on your taco or burrito, or just for dipping tortilla chips. This is my version of that sauce, which I like a little bit thicker and amped up with some heat and spice.

I used these gigantic Reed avocados from ChefShop.com. They are easily twice the size of a regular Hass avocado, and smooth, buttery and sweet. You can of course make the recipe with Hass avocados, but if you have the opportunity to try the Reeds, I think you’ll love them. Peter and Bonnie Herman grow them down in California on enormous old trees, and they are something very special.

And yes, by the way, my links to ChefShop are affiliate links. I’m proud to promote what Tim & Eliza are doing: bringing incredible ingredients to cooks and supporting small farmers and artisanal producers. While you are at it, you should sign up for the ChefShop.com newsletter. They are always packed with fascinating information and products you can’t find anywhere else.

The dry-roasting method for preparing the tomatillo, jalapeno, garlic, and shallot is very traditional in Mexican cuisine. It takes some of the harsh edge off of the raw flavors while introducing more complexity and sweetness. The garlic I used is also from ChefShop – a nice hardneck variety grown on Whidbey Island, not far from Seattle. You may also be able to find hardneck garlic at your local farmer’s market. The flavors are better than the softneck varieties that are typically grown in China and imported to the US.

Jalapenos vary widely in their heat level, so be sure and taste before committing on how much to use.

Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free

  • 2 large, 3 medium, or 6 small tomatillos, husked
  • 4 cloves garlic, skin on
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (more or less, depending on preference and heat level)
  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 1/2 Reed avocado or 1 Hass avocado, pitted and scooped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Put a small skillet over medium high heat. Without using any oil, add the tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno and shallot and dry roast, turning occasionally, until there are many black spots on the vegetables, about 5 minutes.
  2. Put the tomatillos and shallot in your blender jar. Peel the garlic and add it to the blender. Halve, seed, and stem the jalapeno and add it to the blender.
  3. Add the avocado, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, and salt. Process on high speed until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning – it may need more lime juice or salt. If it needs more heat, judiciously add cayenne or any chili powder you prefer.


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Posted by Michael Natkin on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Sauces and Condiments, Vegan or Modifiable.

15 Responses to “Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    I just started making tomatillo sauce and now we’re adding avocados?! My life is complete. I like the dry roasting method too. My recipe was different so I’m looking forward to trying this out.

  2. Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    I’ve never cooked avocado. The only way I used it before was adding it to my salads. I’m sure it’s delicious. I’ll try it. Thanks!

  3. Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    The Mission does have the best taquerias in the entire state, doesn’t it? 🙂 This salsa sounds wonderful!

    • Reply
      ted mosby
      June 5, 2013 at 10:21 am #

      The Mission does seem to be the best in the Bay Area, but noboby north of San Diego can make great mexican food (sorry LA).

  4. Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Hi Michael! How timely is it that I open my reader and see this delicious recipe while trying to locate your arroz verde recipe. I’ve been a silent observer of the blog for a few months, but have been keeping up with all your cool news – and I *finally* just ordered your book. Loved the chaat post (rice crackers! brilliance!)

  5. Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    This salsa would be perfect for my eggplants (come see it), mmm, I can taste it! Or I can eat this salsa with a spoon, really: love avocado in salsa! Thanks for the great resource ChefShop.

  6. Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    My most favorite Mexican food cart in Portland has an avocado tomatillo salsa that is absolutely worthy of drinking straight from bottle. I’m excited to make it at home!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

      What food cart might that be Michelle? I don’t get to food carts much, as I don’t live in the city, but would love a recommendation!

  7. Reply
    September 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    I’ve done something similar to this quite a few times, and it’s wonderful and easy. I typically use the broiler. I even cut the limes in half and broil them before juicing. It’s also great with a poblano tossed into the mix.

    I don’t usually use garlic though. I’ll have to try that next time!

  8. Reply
    September 30, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Wow we really like the look of this one. We’re going to try it tomorrow.

  9. Reply
    October 1, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Michael, this looks delicious. I love the avocado salsa at the local taquerias, but since many of them include dairy, I usually have to avoid them. Not this time! 🙂

  10. Reply
    October 8, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    how long does this salsa last in once it’s made

    • Reply
      October 8, 2012 at 7:35 am #

      I would say it would only be at its best for a day or so, but it should be safe to eat for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator.

  11. Reply
    February 25, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Very good! Thank you so much 😀

  12. Reply
    Sarah P.
    February 14, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

    This was amazing! I made it tonight to serve over arepas with beans and pico. I broiled the veggies and added the juice from just one lime, but those were the only changes I made, and the end result was delicious! Thank you!

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