Salsa Verde (tomatillo sauce)

This salsa verde (tomatillo sauce) is a staple in Mexican cuisine. Bright, with a delicious herb-ish flavor and very simple to make. This is the ultimate salsa for your taco night!

This delicious tomatillo green chili salsa (also called salsa verde taquera) is perfect to serve alongside with burritos, tacos or to use to make other Mexican dishes. So simple to make that you’re never going back to the store-bought version.

Mexican salsa verde (tomatillo sauce) on jars with some ingredients scattered.

A precious cargo

Last April I went to California again, and as I’ve already told you before, there I find almost all the mexican products that I cannot find here, specially the fresh ones, like chilies and tomatillos.

So risking from being publicly humiliated by the immigration officials in Italy; I brought back my luggage full of fresh chili peppers and tomatillos. Fortunately, they didn’t check my bags so this happy Mexican arrived home with a shipment of fresh produce and my clothes smelling like poblano peppers.

So, once the euphoria of finding myself safe and sound and not having been imprisoned for “trafficking” Mexican peppers was over; I find myself with the dilemma of how to use my precious cargo. Sauces? Marinades? Freeze? Stews? useeverythinganddontfreakingcare!! – Ok…I’ll make a tomatillo salsa recipe.

Salsa verde on a jar.

What is salsa verde?

The salsa verde, a.k.a tomatillo sauce, is a staple in the Mexican kitchens. A sauce made with fresh tomatillo, green chilies and cilantro which is used in different preparations or to accompany other dishes.

Among the dishes that can be prepared with this delicious sauce, the scrumptious green chilaquiles are for sure on the top, or the creamy Enchiladas Suizas (green enchilada casserole) are also a favorite.

While the same sauce is perfect to accompany some of the most popular mexican dishes like tacos dorados, burritos or steak fajitas.

What is tomatillo?

Tomatillo, also know as husk or green tomato, is a fruit very similar in its use to the tomato that we all know, but with a different appearance and flavor. This fruit is originally from Mexico and is used both cooked and raw in the preparation of sauces or salads.

They looks like a tomato miniature in green color that is wrapped in a leafy husk with a paper-like texture. Tomatillos have a less sweet flavour and slightly more acidic than ripe and unripe tomatoes. Overall, the flavor is more herb-ish and the inside texture is more dense.

How to store tomatillo sauce

As a mexican, I have made salsa verde several times in my life and since I am living overseas I had to come out with ideas about how to store it. So, those below are the ones that have worked for me so far:

  • In sterilized jars. Once the sauce is prepared in a large quantity, I like to fill in some small jars. In this article you can see the correct way to sterilize jars and use them to preserve foods. – From 6 to 8 months
  • Frozen in zip-lock bags. This is an option that allows me to make small portions and freeze them for later use, simply by thawing the amount that I will need. 3-4 months
  • Frozen in cubes. As if they were ice cubes, I fill the molds and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, I remove the cubes and transfer them to a zipper bag and that’s it. 3-4 months
  • In the refridgerator. And of course, if I make a small amount and want to enjoy it in the incoming days, I just place it in the fridge in a covered container. 3-4 days

The ingredients

TOMATILLOS – In this tomatillo sauce recipe I have used fresh tomatillos since – as you have read above – I brought them from my last trip. But I have also made this sauce before using canned tomatillos and frozen tomatillos. In Amazon and other Latin American product stores you can find large cans of tomatillos ready to use and that don’t need to be cooked. Below are the instructions how to use those and the frozen ones in case you don’t have fresh tomatillos.

GREEN CHILLIES – In Mexico this tomatillo green chili salsa is made by using serrano or jalapeño chili pepper. If you live outside the country you can use any kind of hot green chili you can find. For example, thai peppers that are very similar to Mexican green chilies.

CILANTRO – There is no tomatillo sauce without cilantro. If you can’t find fresh cilantro, you can use a teaspoon of powdered coriander seeds to flavor the sauce and a few parsley leaves to add the nice green color.

ONION – I don’t always put it on and it’s not necessary (imho), but it helps balance the sour taste of tomatoes, so is up to you.

SALT AND GARLIC – Those are the only two ingredients that I use to “flavor” the sauce since I like it to taste like tomatillo and not spices. Not cumin, not pepper, not weirds mexican spices mix whatsoever.

Salsa verde ingredients.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde | Step by Step

The ingredient list is below, in the recipe card

Place tomatillos and chilies in a pot, cover them with water and cook them until they are tender (about 10 minutes). Remove them from the water and let everything cool down for about 10 minutes. Reserve the cooking water.

  • If you use canned tomatillos, is not necessary to cook them. Just add them to the blender along with the cooked chilies.
  • If you use frozen tomatillos that have already been cooked, you should only thaw them and add them to the blender with the other ingredients.
  • If you use fresh frozen tomatillos you have to defrost them first and then cook them as indicated in the recipe.
Boiled tomatillos and chili peppers.

Place the garlic, half the cilantro (including the stems), half the chillies and a pinch of salt. Pour one cup of water and blend on high for half a minute.

Add the other half of the cilantro, onion, tomatillos and cooked chilies and blend until you get the desired consistency for your sauce.

The sauce blended inside the blender.

Adjust salt to taste, transfer the sauce to a bowl or jar, depending how you’re going to store.

Notas:

  • The amount of chilies is to taste, you can add less or even more, depending on how spicy you’d like your sauce.
  • If you don’t have onion or don’t want to use it, you can add a pinch of sugar to balance the sour taste of the sauce.
  • The first blending with the garlic and cilantro and chili peppers helps it to blend perfectly the garlic and not have small bites in the sauce (which many people don’t like), the second blend is to make the sauce of the desired consistency.
  • You can also prepare the sauce in a molcajete or mortar instead of the blender.

Salsa Verde (tomatillo sauce)

This tomatillo salsa recipe is a delicious mexican green sauce prepared with tomatillo, green chilies and cilantro, it has a bright green color and a slightly acidic, herb-ish flavor.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 10 minutes
TOTAL 30 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 6 cups

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 lb tomatillo (husks removed)
  • ½ lb serrano peppers (or any green hot chilli pepper)
  • ½ cup onions (cut in chunks)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt

Instructions

  • Place tomatoes and chilies in a pot, cover them with water and cook them until they are completely tender (about 10 minutes).
  • Take them out of the water and let everything cool down for about 10 minutes. Reserve the cooking water.
  • Place the garlic, half the cilantro (including the stems), half the chillies and a pinch of salt. Pour one cup of water and blend on high for half a minute.
  • Add the other half of the cilantro, onion, tomatillos and cooked chilies and blend until you get the desired consistency for your sauce.
    Salsa verde on a blender.
  • Adjust salt to taste, transfer the sauce to a bowl or jar, depending how you’re going to store.

notes

  • The amount of chilies is to taste, you can add less or even more, depending on how spicy you’d like your sauce.
  • If you don’t have onion or don’t want to use it, you can add a pinch of sugar to balance the sour taste of the sauce.
  • The first blending with the garlic and cilantro and chili peppers helps it to blend perfectly the garlic and not have small bites in the sauce (which many people don’t like), the second blend is to make the sauce of the desired consistency.
  • You can also prepare the sauce in a molcajete or mortar instead of the blender.
Nutrition
Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 628mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1106IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg
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