Tangy, refreshing salsa verde and some crisp chips. What could be better? It's addictingly good and easy to make (in about 20 minutes). You'll never buy store salsa verde again. And there's more you can do with this vibrant salsa besides serving it with crisp chips. I've got tasty ideas for you at the end.
My greatness weakness, who can resist chips and salsa. It's so much better when you make fresh salsa. No preservatives, no additives, just terrific healthy flavor. If you've had it at Mexican restaurants, it's time to make it at home and skip the store-bought versions.
Why You'll Like This Recipe
- Fresh ingredients means tangy fresh flavor.
- You control the heat level (with the jalapeños).
- It's for more than chips and salsa!
- If you love Mexican food, you'll love this easy salsa verde recipe. It's a classic in Mexican cuisine.
For another colorful, flavorful salsa recipe, try this tropical pineapple mango salsa.
- Tomatillos: Looking like small green tomatoes, what you'll find most at the grocery stores is green tomatillos, but they come in yellow and purple as well.
- Onion: Buy white onion, brown or yellow onion. White onion is traditional for salsa and mild.
- Jalapeño peppers: Choose smooth, dark green jalapeños. They come in different sizes, from small to large. You never know how hot a chili is going to be but jalapeños are not usually super hot.
- Anaheim chile pepper: Not traditional for salsa verde but adds volume, lovely green color, texture and garden flavor. They are a mild pepper, so no worries if you are heat sensitive (so am I). If you can't find them, skip it and make the salsa anyway.
- Cilantro: The got-to-have fresh herb for Mexican recipes and salsa. See substitutions.
- Fresh lime juice: Adds bright flavor and acidity to salsa.
Please see recipe card for measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
- If you don't like cilantro, substitute fresh flat-leaf parsley.
- To add healthy fat, add a couple teaspoons of olive oil, lime olive oil is a terrific addition.
- If it's too tangy (acidic) or borderline sour, add a pinch of sugar or granular monk fruit.
- For a raw green salsa, skip the broiling, roughly chop the tomatillos, then puree.
- If you love spicier salsa, use two jalapeños or a hotter chili pepper like serrano peppers.
Set-up: Position the oven rack on the second from the top level and pre-heat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (for an easy way to clean up). Peel the papery husk and wash your tomatillos (they are sticky). Ready your food processor (or blender).
Step 1: Cut tomatillos in half, chop the onion, peppers and cilantro. Finely chop or zest the garlic (I use a microplane zester). Slice chilies in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and chop fine.
Step 2: Place tomatillos cut side down on the baking sheet. Broil the tomatillos until there are browned areas on the skins, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool until you can handle them.
Chef's Tip: The heat in chilies is not in the seeds as commonly thought, but in the white inner membranes. To reduce the heat in hot chili peppers, remove the membrane by slicing it out with a paring knife.
Step 3: Add tomatillos to the food processor along with the onions, garlic, cilantro, chilies, salt, and lime juice. No food processor? Use a blender.
Step 4: Puree until it reaches the texture you desire, from chunky to smooth using short pulses. Salsa verde is ready to serve! If it's too juicy, strain briefly for thicker salsa.
Chef's Tip: Dry herbs cut much better than wet ones, so wash your fresh herbs ahead of time and dry well before chopping, especially soft leafy herbs like cilantro and parsley.
Chips and salsa goes without saying, but try this green salsa recipe:
- Along side grilled shrimp.
- Atop fresh fish.
- With grilled flank steak.
- With scrambled, poached, or fried eggs.
- In tacos of any kind, like these shrimp tacos, even breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs topped with this verde sauce.
In terms of serving temperature, room temperature salsa provides the best flavor. Salsa verde lasts in the refrigerator 4-5 days in an airtight container (but it won't last that long, trust me). If you don't use it all, freeze it. The texture will change but it still tastes good or can be further pureed.
If you have a problem with nightshades, this won't work for you as tomatillos are part of that family. If you manage histamine intolerance, this should be safe, whereas red salsa is not (tomatoes).
While chips and salsa is a classic combination, salsa verde is great spooned over fish and seafood and as a side sauce for grilled meats. Try it with scrambled, poached or fried eggs eggs, it's delicious. It's also a nice alternative to red sauce for Huevos Rancheros.
Salsa can be cooked or raw. Raw is called salsa cruda, like a fresh pico de gallo (the traditional fresh red tomato salsa). If the recipe calls for broiling or roasting the tomatillos and you want a raw recipe, just use them raw and skip any cooking.
The color and main ingredient. Salsa is traditionally a red salsa (salsa roja) made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, lime and likely cilantro. Green salsa verde switches out red tomatoes for green tomatillos. Tomatillos are not little green tomatoes but a different fruit with a tart, almost citrusy taste. Both salsa are delicious.
More Mexican-inspired Recipes
Love tomatillos? Here are a few more tomatillo recipe possibilities. And what to serve with them? How about a real Mexican Caesar salad with the best creamy homemade caesar dressing.
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Salsa Verde (tomatillo salsa)
- Food Processor or blender
- Disposable kitchen gloves optional
- 2 pounds green tomatillos about 15
- ½ cup chopped white onion about ½ an onion
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers
- ½ Anaheim pepper optional
- ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves ½ a bunch
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
- Pre-heat the broiler and position the oven rack on the second level down from the top, about 4" below the top. Line a half sheet size rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Peel the papery husks from the tomatillos and wash off the sticky outer film. Cut the tomatillos in half and lay them cut side down on the baking sheet. Broil the tomatillos until there are browned, lightly charred areas on the tops, about 5 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and cool.
- Chop the peppers. Slice off the tops then slice them lengthwise. Shake out the seeds and slice out the inner white membrane. Cut the pieces into long thin strips and chop them crosswise.
Make the salsa verde
- Add everything to the food processor and using short pulses, refine the salsa, about 24 pulses. Don't puree completely to retain texture (unless you want to). For a thicker salsa, drain over a bowl through a strainer briefly then serve. If you don't have a food processor, use a blender.
MICHELLE KISSEL says
Gonna try this soon! Love the sub for Italian parsley. 🙂 I was thinking add some cooked, shredded pork and make it's a meal with some rice or tortillas!
Sally Cameron says
Thanks a terrific idea Michelle! Sounds delish!