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Tomatillo salsa is a great addition to your tacos. Tangy and bright, tomatillo salsa is also excellent as a cooking sauce for meats.
Have you ever tried making tomatillo salsa? You might know it as salsa verde, and it’s tangy and tart when compared to most red salsas.
Whether you use it for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or simply for dipping chips, tomatillo salsa is something that you should have in your recipe repertoire. Plus, it’s actually quite easy to make.
what are tomatillos?
Tomatillos are similar to tomatoes in shape, however, they are covered in a thin papery husk as they grow. They stay green when ripe rather than turning red, and are more firm with less of a watery interior.
Tomatillos are native to Mexico, which is why you often see them Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking. The husks that cover them are easy to peel off, although a sticky film often remains behind. Be sure to wash that off before eating.
how to grow tomatillos
Tomatillos are quite easy to grow, and can be as prolific as tomatoes in the garden. There’s one thing to remember: plant at least two!
Unlike tomatoes, tomatillos are not self-pollinating plants. If you only plant one tomatillo in your yard, you’ll have plenty of pretty flowers, but no fruit will set. (Unless your neighbor also happens to have a tomatillo plant!)
Be sure to use a tomato cage or stake your tomatillo plants, as they can get quite large, and need support to hold the weight of the fruit.
Remove excess new branch growth (“suckers”) before they get too big. This will help the plant divert more energy to the fruit rather than extra branches.
Harvest the tomatillos when they are firm and the papery husks start to crack. Store them with the husks, then remove and wash tomatillos when ready to use.
how to make tomatillo salsa
To make tomatillo salsa, you only need a few ingredients. For this recipe I use 1 pound of tomatillos (you can easily double the recipe). Keep in mind that the size of tomatilllos can vary, though they are generally golf ball size. One pound can be quite a lot!
You’ll also need onion, jalapeño, lime juice, spices, and cilantro. Even if you’re not a cilantro fan, it’s a necessary ingredient in a lot of Tex-Mex cooking. Fortunately, the “soapy” flavor is masked by the rest of the ingredients.
Tomatillo salsa is typically less spicy than red salsa, although you can always add more heat if you prefer. I keep mine somewhat mild because my kids are salsa fiends.
Simmer the ingredients together until softened, then purée to your liking. We like ours fairly smooth so it can be used for tacos, enchiladas, or added to stew.
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse off sticky film. Chop tomatillos and put into a sauté pan with high sides set to medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and salt, and stir well to combine. Let mixture simmer for 15 minutes, until juices have released from tomatillos and they are softened.
- Carefully pour salsa into a blender or food processor and pulse to chop. (Remember to vent at the top to release steam!)
- Return salsa to sauté pan and stir in cilantro. Continue to simmer until thickened, then remove from heat.
- Pour into reusable jars, and let cool before storing in the refrigerator.