Salsa Verde is a delicious addition many Mexican dishes and is equally amazing on its own. Its bright fresh taste will convince you to never reach for the store-bought salsa again. This awesome Salsa Verde is from Grits and Pinecones’ Salsa Verde Chicken Enchilada post. It’s just in time for Cinco de Mayo!
Since I had never had Salsa Verde before, I decided to first try the store-bought version. It was absolutely awful! However, I plowed ahead with Grits and Pinecones’ recipe. Boy am I glad that I did!
The Star of the Show – Tomatillo
Tomatillos are the star of Salsa Verde. You might think that tomatillos are baby green tomatoes. Not so. Even though tomatillo translates to “little tomato” it is a totally different fruit. Tomatillos tend to be more tart than green tomatoes and do not turn red as they ripen.
Tomatillos are sometimes referred to a the Mexican husk tomato because of the dry, leafy husk that surrounds the fruit. That dry, leafy husk is easily removed revealing a bright green fruit. The bright green fruit, however, is covered in a sticky residue. The residue is the fruit’s natural defense against insects. It contains chemicals that repel the insects. Before using the tomatillos, it’s a good idea to rinse the residue off.
Ingredients for Salsa Verde
I used the following ingredients for this delicious salsa: Tomatillos, jalapeño peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, ground cumin, salt and fresh lime juice. I also decided to add a teaspoon of granulated sugar to cut down on the tartness of the Salsa Verde.
Roasting the Vegetables for the Salsa Verde
I started by preparing the vegetables. First, I peeled the husk off of the tomatillos and rinsed them well to remove the sticky residue. Then, I cut them into quarters and placed them on a foil lined baking sheet.
Next, I cut the jalapeños in half and scooped out the membrane and seeds. The membrane and seeds contain the main heat of the jalapeño peppers. I thought that just the peppers would produce enough heat, at least for me. Once I had prepared the jalapeños, I placed the halves on the foil lined baking sheet along with the tomatillos.
After that, I peeled the onion and cut it into quarters. I placed the onion quarters on the same foil lined baking sheet.
Finally, I peeled the garlic cloves and placed them on the baking sheet.
I roasted the vegetables in a preheated 400° F oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, I removed the vegetables from the oven and let them cool for about 15 minutes.
Making the Salsa Verde
Once the vegetables had been roasted and cooled, I placed them in my food processor fitted with a steel blade. Then I added the cilantro, ground cumin, salt, sugar and fresh lime juice.
I pulse processed the salsa about 12 times. After 12 times, the salsa was perfect for me – still a bit chunky. You could certainly process it further to produce a less chunky salsa.
I thought that the salsa was a bit too watery for my taste. Therefore, I transferred it to a wire mesh strainer to strain off some of the liquid. I knew that some of the liquid was the lime juice that I had added, so I was careful not to strain off too much of the liquid.
The Salsa Verde was amazing right after it was made. It was even better after being refrigerated to allow the flavors to blend together. Thank you Grits and Pinecones for an awesome recipe!
If you like tomato based salsa, you should check out my post on Restaurant Style Salsa. Also, if you want ideas for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, you should check out my Cinco de Mayo Roundup featuring my recipes as well as Grits and Pinecones’ recipes. Ole!
Salsa Verde (from Grits and Pinecones)
- 2 pounds tomatillos, husk removed, rinsed well and quartered (See Tips 1 and 2)
- 3 jalapeño peppers, cut in half; membrane and seeds removed (See Tip 3)
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar - optional (See Tip 4)
- ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped (See Tip 5)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, about 1 lime
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil; set aside.
- Place quartered tomatillos, jalapeños that have been cut in half with membrane and seeds removed, quartered onion and peeled garlic on prepared baking sheet.
- Roast vegetables for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
- When the vegetables have cooled, add them to a food processor fitted with a steel blade along with cumin, salt, sugar, cilantro and the lime juice. Pulse process about 10-15 times, or until the salsa is well combined but still slightly chunky. (See Tip 6)
- Transfer to covered container and refrigerate.
- Serve with tortilla chips or use in your favorite Mexican recipe. Yield: About 3 cups.
Chula's Expert Tips
- The sticky residue on the tomatillo is a chemical compound that protects the fruit from insects. Before using the tomatillo, rinse well to remove the residue.
- The greener the tomatillo, the more tart it is. Avoid tomatillos that have turned yellow because they will be past their prime.
- The major part of the heat of jalapeños comes from their membrane and seeds. If you want a really hot Salsa Verde, include some of the membrane and/or seeds.
- Because of the tartness of the tomatillos, the Salsa Verde will likely be tart. You can cut down on the tartness by adding a small amount of sugar. I like to add a teaspoon. However, taste the salsa and decide whether you feel that the tartness needs to be cut down a bit.
- Cilantro is one of those things that people either love or hate. If you're in the camp that hates cilantro, then use Italian parsley in place of it.
- If your Salsa Verde is more liquidy that you would like, you can strain off some of the liquid by transferring it to a wire mesh strainer.