Few dishes scream summer like fresh homemade salsas such as pico de gallo or green tomatillo salsa. While salsa’s often have similar flavors, tomatillo salsa is unique in that it’s not made with tomatoes. Tomatillos aren’t tomatoes at all even though they look so similar. They are in fact more closely related to gooseberries!
The best thing about this salsa is that you can whip it up in minutes if you have all of the ingredients. By using a blender or food processor you can get a very fine texture like many tomatillo salsa or chile verdes without all of the hassle of hand chopping like you would for a pico de gallo. Add this easy to make salsa to any table for immediate variety that goes well with most meals!
In this recipe, I show you how to make raw, tangy tomatillo salsa first and then you can decide if you want to cook down the salsa for a milder, sweeter version. The beauty of this recipe is that you can make your decision about how you prefer your salsa (cooked or raw) as you make it!
Makes about two cups of salsa at roughly 70 calories total or 2 calories per tablespoon.
- 5 – 6 Tomatillos (about 55 – 66 calories)
- 1/2 cup very loosely packed cilantro (2 calories)
- 1/8 Vidalia onion finely diced (about 4 calories)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or 1/2 teaspoon depending on taste)
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped (try one first and if you want more add another – about 5 calories per clove)
- Optional: 1/2 Jalapeno or 1/2 Serrano Pepper (hotter than a Jalapeno) roughly chopped without seeds (about 1 calorie)
- Blender or food processor
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Cup, and teaspoon measurements
- Small bowl
- Peel the husks off of the tomatillos and rinse them off under cold water until they are no longer sticky.
- Quarter or roughly chop all of the tomatillos.
- Place them in your blender or food processor.
- Roughly chop the jalapeno or serrano pepper and make sure to remove the seeds. The seeds are where a lot of the heat resides, so aside from being hard, they’re not too fun to eat. Then toss them in the blender as well.
- Chop your garlic clove and add it to the blender. If you want more garlic after you taste the salsa, just add another clove. Be careful though because raw garlic is very powerful and can really overpower the whole salsa.
- Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to the blender along with the salt.
- Blend everything up starting slowly and then working up to a full blend. You don’t want to liquefy the salsa, so don’t overdo it, but make sure everything is mixed very well.
- At this point finely dice your 1/8 onion and add it to the blender. The reason you don’t blend the onion right away is that if the onion liquefies, that’s all you will taste. You want to mix in the finely diced onion without going overboard with the blender. Blend everything together so that the onion is mixed in, but not pulverized.
- Pour out the salsa into a small bowl and scrap down the sides of the blender or food processor with a spoon. At this point you have a ready to eat raw tomatillo salsa. It should taste relatively tangy or a little tart all on its own. If you want a little bit more zing, you can mix in a teaspoon of lime juice, but I don’t feel like it needs it.
- If, after tasting the raw salsa, everything tastes a little too bright or fresh for you, then there is a way to tone down the salsa. This is an especially good trick if you added too much garlic or onion. Basically, you just need to simmer the salsa on low heat for about 20 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will cook the salsa and blend a lot of those strong flavors together. The salsa will turn from tangy to a bit sweeter. This sweeter salsa is great for making stewed or baked dishes like chile verde meats.
- Enjoy it with chips, in tacos, over burritos, or use it to stew chicken, pork, or as a sauce for baking.