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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (a.k.a. green salsa or salsa verde) gets its rich, earthy flavor from roasting fresh tomatillos, onions, garlic, and jalapeño pepper on the grill until they are charred and softened.
Roasting and caramelizing the vegetables brings out their natural sugars to create an amazing depth of flavor in this simple salsa recipe.
Depending on your taste, this fresh homemade green salsa can be made with or without cilantro and also can be made spicy by leaving in the jalapeño seeds.
Not only does tomatillo salsa make a great accompaniment for chicken enchiladas, chicken tacos, nachos, and carnitas, it’s a delicious appetizer dip all on its own.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
While in Nashville recently, we made a quick side trip to the farmer’s market where I couldn’t resist buying a bag of tomatillos, or Mexican husk tomatoes. After that, I could barely wait to rush home to make Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.
One thing I learned in the process — thanks to my daughter — is how to properly pronounce “tomatillo”. You’ve heard the saying, “You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to”, but I was gently informed there is only one correct way to say to-ma-tee-yo! Kids!
What is a tomatillo anyway?
Commonly known as a Mexican husk tomato, tomatillos are green and covered with thin, papery husks. Like tomatoes, tomatillos are considered a fruit.
Tomatillos have a tart, acidic flavor and can be eaten raw. However, I recommend grilling or roasting tomatillos to bring out the best flavor and a sweeter, more mellow taste.
Choosing a ripe tomatillo
The best indicator for when a tomatillo is ripe is the husk. On fully ripe tomatillos, the husk will be burst open.
How to peel tomatillos
The paper-thin husks on tomatillos can be a little tricky to remove. First, soak them in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minute to loosen the husks. This makes them come off easier.
Grab a loose end of the husk, puling it away firmly, and it should fall right off. After removing the husk, rinse the tomatillo under cool water to remove any sticky residue.
- Preheat the grill and oil the grates.
- Use a small square of aluminum foil and wrap up unpeeled garlic cloves for roasting.
- Grill the vegetables until they are charred and softened.
- Let the vegetables cool enough to handle, then peel the garlic and cut the tomatillos and onion into quarters. Remove any loose skin and the seeds from the jalapeño
- Add all the vegetables to the bowl of the food processor along with lime juice, salt, and cilantro (if using).
- Pulse until the salsa is the desired consistency.
No grill? No problem!
Instead of grilling the vegetables, roast them in a 425 degree oven, turning frequently, until they are charred and softened.
You may also enjoy these delicious recipes for Cinco de Mayo, including appetizers and a delicious chili verde recipe.
- White Chicken Chili Verde — This chili simmers all day in a broth of tangy salsa verde, jalapeños, green chilies, and cumin.
- Corn Salsa — The perfect summer accompaniment for not only taco night, this Corn Salsa is also a delightful topping for grilled catfish.
- Easy Mango Salsa — This salsa uses all fresh ingredients and pairs perfectly with grilled fish tacos or as a sweet and spicy dip all on its own.
- Avocado Salsa — Toss diced avocados, red onion, and Roma tomatoes with fresh lime juice, and spices and you have a beautifully delicious dip in minutes!
- Veggie Nachos with Green Chili Cheese Sauce — Make these yummy nachos in individual pans for a fun movie night or casual party at home.
You may like to try this fresh salsa on beef or chicken tacos, ladled over burritos or tostadas, or as a dipping sauce for quesadillas. Basically, feel free to use Roasted Tomatillo Salsa as a substitute for pico de gallo or regular tomato salsa to change up the flavor in your favorite Mexican dishes.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
- 2 medium garlic cloves unpeeled
- 1-1/2 pounds tomatillos husked and rinsed
- 1/2 large white onion cut in half through the stem
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
- Preheat the grill to medium high heat, approximately 450 degrees.
- Brush the grill grates with oil. Wrap the unpeeled garlic in a small aluminum foil packet.
- Grill the garlic packet, the onion , and jalapeño, over direct heat with the lid closed, until the vegetables are charred and softened, about 15 minutes. Grill the tomatillos, turning as needed, for 7 to 10 minutes, until charred and softened.
- Let the vegetables cool enough to handle, then peel the garlic and cut the tomatillos and onion into quarters and place into the bowl of a food processor or blender.
- Remove any loose skin and the seeds from the jalapeño and add to the bowl of the food processor along with the lime juice, salt, and cilantro (if using).
- Pulse the vegetables until the salsa is the desired consistency. Serve immediately.
Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.