Tomatillo Salsa Verde

by autumn on August 18, 2011

Sometimes when I look in my fridge, I feel like all I see are condiments. And I get a little panicked. Granted, they’re darn fine condiments. Most recently there’s been peach sage jam, some of my hot cherry preserves, and this tomatillo salsa verde. As much as I enjoy having lovely things in jars in my fridge, I have this silly little notion in my head that jam doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make a meal.

Except last Sunday, a wayward jar of jam really did make our meal. Call me old fashioned, but I like to cook a proper Sunday dinner. Usually something nicer and more labor intensive than what we’d eat any other day of the week. Last week, Sunday rolled around and it didn’t seem like I had anything particularly worthy of a Sunday dinner. I unearthed some protein from the freezer, added garlic, some balsamic vinegar, a couple dried chiles, a splash of water, and—feeling like I had nothing to lose—a half jar of those sour cherry preserves.

It turned out much better than I expected—definitely Sunday dinner worthy—and my leftover jam was what really elevated the dish. This tomatillo salsa verde has that same magical, leftover-transforming power. I poured some on last night’s brown rice, sprinkled it with goat cheese, and it was something much less pathetic than cold (I can’t bear to buy a microwave) leftovers.

I feel a little silly even sharing this “recipe” with you because it’s barely a recipe. That is to say, it’s pretty flexible. You could certainly add onions or cilantro. I’m not a huge fan of raw onions and the boyfriend is a cilantro hater. Luckily, it couldn’t be simpler to make and benefits from at least a day in the fridge to let the flavors get cozy.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Yield: Makes 1 pint


  • 1 lb green tomatillos
  • 1 small jalapeno
  • 1 small poblano pepper (mine was super small)
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Remove the tomatillo husks. Wash the tomatillos and set them aside to dry while you blister the peppers.
  2. Heat the whole peppers in a very hot, dry cast iron skillet until they have large charred spots, but are not completely blackened. Stirring them infrequently will help the charred spots develop.
  3. Remove the peppers from the pan and place them in something airtight (a ziploc bag or jar will work).
  4. Place the tomatillos in the same very hot, dry skillet and char them in the same way you did the peppers. They are done when their juices start to run or they have a couple sizable charred spots. They won't get as blackened as the peppers.
  5. Cut around the stem of the poblano and pull on the stem to remove most of the seeds. Cut the stem from the jalapeno.
  6. Combine all of the ingredients except the salt in a food processor and chop until it reaches your desired consistency. I left it chunkier, but that meant there was a little extra juice that wasn't fully incorporated.
  7. Add salt to taste.

More Tomatillo Salsa Verde:


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie August 18, 2011 at 3:20 am

Thanks for the recipe! I tried a tomatillo salsa recently that just didn’t turn out. Maybe the lime juice you added in to yours would have helped!


2 autumn August 18, 2011 at 10:44 am

I hope this one works for you, Katie!


3 Carol August 18, 2011 at 3:42 am

Salsa is such a great summer (or anytime as a matter of fact)
filler and this one sounds just perfect for any occasion!


4 autumn August 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

Thanks, Carol! This one is quickly becoming a favorite 🙂


5 Robert September 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm

This was awesome. I added some onion and a little more garlic to ours. Is there any way to can this in 1/2 pint jars for future use?


6 autumn September 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm

I’m so happy you liked it, Robert. This recipe is definitely not safe for water-bath canning, but there are plenty that are! Take a look at this one


7 niina September 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm

We, too, don’t have a microwave. It’s just better that way. And having tasted some of your jams, I fully believe in their transformational powers!


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