Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa

BY : PUBLISHED : August 16th, 2022 UPDATED: October 17th, 2022

Every day is a party when salsa is involved and this tomatillo green chili salsa is one everyone is sure to love! It’s perfect for Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo but even works to elevate everyday meals.

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Making homemade green salsa with tomatillos is sure to save you some money over store-bought salsa and only takes about 20 minutes to prepare.

Tomatillos have a light, fresh citrus and herb flavor to them which works great for making salsas. I love this simple stovetop version but also enjoy an avocado tomatillo salsa, which has a much creamier texture!

It's a nice change from a regular red tomato salsa and has a much tarter flavor that I truly love. Just like other salsas, you can serve this one with all your favorite Mexican recipes such as tofu tacos, vegan bean quesadillas, or veggie fajitas

Why This Recipe Works

  • Budget-friendly. Homemade salsas and condiments are a great way to save money at the grocery store.
  • An easy salsa recipe.
  • Adjust the flavors. Make spicy tomatillo salsa just the way you like it! 
  • Adds variety. Salsa verde makes a nice change from regular tomato salsa.

What Goes Into This Recipe

Simple ingredients go into making green tomatillo salsa. Find them in your local grocery store or farmer's market.

ingredients for Stovetop Tomatillo Salsa spread out on a white surface
  • Tomatillos: Use fresh tomatillos when making this tomatillo salsa recipe.
  • Roma tomatoes: Melds with the tangy, tart flavor of the tomatillos making a perfectly balanced and delicious salsa.
  • Chilies: Jalapeño and anaheim chilis give this salsa a little heat and flavor.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced garlic works best when making homemade salsa.
  • Red onion: The crisp, pungent flavor of red onion works great in this recipe but you could also use a white or yellow onion.
  • Seasoning: Dried cumin and fresh cilantro provide the signature flavor to fresh salsa.
  • Lime juice: Freshly squeezed juice is essential to the bright flavors of this salsa.

What Are Tomatillos?

This fruit is related to the tomato and sometimes is called a Mexican green tomato. It even resembles a small green tomato just a bit.

The main difference is that a tomatillo is covered in a husk which you must remove before cooking. Inside, tomatillos are generally less juicy, have smaller seeds, and have a much more tart flavor than tomatoes with some hints of apple, lemon, and herbs.

You can find tomatillos in many large grocery stores at different times of the year. Select tomatillos that are firm to the touch with tight-fitting husks. 

Be sure to wash them well after removing the husks. Cooking tomatillos brings out their flavors but they can also be eaten in salsas and salads raw as well. When added to salsas, they bring a more acidic flavor than tomatoes.

How to Make Tomatillo Salsa

This easy salsa is ready in about 20 minutes and requires only a handful of steps.

  • 1) Roughly chop the tomatillos, tomatoes, garlic, chilies, jalapeño, and onion. Place them in a saucepan or pot about three-quarters cup of water, salt and cumin.
  • 2) Cook for about 15 minutes (or when it's all cooked down and everything is soft). 
  • 3) Turn off the heat and add the cilantro and lime juice along with salt to taste.
  • 4) Transfer everything to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. 
  • 5) Serve immediately or store until ready to serve.

Expert Tips and FAQs

  • Cook the veggies until soft to ensure the salsa blends up perfectly.
  • Adjust the spiciness to your own taste! 
  • Want a raw tomatillo salsa? No problem, skip the step of cooking and blend everything up in your food processor. When uncooked, green salsa is likely to be a bit tangier in flavor with a chunky texture.
  • Want a greener tomatillo salsa? Ditch the tomatoes and add more tomatillos.
Is tomatillo green chili salsa spicy?

It depends on the type of chili used. Making it at home means you can adjust the spiciness. For a less spicy salsa, use milder chiles such as green chilies, anaheim chilies and some jalapenos. Be sure to remove the seeds and veins on the inside for a milder flavor. If spicy is your thing, you can use jalapenos, serranos or even habanero chiles for extra spiciness.

Can I grill the vegetables to make a grilled tomatillo salsa?

Yes, this will add a smokier flavor to your salsa especially if cooked over charcoal or on a gas grill. I recommend cooking the veggies on foil so they don't fall through the grate.

completed Stovetop Tomatillo Salsa in a bowl with a chip being dipped in it and chips scattered on the side

Variations

  • Avocado tomatillo salsa has similar flavors but the preparation is slightly different.
  • Pineapple tomatillo salsa: Mix in small diced pineapple to the final salsa for a slightly chunky version of the salsa or you can also add it to the blender to blend it all together. About ½ cup of pineapple is enough but you can adjust to your taste.
  • Tomatillo habanero salsa: For an ultra spicy tomatillo salsa, swap out the jalapeno for habanero. 
  • Roasted tomatillo salsa: I find cooking in a saucepan a bit easier and makes a slightly milder salsa, but roasting the vegetables does add some additional flavor. To roast, spread out all the chopped veggies on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 375° F for 15-20 minutes. Add water as needed to the blender to thin out the salsa to your liking.

Store

  • Refrigerator: Store in a jar or airtight container for up to five days.
  • Freezer: This salsa is perfect for freezing so go ahead and make a giant batch. Divide it up and freeze in individual containers for up to three months.

More Dip and Salsa Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Stovetop Tomatillo Salsa in a bowl with a chip being dipped in it
completed Stovetop Tomatillo Salsa in a bowl with a chip being dipped in it

Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa

Stephanie Lundstrom
Every day is a party when salsa is involved and this tomatillo green chili salsa is one everyone is sure to love! It’s perfect for Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo but even works to elevate everyday meals. Plus - it's ready in just 20 minutes!
5 from 51 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dips and Sauces
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 40 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 5 tomatillos husked, washed and dried
  • 3 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 anaheim chili
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ of a red onion
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • ¼ cup of cilantro
  • juice from 1 small lime

Instructions
 

  • Roughly chop your tomatillos, tomatoes, garlic, chilies, jalapeño, and onion, and saute them in a pan or pot with about ¾ cup of water and salt and cumin.
  • After about 15 minutes (or when it's all cooked down and everything is soft) turn off the heat and add the cilantro and lime juice. Salt to taste.
  • In a blender or food processor, process until smooth.

Notes

  • Cook the veggies until soft to ensure the salsa blends up perfectly.
  • Adjust the spiciness to your own tastes! 
  • Want a raw tomatillo salsa? No problem, skip the step of cooking and blend everything up in your food processor. When uncooked, tomatillo salsa is likely to be a bit tangier in flavor with a chunky texture.
  • Want a greener tomatillo salsa? Ditch the tomatoes and add more tomatillos.

Nutrition

Calories: 40kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 1215mgPotassium: 289mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 553IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Stephanie Lundstrom

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Janaye says

    5 stars
    This salsa is sooo good!

    • Andrea White says

      Agreed! So flavorful!

  2. Gina H. says

    5 stars
    Such a delicious salsa! One of our favorites for sure!

    • Andrea White says

      Same! So easy to make and so delicious!

  3. Rachel says

    5 stars
    The flavors in this are so good! Definitely making this often!

    • Andrea White says

      It's a new staple in our household! So easy!

  4. Tina says

    5 stars
    So yummy! Love adding it to my tacos and dipping tortilla chips in it too!

    • Andrea White says

      Yesss! It's such a great addition to so many recipes!

  5. Teodora says

    5 stars
    Yum! Perfect for guests!

    • Andrea White says

      For sure! It's always nice to have salsa ready to go!

  6. Andrea White says

    5 stars
    Love how simple this salsa is to make! Perfect for gatherings!

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