Roasted Tomatillo Salsa is easy to make and tastes incredible. Green Salsa Verde is big on flavor and low in calories and carbs. Use this fresh salsa as a fun and delicious vegan appetizer with tortilla chips or bake it into your favorite enchilada recipes.
This post has been updated from the original posted August 26, 2015. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
There’s just no comparison between homemade roasted tomatillo salsa verde and store-bought salsa verde. Fresh tomatillos are easy to find at your local farmer’s market or favorite grocery store. They are low in calories and carbs and high in antioxidants, and make the most delicious fresh salsa.
My only complaint is that tomatillos are only in season from early summer through fall! While I wait for next summer I rely on my freezer stash…see below for directions to freeze this tomatillo salsa verde recipe.
Roasting fresh tomatillos with jalapeno pepper, onions and garlic cloves brings out their best flavor! You’ll love this roasted tomatillo salsa recipe. It’s easy to make and a nice change from regular tomato salsa.
Tomatillos are small pieces of fruit that are covered in a papery husk. They are most often used to make salsa, but they are not the same as green (unripe) tomatoes.
Tomatillos can be eaten raw, chopped into salad or pureed into salsa. You can also cook them and use in roasted salsa verde, braised in stews or satueed and added to stir fry or other veggie dishes.
Once you remove the papery husk from tomatillos rinse under warm water to remove the sticky film on the outside of the fruit. Then, you can boil, broil, grill or bake so the tomatillos get tender.
Raw tomatillos are safe to eat. Raw tomatillos have a sour flavor that softens into something more sweet when they are cooked.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Tomatillos: Raw tomatillos have a slightly acidic flavor, so roasting them before blending makes this tomatillo salsa much easier to digest. Some people use small green tomatoes (unripe tomatoes) for their salsa verde…but that’s a whole different kind or salsa!
- Jalapeno peppers: jalapenos have just a bit of heat, mostly flavor! For a spicier salsa use serrano chiles or habaneros. Poblano peppers are delicious in this recipe, but a little bit less spicy than the jalapenos.
- Onion: Raw onion is hard for many to eat without heartburn, which is why I’ve added it to the baking dish to roast. You could substitute with scallions, red onion or even chives.
- Garlic: Roasted garlic gives off so much flavor and is far easier on the taste buds and digestion than raw.
- Fresh Cilantro: Fresh herbs make such a difference in your favorite salsa recipes. If you don’t care for cilantro, try fresh oregano or parsley.
- Green Pepper: Leaving the green pepper raw leaves the Vitamin C intact!
- Lime: The lime juice helps balance the other flavors and the citric acid helps the fresh salsa last longer.
How to make Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
If this is your first time using tomatillos, you may be surprised by how tacky they feel underneath the papery skin. No cause for alarm, that sticky film is normal and that’s why I suggest you rinse that sticky residue off with warm water after you remove those papery husks.
The first step is to roast the tomatillos with the onion, garlic and jalapenos. The easiest way to prep the jalapeno pepper is to cut it in half, through the stem and then use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds and membranes. If you’re looking for a spicy salsa verde, leave a few of the seeds in the jalapenos to roast with the veggies.
Use a heavy rimmed baking sheet and place your prepped vegetables in a single layer. Leave the skins on the garlic so it doesn’t burn. OPTIONAL: drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in a preheated 450 oven for 15 minutes.
Scoop roasted veggies plus their juices into the bowl of a food processor. You could also use a blender, if that’s what you have. The garlic skins will peel right off, or you could squeeze the pulp out and discard the skins.
Process until creamy.
Add the green pepper, fresh cilantro and lime juice, then process again. Taste for seasoning. For a more spicy salsa verde, add in some crushed red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne. Add more lime juice for a bit of zing or a pinch of sea salt to bring out the fresh veggie flavors.
Roasted tomatillo salsa tastes best served at room temperature. Sprinkle with some crushed red pepper for a bit of heat and enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips!
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Make breakfast tacos with some scrambled tofu and a healthy drizzle of tomatillo salsa.
- Use the juice of the roasted veggies to help puree the tomatillos.
- Tie a ribbon on a jar of homemade salsa as a hostess gift when you’re invited to a potluck.
- I love the added richness of flavor that roasting the tomatillos provides, BUT….If you’re in a rush, make raw tomatillo salsa. Throw husked, rinsed and chopped tomatillos, scallions instead of onions, jalapenos, green peppers, cilantro, lime juice and just one clove of garlic into your blender or food processor. Blend until salsa consistency is achieved. Add a bit of water if needed.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- SERVE: Serve at room temperature or cold. Use as a sauce for grain bowls, tacos, enchiladas, burritos or salad.
- PREP AHEAD: Roast veggies a day or two in advance and store in the fridge until ready to proceed with the recipe.
- STORE: Store in airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks.
- FREEZE: Roasted Tomatillo Salsa can be frozen for 6 months. Use one cup silicone molds or freeze for easy thawing to use as dipping salsa. Or, freeze in Tablespoon ice cube trays to easily throw a cube or two into recipes for added flavor.
More Mexican Food Healthy Recipes
- Healthy Cinco de Mayo Recipes
- No salt taco seasoning
- Easy Vegan Street Corn
- The Best Guacamole
- Tomato Pico de Gallo
- Vegan Enchiladas
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Creamy Vegan Chipotle Dressing
- Vegan Taco Soup
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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
- 1 lb. fresh tomatillos about 6 medium tomatillos
- 1 sweet white onion
- 1-2 hot green chiles*
- 3 large cloves garlic
- ⅓ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 small green pepper
- 2 limes juiced
- OPTIONAL: 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- OPTIONAL: ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 450.
- PREP VEGGIES FOR ROASTING: Husk tomatillos and rinse the sticky residue off with warm water. Cut into ¼s. Cut green chiles in half through the stem. Use a grapefruit spoon or paring knife to scoop out the seeds and membranes. Remove the papery skin from the onion, cut into ¼s.
- Place tomatillos, chiles and onion to a rimmed baking sheet. Add whole garlic cloves with the papery skin still on. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt onto the vegetables. Toss well and distribute veggies so they're in a single layer. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
- Add roasted vegetables to the bowl of a food processor and process until uniform in texture.
- Stem and seed green pepper and add to bowl of food processor along with cilantro and juice of one lime. Process until everything is well incorporated. Taste for seasoning. Add crushed red pepper, additional salt or lime juice as desired.
- Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.