Roasted Green Tomatillo Salsa (aka Salsa Verde)

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Roasted Green Tomatillo Salsa (aka Salsa Verde) - Andrea Meyers

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We didn’t expect our tomatillo plants to grow as large as they did, and Michael was downright skeptical when I brought them home.

M: “What kind of tomato is this?”

A: “It’s a tomatillo, not a tomato, and we’re going to try growing some this year.”

M: “What do you use them for?”

A: “Good Mexican salsa.”

M: “Whatever you want, Sweet Pea.” Thankfully he enjoys Mexican food and he’s very flexible about my garden and kitchen experiments.

Unknown to me at the time, I needed at least two tomatillos planted close to each other so they could cross-pollinate, and luckily the small pot I purchased had two plants in it, so we were set. I put them in the row alongside the grape tomatoes and then watched and waited.

They grew pretty quickly and it seems like they shot up to about nine feet (~3 meters) tall overnight. The blossoms showed up in July and seemed to hang around forever before we finally saw some little fruits sprouting. I checked it every day, watching for ripened tomatillos.

Tomatillo plants in the back row, about nine feet tall - Andrea Meyers

The fruits are ready when they fill the husk, and the fruit is harvested while still green. If it’s yellow, the fruit has started losing it’s tart flavor. You can preserve the tomatillos whole, just toss them into a large freezer bag. If freezer space is at a premium, you can slice them before freezing, though the fruits will lose some of their nutrients this way.

We’re doing a little bit of everything with these beauties: making fresh salsa, canning salsa, and freezing some whole for the winter. The flavor is bright and Michael and the boys thoroughly enjoy this fresh, easy salsa from Rick Bayless. It’s great as an appetizer with tortilla chips and arepas (though not Mexican) or spooned over tacos and fajitas.

Tomatillos - Andrea Meyers

Grow Your Own logo, seeds, greenThis is my contribution to Grow Your Own, a blogging event that celebrates the dishes we create from foods we’ve grown, raised, foraged, or hunted ourselves. Our host for this round is Denise of Chez Us, and the deadline for posts is September 30. Make sure you visit Chez Us for more information on how to participate in this round, and also check out the Grow Your Own page for more information about the event.

Roasting tomatillos - Andrea Meyers


Adapted from Rick Bayless.


large skillet lined with foil (for easy cleanup)


4 medium (about 8 ounces/227 g total), tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 – 2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
salt to taste


1. Place the halved tomatillos and the whole garlic clove in the large skillet lined with foil. Set the skillet over medium heat and and dry roast for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. The tomatillos should be soft and blotchy and the garlic will be browned.

2. Transfer the roasted tomatillos and garlic to the blender. Add the jalapenos and cilantro. Blend until you have a smooth consistency. Pour into a serving bowl.

3. Rinse the chopped onion and stir into the salsa. Add salt to taste and serve.


Other Recipes You Might Like


More Tomatillo Recipes From Around the Blogs

Kalyn’s Kitchen – Tomatillo and Black Bean Salsa with Avocado, Lime, and Cilantro

What Did You Eat? – Chicken and Tomatillo Stew

The Kitchen Sink – Grilled Tomatillo and Corn Salad

A Veggie Venture – Guacamole with Tomatillos

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. says

    I adore tomatillos in salsa and this recipe looks stellar. I tried growing my own this year and had two plants, but despite the fact that the plants are easily 8ft square, I’ve only had 1 fruit set. I’m bitterly disappointed, but will definitely try again next summer with a couple more plants.

    De in D.C.s last blog post..Sweating It Out – A Redux

  2. says

    Tomatillos were definitely one of my favorite things to grow this year. I did not expect the plants to get so huge and expansive! What is even better, is I thought the plants were pretty much done, as I’d harvested most of the fruit. But lo and behold, a whole new crop of blossoms has formed! Hard killing frost will come before these could fruit again, but in a temperate climate, I’d love to see what these plants could do.

    Erikas last blog post..One Of The Single Best Bites…Ever!

  3. says

    Tomatillos are just soo good. Great in guacamole, salsa and I love a green sauce made with them over most any Tex-Mex dish. Your salsa sounds excellent. You must have the perfect touch for them and just the right spot. I’ve never considered growing them.

  4. says

    Hey, Andrea. We had great luck with tomatillos last year, but couldn’t find plants this year. I think next year, we’re going to buy some seeds and start our own. Your salsa looks great. Salsa verde is really good on chicken enchiladas. Enjoy :-)

  5. says

    Wow! I can’t believe how tall yours are! Mine are about half that size with little tomatillos on it…but they just aren’t growing well. I think it is because we had a very cool summer. Sigh. Just have to try again next year…

    JeanAnnVKs last blog post.."Crustless" Apple Pie

  6. says

    Thanks everyone! Lynne, I purchased plants from a good local nursery. I haven’t found any seeds from a local source, so I would have to order online to try starting from seed in the spring. Seeds of Change is a good source. They even carry a purple variety that I plan to try next year.

  7. Patty In WA State says

    Okay, folks. I live in a colder, short seasoned land near Seattle. I’ve planted tomatillos once — about five years ago. You never need to plant them again, as long as you leave a few of them to compost in the same garden (and I don’t know how I could possibly find them all anyway). I decided to dedicate a space to let them do what they will. They “volunteer” themselves and begin to grow at just the right time where you live. I had originally planted about 6, then asked a neighbor from So. America if she thought they’d make it here and she said, “Oh, yes, and you’ll never get rid of them.” No need to buy seeds; just buy some in your local grocery store and throw them in your garden about now to begin to compost and see what happens.

    This year, as in every year, I have to cull from about 40 or 50 “starts” to the 12 hardy specimens that I want, making sure to space them at least 24 inches apart on all sides. I have about 2 bushels right now, various sizes, from quarter to dollar coin in diameter. I even picked them after the first frost hit unexpectedly and they are beauts. I’ve just frozen them whole in Ziploc bags to await a time when I can turn them into salsa. I just defrosted my last gallon of salsa from last year, which I will add to browned, simmering pork or chicken.

    Tomatillos are a guaranteed garden with little effort (except for the prolific harvesting!)

  8. Patty in WA State says

    Forgot to add: Our tomatillos never fill the husk; we don’t have a long enough growing season, but they are perfect. And I’m originally from California and this is just the way they grow in colder climates. So don’t fear if they don’t fill the husk; just pick ’em at the end of your “season.”

  9. says

    Patty, thanks for sharing your success with the tomatillos. I had no idea they would reseed themselves, but we have plenty that have dropped for whatever reason, and I’ll probably do exactly what you suggest and compost a few when I pulled the plants next weekend. Great tips!


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