This Salsa Verde Recipe is made by boiling serrano pepper, poblano peppers, tomatillos, garlic, red onion, and blending with cilantro and lime.
Salsa verde has a bright, fresh, and slightly tangy taste with a hint of heat from the chili peppers. It can range in spiciness depending on the type and amount of chili peppers used. Salsa verde is incredibly versatile and can be used as a condiment or as a cooking ingredient to add flavor to various dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and more.
There are three ways to make this salsa: Roasting, sautéing, or boiling – the latter is what I did. Roasting the tomatillos bring out a ton of flavors, but I always found boiling tastes a lot the same and it requires less work and supervising. The texture of salsa verde can vary from chunky to smooth, depending on personal preference and the intended use.
What is Salsa Verde?
Salsa Verde is a vibrant and tangy green sauce commonly used in Mexican and Latin American cuisine. The name "salsa verde" translates to "green sauce" in Spanish, referring to its characteristic green color.
While there are variations across different regions and culinary traditions, salsa verde typically consists of a base of tomatillos, a small green fruit with a slightly tart flavor. The tomatillos are usually boiled or roasted, then blended with other ingredients to create the sauce. My variation includes poblano peppers, and you won't be sorry.
Why you will love this Salsa Verde Recipe
Versatile: You can switch up the ingredients and it is pretty much full proof. You can add more lime if you prefer a tangier sauce, or take out the serrano seeds for a milder sauce. Get creative and use any variation you prefer.
Full of flavor: When making Mexican food, you know it will always have so much flavor. This was my mom's recipe growing up for the longest time.
Great for warm weather: I love making this in the summer months and dipping in some tortilla chips. I also use this sauce to makes a couple of dishes.
Serves a crowd: Just place the sauce in a bowl and surround with chips. Make this for your next get together!
Salsa Verde Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Poblano pepper
- Red onion
- Serrano peppers
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Salsa Verde
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the tomatillos, poblano pepper, garlic cloves, onion, serrano peppers.
Boil for 10 minutes, until the tomatillos are soft.
Strain and add the ingredients into a blender, along with the lime juice, cilantro, and salt.
Blend until smooth.
Hint: Take seeds out of peppers if you prefer a milder sauce.
What to serve with Salsa Verde
- Tortilla Chips: Serve Salsa Verde as a dip alongside a bowl of crispy tortilla chips. The tangy and slightly spicy salsa pairs perfectly with the crunch of the chips.
- Tacos: Salsa Verde is a fantastic topping for tacos, whether they're filled with grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or even seafood. Drizzle it over the filling or serve it on the side for a burst of freshness.
- Enchiladas: Spoon Salsa Verde over enchiladas before baking them to add a vibrant and tangy flavor to the dish. It adds a delightful contrast to the richness of the enchilada filling and melted cheese. Use this Salsa Verde to make my Chicken Tinga Enchiladas Recipe.
- Grilled Meats: Salsa Verde is a fantastic accompaniment to grilled meats such as steak, chicken, or pork. Brush some salsa over the cooked meat or serve it as a dipping sauce to enhance the flavors. Check out my Shrimp Poblano Recipe.
Tomatillos: If you would rather make a red sauce, feel free to use red tomatoes instead of tomatillos. This will be a similar taste, but I will always prefer the green sauce. Tomatillos and tomatoes boil for the same amount of time.
Garlic: Make sure to buy a head of garlic and not a jar of minced garlic. I have tried to use the latter, and boiling the garlic clove and eventually blending it gives it the kick that the sauce needs.
Cilantro: If you do not have cilantro, you could possibly use green onion or chives. For best result, use cilantro.
Limes: If you do not have limes, you can use lemon, but the traditional salsa verde uses limes.
Salsa Verde Recipe Variations
- Grilled Salsa Verde: Give your Salsa Verde a smoky twist by grilling the tomatillos, jalapeños, and garlic until charred. Blend the grilled ingredients with fresh cilantro, lime juice, and salt to create a flavorful and slightly smoky salsa.
- Pineapple Salsa Verde: Add a touch of sweetness to your Salsa Verde by incorporating fresh pineapple chunks. Blend the pineapple with tomatillos, jalapeños, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and salt for a tropical and tangy salsa.
- Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa Verde: Combine the tartness of tomatillos with the creaminess of avocado for a smooth and velvety salsa. Blend tomatillos, avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and salt until well combined for a refreshing and creamy Salsa Verde.
- Large Pot: A large pot is required to boil the tomatillos and other ingredients.
- Cutting Board and Knife: You will need a cutting board and a sharp knife to chop the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and other ingredients.
- Blender or Food Processor: After boiling and softening the ingredients, you will need a blender or food processor to puree them into a smooth salsa consistency. I used my Oster blender. Make sure the contents cool before blending.
- Heat-resistant Utensils: Use heat-resistant utensils like a wooden spoon or tongs for handling and stirring the boiling ingredients.
- Strainer or Slotted Spoon: A strainer or slotted spoon is helpful for removing the boiled tomatillos and transferring them to the blender or food processor.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: Use measuring cups and spoons to accurately measure the ingredients.
- Storage Container: Once the salsa verde is made, you may need a storage container with an airtight lid to store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
How to store Salsa Verde
To store salsa verde properly, follow these guidelines:
- Allow it to cool: If you have just made fresh salsa verde, let it cool down to room temperature before storing it. This helps prevent condensation from forming inside the storage container.
- Airtight container: Transfer the salsa verde to an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. This will help keep the salsa fresh and prevent any outside flavors from being absorbed.
- Refrigeration: Place the sealed container of salsa verde in the refrigerator. It can be stored in the refrigerator for about 4 to 5 days.
- Freezing: If you want to store salsa verde for a longer period, you can freeze it. Pour the salsa verde into freezer-safe containers or ice cube trays. Leave some headspace in the containers as the salsa will expand when frozen. Frozen salsa verde can be stored for up to 3 to 4 months.
- Label and date: It's a good practice to label the container with the date of storage. This will help you keep track of its freshness and know when it's time to use or discard it.
- Thawing and using frozen salsa verde: When you're ready to use the frozen salsa verde, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw slowly overnight. Once thawed, give it a stir and use it as desired. Avoid refreezing previously frozen salsa verde.
Salsa Verde Recipe Top tips
- Select ripe tomatillos: Look for tomatillos that are firm, vibrant green in color, and have a slightly sticky or tacky texture. Avoid tomatillos that are dull or have wrinkled husks.
- Remove husks and wash: Remove the husks from the tomatillos and give them a good rinse under cool water to remove any dirt or sticky residue.
- Adjust heat level: If you prefer a milder salsa, remove the seeds and veins from the jalapeños or other chili peppers before adding them to the salsa. For a spicier salsa, include more seeds or use hotter chili pepper varieties.
- Roasting for depth of flavor: For a more complex and smoky flavor, consider roasting the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeños before blending them. This can be done under a broiler, on a grill, or directly on a stovetop flame until they are charred and softened.
- Balance flavors: Taste the salsa as you go and adjust the amounts of lime juice, salt, and other seasonings to achieve the desired balance of flavors. Add more lime juice for tanginess or more salt for seasoning.
- Resting for flavor development: Allow the salsa to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. This resting time allows the flavors to meld together and develop a more harmonious taste.
- Customize with additional ingredients: Feel free to experiment with additional ingredients to personalize your salsa verde. You can add fresh cilantro, diced onion, minced garlic, or even a pinch of cumin or oregano to enhance the flavor profile.
- Consistency control: If you prefer a chunkier salsa, pulse the ingredients in the blender or food processor for a shorter duration. For a smoother salsa, blend for a longer time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Storage and freshness: Follow proper storage techniques, such as transferring the salsa to an airtight container and refrigerating it promptly. This helps maintain its freshness and flavors for an extended period.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove