Blistered Tomatillo Jalapeño Salsa Verde

A salsa is only as good as its components, and our favorite green salsa is as good — and simple — as it gets.

Broiler (or grill) blistered tomatillos, jalapeño and garlic are blended with fresh cilantro. Then, minced raw onion gets stirred in just before serving to add texture. The result is bold, vibrant and almost fruity; not too spicy; perfect consistency to dunk into or spoon over.

Learn about the nutritional benefits + how to purchase, store and prepare tomatillos in last week’s Have You Met + what’s so great about jalapeños here.

Charring ingredients for salsas and sauces is a classic trick of Latin cuisine to impart a subtle smokiness. (If you can flame-roast the veg on a grill or in a perforated pan over a wood-burning fire, all the better for that earthy smoke!) Those deep flavors, with the tart tang of the tomatillos + bright cilantro, help balance the heat of the chilli + add a welcome complexity not often found in regular versions.

Lovely with tacos, enchiladas and warm tortilla chips, as you might imagine, also give it a try with pasta, on pizza and sandwiches, as a component of vinaigrettes and soups, or spooned over grilled poultry, beef, fish, shrimp, tofu, whatever you have. We’re just as obsessed pairing it with eggs in every which way — sunny-sides, cooked into a soft-scramble or frittata, folded into omelets.

Whether an alternative, or “Christmas-style” counterpart, to a traditional red, blistered green tomatillo and jalapeño salsa may very likely be your new go-to!

Cheers, Heather

Tell me… Do you prefer red or green salsa? Or do you go “Christmas-style” with some of each?

Blistered Tomatillo Jalapeño Salsa Verde
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Recipe Type: condiment, sauce, salsa, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
Makes: Generous 1 cup
  • 1/2 pound small to medium tomatillos (about 5 to 8, depending on size), husked and rinsed to remove any stickiness
  • 1 jalapeño or 2 serrano chilli peppers, stemmed
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 10 cilantro sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 small white onion (or 1 large shallot), peeled and minced
  1. Heat the broiler with a rack placed in the highest position (usually about 4 to 5 inches from the heating element). Lay the whole, husked tomatillos, jalapeño or serrano chillies and garlic out on a baking tray with sides or a broiler pan.
  2. Broil 5 to 6 minutes, until darkly roasted, even blackened and charred looking in some spots, on the one side. Remove the tray from the oven, and carefully flip everything over -- a tongs works well. Return the pan to its place under the broiler, and continue to cook on the other side for another 5 to 6 minutes. Keep an eye on the tray while you do this step, as some of the ingredients may require turning/removal sooner than others. (Alternatively, you can do the "blistering" step on the stove. Heat a cast-iron pan, or a heavy-bottomed skillet or griddle over medium-high. To the dry pan, add the tomatillos, chilli(es) and garlic, and cook, turning frequently, until deep golden brown on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes.)
  3. Once roasty, blackened and charred to your liking, remove the tray from the oven and set aside to cool briefly. Use a rubber scraper to scrape everything, including any juices that collected in the tray, directly into a food processor or high-powered blender. Add the cilantro leaves and water, cover, and pulse until almost smooth -- you want a little bit of texture left. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Place the minced onion in a smaller strainer or fine colander and rinse under cool water for 30 to 60 seconds. Shake off the excess water as best you can (do not press on the onions), and add to the salsa in the bowl. Mix well, taste, and season with salt as needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. Will keep in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
HGN Notes
+ Swap half of the tomatillos for small round or plum tomatoes for a "Christmas-style" salsa.
+ Use scallions instead of white onion.
+ Replace some of the water with fresh-squeezed lime juice.
+ Make it super green by adding a couple handfuls of baby spinach, arugula or other dark leafy green.

Recipe adapted from Rick & Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures.

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Check out my downloadable nutrition guides.

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