Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde (2 versions)

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

We put together two different versions of salsa verde with some tomatillos, avocadoes, garlic and spices, and pretended to be into sports just to hang this article on a game theme! Hint: we are not into sports.

I’ve always envied people that were really into watching sports. I would love to care about something (other than nerdy television shows) enough to paint my face, don a kooky costume and brave the cold, just to prove my commitment and loyalty. To feel the agony of defeat in the hopes of, one day, just maybe, getting to experience the glory of ultimate victory.

But nope. Just don’t give a toss. Matt doesn’t follow sports either (with the exception of the occasional World Cup match, of course).

This is a rough approximation of Matt and me watching the news when the sports headlines come on.


MATT [Pops a chip in his mouth]: What is this? Are they playing shove ha’penny?

EMILY [Rolls eyes]: No, idiot, I’m pretty sure it’s … (squints) …quoits.

We are not Sports People.

I kind of want to watch the Super Bowl sometime with our sporty friends just to see what it’s all about but I’m afraid their heads would explode with all the dumb questions I would ask. Examples; Why are they stopping? Is that guy mad, because he looks mad. What do those numbers mean? Why did they get all those points if the just scored a base goal once? Why are they stopping again? Is there any more beer?

But the one sport watching ritual I can totally get behind? Snacks for dinner. That, my friends, is living the dream.

Speaking of dreams, this Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde is super easy to make.  I’m also giving you the recipe for two versions. The first is pretty much the classic salsa verde, (which is delicious and has the added benefit of being vegan*). The other version adds a creamy element to the original, with the addition of ripe avocado and a little bit of sour cream. It’s almost like a smooth, creamy guacamole. So, so good. *For a creamy vegan version, add the avocado but leave out the sour cream.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Classic version (vegan)


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Creamy version (with avocado and sour cream)

How we got Tomatillos

We ended up with tomatillos kind of by accident. I (Matt) did some volunteering at the local Common Ground Farm earlier in the year, and came home with a bunch of plants in early stages of growth. I’d been told what they all were and had forgotten everything by the time I got home, and we just planted them semi-randomly in pots. Anyway, as it turns out, we’d been given two tomatillo plants, one of which got promptly squashed by a marauding chicken. Tomatillos are not self-fertilizing, which means you have to have two in proximity for them to fruit. It seems that someone nearby had one, and the pollinators did their handiwork, because we ended up with a nice crop just from that one plant. Isn’t nature brilliant!


You can serve either version just with tortilla chips or on top of nachos. It would be delicious as a sauce on grilled or roasted chicken or shrimp.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Tomatillos look like green tomatoes but they’re actually more closely related to gooseberries. They have a tart, almost citrusy flavor.


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
They grow inside a husk that turns papery and brown when they tomatillos are ripe. Added Nerd points: we grew these ourselves!


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
The husks have to be removed before preparing, You can wash the fruit with soap and water to remove the sticky film on the fruit.

The Recipe

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde (2 versions)

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde (2 versions)
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Author: Emily Clifton


  • 1 medium white onion peeled and quartered
  • 5 cloves of garlic peeled, kept whole
  • One or two jalapeño or serrano chiles
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos husked and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • A bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems only
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the creamy variation add:
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 ripe Haas avocado flesh separated from peel and pit


  • Preheat oven to 500F.
  • Toss onion, (quartered lengthwise, with root intact), garlic cloves, chiles, tomatillos, with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large bowl. Pour vegetables onto a foil lined baking sheet and spread into a single layer. TIP: Keep smaller vegetables (like the garlic cloves) towards the center of the tray where they are less likely to burn. Roast vegetables, turning once, until tender and charred, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  • Once vegetables are cool enough to handle, transfer all the roasted vegetables (along with any juice collected on the baking sheet) and the cilantro into a food processor. If you like chunky salsa, pulse 4 or 5 times. For a smoother sauce, process longer (30-45 seconds); season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • DO AHEAD: Salsa verde can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.
  • CREAMY VARIATION: Add 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and the flesh of 1 ripe Haas avocado to the processor. Process until smooth and creamy.
Tried this recipe?Mention @NerdsWithKnives or tag #nerdswithknives!


3 thoughts on “Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde”

  1. Just made this as an alternative sauce for enchiladas, the salsa turned out awesome and we are about to try it with the enchiladas. Thanks for the recipe and just to give you another little boost, we live in Central Mexico and my wife, who is Mexican said it is an amazing salsa.


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