This fresh Mexican salsa verde is a flavorful combination of tomatillos, cilantro, onion, garlic, and peppers. Perfect for dipping or adding to another recipe!
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Table of Contents
- About Salsa Verde
- What is salsa verde?
- What’s in salsa verde?
- What’s the difference between salsa verde and green enchilada sauce?
- Is salsa verde spicy?
- Can you make salsa verde spicier?
- What can you make with salsa verde?
- What to serve with salsa verde?
- How long is it good for?
- Can you freeze it?
- How long to leave out a dip
- Notes & tips for homemade salsa verde
- More tasty sauces
- How to make homemade salsa verde
- Recipe Details
About Salsa Verde
Fresh Mexican salsa verde is always something I like to have on hand because it is excellent for a quick snack (and it pairs amazingly well with snacks) and is a staple ingredient in some of my favorite dishes.
And really, who couldn’t use a little more versatility from the ingredients in their kitchen?
This homemade salsa verde is versatile; you can enjoy it as is or use it in countless other tasty dishes.
What is salsa verde?
There are two types of salsa verde – Italian and Mexican – but this recipe pays homage to the Mexican version. It’s a blended salsa made of tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, and hot peppers.
What’s in salsa verde?
Before you can have your own batch of flavorful Mexican salsa verde, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Tomatillos – These are the primary base for salsa verde. They’re green and a bit tangy when raw, but when cooked, they offer a slightly sweet flavor and a rich, thick consistency.
- White onion – White onions add a bit of crunch and a sharp, pungent flavor that balances out the sweetness of the tomatillos.
- Jalapeno – This provides the heat in the salsa. Removing the seeds and ribs helps to control the spiciness while still giving it a zesty kick.
- Garlic – Garlic offers a robust, earthy depth to the sauce. It’s a subtle undertone that complements the tang of tomatillos.
- Water – Used to cover the veggies, this helps in boiling them and softening them up for blending. It ensures that the salsa achieves a smooth texture.
- Fine sea salt – Enhances the natural flavors of all the ingredients and ties them together while also balancing out the tanginess.
- Cilantro – Cilantro adds a fresh, herbaceous note, giving the salsa an aromatic lift and brightening up its flavors.
- Lime juice – This zesty addition provides a citrusy tang, enhancing the fresh vibe of the salsa and making it even more vibrant.
What’s the difference between salsa verde and green enchilada sauce?
It’s true that salsa verde and green enchilada sauce are different, and purists of either sauce may argue that they should be distinct.
However, it’s important to note that many recipes blur the lines between the two – and this is okay. After all, both sauces share some common ingredients, such as tomatillos, onions, and green chilies, and they are both used to add a tangy, slightly spicy flavor to dishes.
Ultimately, whether you choose to make green enchilada sauce or salsa verde – or a combination of the two – depends on your personal taste preferences and the dish you are preparing.
As far as the specific differences, there are a few characteristics that can help you tell the two sauces apart:
- Salsa verde tends to have a higher ratio of tomatillos, less seasoning, and sometimes the vegetables are not cooked (with the raw ingredients blended), resulting in a thicker, chunkier sauce.
- Green enchilada sauce tends to roast or boil (or both) the vegetables before blending, includes more seasonings, the consistency tends to be thinner, and many recipes will use tomatoes over tomatillos.
Is salsa verde spicy?
Despite there being jalapenos in this recipe, salsa verde is typically considered to be a mild salsa. This recipe is written to reflect that, so there are only enough jalapenos included in the recipe to give a little taste but not too much bite.
Can you make salsa verde spicier?
If you’d like a little more kick, it’s easy to adjust this recipe to your tastes:
- Add more jalapeno peppers. This recipe calls for only one pepper, but you could easily go up to two or three without changing the flavor too much.
- Include the jalapeno seeds and ribs. There’s a lot of spice in those little seeds and the white fleshy parts of a jalapeno, so if you’re looking for a fiery salsa, the easiest way would be to chop the jalapenos whole without removing the seeds or ribs (also called membrane).
What can you make with salsa verde?
There are so many things I could list here, but these are a few of my favorites:
- Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken
- Zesty Taco Pasta Bake
- Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Spicy Shrimp Tortilla Soup
- Salsa Verde Mac & Cheese
What to serve with salsa verde?
Once you’ve got your fresh batch of salsa verde ready, consider serving it up with dippers like:
- Tortilla Chips: The traditional pairing for any salsa, their neutral corn flavor complements the zesty salsa verde.
- Scoop Chips: Ideal for the chunky consistency of salsa verde, ensuring you get a bit of everything in each scoop.
- Focaccia: The olive oil and herb seasoning pairs nicely with the fresh and tangy flavors of the salsa.
- Baguette Slices: The crispy toasted edges with a hint of olive oil make them a great canvas for the salsa verde’s flavors.
- Ciabatta: Its toasty, crunchy exterior and airy insides make it great for holding the sauce.
- Pita Chips: Their mild flavor is a good contrast to the tangy salsa verde.
- Plantain Chips: Their natural sweetness can offer a contrasting flavor to the salsa’s tanginess.
- Pretzel Chips: A fun, salty alternative that could work well with the tang of the salsa verde.
- Rye Crisps: Their tanginess might complement the zesty notes of the salsa.
- Flatbreads: Grilled or toasted naan can offer a slightly different texture and taste that pairs nicely with the freshness of salsa verde.
How long is it good for?
Depending on the ingredients’ freshness, salsa verde should remain good in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, you totally can! I usually don’t recommend freezing vegetables with high water content, but because these veggies have been cooked and blended, there’s no harm in losing texture or consistency from freezing.
To freeze, store it in a tightly sealed container or freeze it flat in a freezer bag.
Once frozen, salsa verde should remain good for up to two months.
How long to leave out a dip
Whenever you serve a dip for your guests to enjoy, you should always keep track of how long it sits at room temperature.
For most foods, the general rule of thumb is that a perishable item should not be in the “danger zone” for more than two hours. And by “danger zone,” this is usually at or just above room temperature.
Since this dip will be served chilled, that should give you another 30-60 minutes before needing to keep track of it. So, in total, this dip can be left out for an absolute maximum of three hours, depending on the room’s temperature. However, be sure to still check the dip every now and then and make your best judgment.
Once you’re near the recommended time, you can cover the dip and place it back in the refrigerator. If your guests still want more dip, let it chill for at least 30 minutes before bringing it back out again.
Notes & tips for homemade salsa verde
- While this recipe recommends cooking the ingredients before blending, many recipes for authentic salsa verde blend the raw ingredients together – and you can totally do this for a thicker, chunkier salsa! To prepare, use all the ingredients and measurements listed in the recipe and completely skip any instructions referencing water or boiling the vegetables. And when blending the raw vegetables, feel free to blend them as much (or as little) as you need to get the consistency you’d like.
- Have you never worked with tomatillos before? No problem! It’s easier than you’d think to husk and prepare them. Check out this video on how to do it: Preparing Tomatillos.
- Canned tomatillos can be used instead if you don’t have fresh tomatillos. Just be sure to drain them thoroughly before using them in the recipe.
- You will need a blender of some sort to make this salsa. I recently got this KitchenAid food processor and highly recommend it!
- When preparing jalapenos, be sure to wear food safety gloves while handling them and avoid any contact with your eyes while you work. Also, you have a crucial choice to include the jalapeno seeds or remove them. The seeds are where this pepper gets its trademark fire, so only include them if you want the extra kick. For a full tutorial on cutting jalapeno peppers, check out How to Cut a Jalapeno Pepper the Right Way.
More tasty sauces
How to make homemade salsa verde
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a medium saucepan, add the tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, and garlic, then pour in enough water to cover all of the veggies.
Step 2 – Bring the water to a boil and cook until the tomatillos turn a pale olive green color (should only be five to eight minutes). Once cooked, drain the water and let the veggies cool a bit.
Step 3 – Add the cooked veggies, salt, cilantro, and lime juice to a food processor, then blend until the consistency is to your liking.
Step 4 – Refrigerate the salsa for at least one hour.
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Pour in enough water to cover veggies, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatillos are tender and turn a pale olive color, about 5-8 minutes.1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, 1/2 cup chopped white onion, 1 medium jalapeno pepper, 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic, water
- Thoroughly drain the cooked veggies, ensuring minimal garlic loss, then set aside to cool.food processor
- Once cooled, add cooked veggies, sea salt, cilantro, and lime juice to a food processor. Blend on high until desired consistency is reached, about 2-3 minutes.1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Transfer salsa to a sealed container and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.