Literally translated “green sauce”, homemade salsa verde is tangy, lightly spicy, and bursting with herbal flavor. So delicious, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful!

Image of freshly made salsa verde in a jar, with a spoon inserted

We’ve all had our share of regular salsa, which I really do love, but this “green sauce” has such an exciting flavor, I kind of want to put it on everything! 

Salsa verde is Mexico’s version of Italian basil pesto or Argentina’s parsley chimichurri; all three are bright green herb filled sauces.

A simple sauce made up of roasted tomatillos, onions, and spicy jalapeños, blended with lots of cilantro and lime juice–you’ll be amazed at the fresh taste of this bright green salsa. Way WAY way better than the jarred stuff you buy in the grocery store.

Please don’t judge salsa verde by what you’ve purchased in the past–it’s like comparing freshly made applesauce with the bland stuff that comes in little plastic cups. In other words, there’s no comparison. If you haven’t tried fresh salsa verde, you really haven’t tried it at all.

Tacos, burritos, chili, chips, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, hot dogs, you name it, everything will benefit from a dollop of salsa verde. And guess what? Only 25 calories per serving (2 tablespoons)! It’s a guilt-free flavor splurge. 

Image of tomatillos on a wooden surface. The tomatillo in the foreground has its husks peeled away.

About this salsa verde recipe:

This salsa verde recipe can be made in about 20 minutes and it’s really kind of impressive when you say, “Well, I made this salsa verde myself!”

Simply roast the tomatillos, onions, and jalapeño peppers coated with a little olive oil, under the broiler for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft and slightly charred. The roasting process mellows out the flavor, and enhances it, too.

Cool the roasted vegetables for 10 minutes or so, while you wash the cilantro and juice the limes. By the way, don’t worry, you don’t have to pick all those little leaves off the stems, just put the stems in, too! Cilantro stems have so much flavor, and they’re going to get blended with everything else, so there’s no sense in wasting them.

You can use either a blender or a food processor to make the salsa verde. The blender makes a slightly smoother sauce (as pictured in these images) but I prefer the food processor which leaves a little more texture, great for a chip dip!

Simply add the roasted vegetables (don’t drain off the juice, put that in too), lots of cilantro and lime juice to your blender or food processor and process until the salsa verde is the right consistency for you. 

That’s it!

Image of roasted vegetables for salsa verde on a foil-lined sheet pan.

How to make this salsa verde your own:

  • If you’re a garlic lover, roast garlic cloves with the vegetables, or add raw garlic with the cilantro and lime.
  • Like things a little more spicy? Include the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño pepper, or add more peppers.
  • Make a creamy version by adding an avocado with the cilantro and lime before processing. For even more creaminess, stir in a half cup of sour cream. Note that the avocado version won’t keep as well and should probably be used immediately. 
  • This recipe can easily be halved or doubled.

Image of a jar of freshly homemade salsa verde, shot from above. A wooden spoon is in the jar as well.

FAQs

What is salsa verde made from?

Basically, there are five ingredients in this salsa: tomatillos, onions, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. You’ll need a little olive oil and salt, too. 

What do you use salsa verde for?

Hmmmmm, what can’t you use salsa verde for? Well, it wouldn’t taste that great on oatmeal, I guess. I think I would try it on ice cream, though. All kidding aside, anything that you put salsa on would be great, or greater, with salsa verde. 

Try it on tacos (it would be great on these sweet potato tacos or these vegan carrot and mushroom tacos), burritos, tostadas, chili, etc. but don’t limit it to that. Salsa verde would be fantastic on grilled meat: steak, chicken, or salmon. Use it on a salad, burrito bowl, or in a grain bowl. Mix it with rice or quinoa as a side. Jazz up your scrambled eggs in the morning. Mix it with a little mayo and spread it on your favorite sandwich or burger. 

How long does salsa verde keep?

Homemade salsa verde can be stored in glass jars or plastic containers in the refrigerator for up to a week. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. 

What is the difference between salsa and salsa verde?

Salsa is made with tomatoes, making it a bright red color, and salsa verde is made with tomatillos (which are not green tomatoes, by the way) and is a bright green color. While salsa often has some cilantro in it, cilantro plays more of a starring role in salsa verde. 

Can you eat a raw tomatillo?

Tomatillos, also known as Mexican husk tomatoes, are in the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes. They are slightly more acidic than a tomato. Tomatillos are covered in a papery husk, which you remove before eating, rinsing off the  sticky residue that’s underneath the husk.

They can be eaten raw, but are more often cooked or roasted, which mellows out the acidity a bit. Tomatillos are high in vitamin C, assorted minerals, and are a good source of dietary fiber. 

Other great Tex-Mex sauces and dips:

I know you’ll love this salsa verde but don’t stop there; I have more recipes you’ll want to try:

 

How to Make Salsa Verde

How to Make Salsa Verde

Yield: 3 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Literally translated "green sauce", homemade salsa verde is tangy, lightly spicy, and bursting with herbal flavor. So delicious, you'll want to eat it by the spoonful!

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces tomatillos, cut in half, husks and stems removed, rinsed
  • 2 jalapeños, halved, ribs and seeds removed
  • 2 small yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups fresh cilantro (stems are okay, too), lightly packed
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Instructions

  1. Place oven rack about 6 inches from the top of the oven and preheat oven broiler. Prepare large rimmed baking sheet by lining with foil. 
  2. On prepared baking sheet, toss tomatillos, jalapeño, and onion with oil and salt. Arrange with cut sides down.
  3. Broil on top rack until tender and starting to char, about 10 minutes. Cool about 15 minutes.
  4. Place roasted vegetables and all the juices in a blender or food processor. Add cilantro and lime juice and process to form a salsa, or until mixture reaches desired texture.

Notes

  • Use immediately, or store in glass jar or plastic container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Can be frozen; use within 3 months.
  • Recipe can easily be halved or doubled.
  • Creamy salsa verde: Add one roughly chopped avocado to mixture in blender. If desired, stir in ½ cup sour cream after blending. Creamy salsa verde won’t store as well, best used immediately. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g
RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Verdict: So good! I make a big batch of this and put it on everything!
Husband’s take: Ben absolutely loves salsa verde, but many restaurant versions tend to be garlic or raw onion heavy, which he doesn’t really like. He loves this recipe!
Changes I would make: None at all are necessary! If you need some ideas, scroll up a little and read our ideas to make this your own. 
Difficulty: Very easy!