Homemade salsa verde is a staple in every Mexican kitchen, and it should be in yours too.
Tangy, spicy, and perfect as a condiment or on its own. Just don't forget the most important step...
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Oh man, we absolutely love to cook! We are so passionate about making delicious and nutritious recipes for everyone to enjoy. This one is no different!
If you don't know, we're officially living in Mexico and are working on creating plant-based versions of all the amazing dishes we've had the chance to try here.
So if you're looking for a delicious sauce to put all over your favorite foods, this salsa verde is for you!
What is salsa verde?
Salsa verde is a tomatillo-based sauce (not to be confused with green tomato salsa). It's different in taste and texture than the salsa many North American's are accustomed to.
In Spanish, salsa verde simply means "green sauce."
This version of salsa is zesty, tangy, and spicy, but with a smoother consistency than salsa fresca or canned tomato salsa.
If you make this salsa verde, it will make all of the store-bought versions you normally eat taste bland and boring. Seriously, you're going to be hooked once you start making your own!
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and can be made without oil. Plus, the best part is how customizable it is.
More spice? Add in extra serrano chiles. Do you like it tangy? Add in another squeeze of lime. Too tangy? Add a pinch of sugar or agave.
The options are endless, which is why we know you'll love this sauce.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: also known as the Mexican husk tomato, tomatillos are bright, acidic, and fruity. They're quite tart, making them easy to pair with spicy food.
Health: tomatillos have a seriously impressive sodium to potassium ratio, which means good news for you. Not only do they taste delicious, but they also keep your heart healthy by helping regulate your blood pressure!
Fun fact: remove the husk before cooking, but no need to peel or seed tomatillos. Don't be alarmed if they're very sticky on the outside. This is their way to ward off insects. Just be sure to rinse them before cooking.
For more information, check out our detailed guide on tomatillos.
Taste: fresh serranos have a bright, spicy flavor, 5-10x hotter than jalapeño peppers. However, we're searing them in this recipe to give a more rich, subtle smokiness.
Health: while serranos are high in vitamin A, C, and B6, the most impressive thing about them is their capsaicin content (responsible for the spiciness). This substance has been shown to boost metabolism by increasing your body temperature (no kidding).
Taste: bright, vibrant, zesty, and a little sour. Most of us know the taste of lime. If not, you'll definitely love the zing it gives this sauce.
Health: this common Mexican ingredient boasts over ⅓ of your daily vitamin C requirement. Pair this with iron-rich foods to increase the absorption of iron. Black bean soup anyone?
Taste: cilantro is a tough one for many people. We love it for its fresh, citrusy, and slightly spiced flavor. Unfortunately, there are people in the world who think it tastes like soap (so sad...).
Fun fact: in North America, coriander refers to the seeds and cilantro refers to the leaves. Elsewhere, the stems and leaves are called coriander and the seeds are referred to as coriander seeds.
If you have questions about this homemade salsa verde, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: if your tomatillos still have the husk on them, remove those first and give them a solid rinse.
Step 2a: there are many ways to prepare the tomatillos, but this is the method we prefer. First, you'll need to cut them in half. Then, sear each side in a skillet over medium-high. We also sear the serrano peppers to create a more subdued spice level.
Step 2b: you can also prepare the tomatillos in your oven. You'll just need to broil them on a foil-lined pan for 8-10 minutes. Don't forget about the chiles!
Step 3: in the meantime, dice your onion, garlic, and cilantro and add all those veggies to a food processor or blender.
Step 4: throw in the charred tomatillos and serrano chiles and blend or pulse until you achieve your preferred consistency (we like a smoother salsa verde, but blend for less time if you like a chunkier texture).
Step 5: now for the most important step — simmering your salsa! This not only helps thicken things up, but it also creates a more balanced taste. Don't skip the simmering.
Step 6: once your salsa verde is done reducing, season with some salt to taste and transfer it to a jar to cool in your fridge. If you find the flavor too acidic or tangy, add in a touch of sugar or agave.
Fridge: this homemade salsa verde will keep well in your fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezer: make a double batch as this freezes extremely well. Just transfer the salsa to a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months. Ensure you leave a bit of room at the top of the container for expansion.
💭 Tips & variations
We'd like to share some tips and variations we learned while experimenting with this salsa verde recipe:
- Balance the tang. If the salsa is too tart for your liking, add in a pinch of cane sugar or agave to even out the flavor.
- Freeze it. If you don't think you'll eat the whole recipe in time, freeze small portions right away to enjoy at a later date.
- Season your salsa. We can't stress this enough — seasoning helps bring the flavors together and makes for a very tasty sauce!
- Boil the veggies. If you prefer a less smoky salsa, simply boil your vegetables instead of roasting them.
🍴 Tasting notes
This sauce puts all the store-bought versions to shame. It's:
If you try this homemade salsa verde, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Homemade Salsa Verde
- Knife & cutting board
- Cast-iron skillet
- Blender or food processor
- 2 lbs tomatillos ($0.90)
- 2 fresh serrano chiles ($0.04)
- 1 cup diced onion ($0.13)
- 4 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- ¾ cup cilantro ($0.20)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice ($0.06)
- Salt to taste ($0.01)
- ½ - 1 teaspoon cane sugar or agave
- If your tomatillos still have the husk on them, remove those first and give the tomatillos a good rinse. Set aside.
- First, cut your tomatillos in half. Then, heat a seasoned cast-iron skillet to just over medium (this takes about 8-10 minutes). If your pan isn't well seasoned, rub it with a little olive oil before heating up.
- Once the skillet is hot, place the serrano chiles and tomatillos face down in the pan to sear, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and do the same on the other side until each side is browned and the tomatillos are softened. Transfer the cooked tomatillos to a bowl and cover while you cook the rest.
- Turn your oven to broil on high, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Then, spread the serrano chiles and your tomatillos out evenly on the foil. Broil for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway. This will slightly char the skins, but careful not to let them burn!
- In the meantime, dice your onion, garlic, and cilantro. Add all of these to a food processor or blender.
- Once the tomatillos and serrano chiles appear blackened and soft, remove from heat. De-stem and slice the chiles. Add these to the rest of the ingredients in your food processor or blender.
- Pulse until all ingredients are chopped and mixed together to your preference, about 30-60 seconds (more time for a smoother salsa, and less for a chunkier texture).
- Lastly, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over high. Slowly pour the salsa in and bring it to a low boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. This will thicken your salsa and create a better flavor, so don't skip doing it.
- Once your sauce is done reducing, season with salt to taste and transfer it to a jar or container to cool in your fridge. If you find the flavor too acidic or tangy, add in about ½ - 1 teaspoon sugar or agave before chilling.
- Serve this salsa as a condiment in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or with tortilla chips.
- While you don't need to reduce the salsa, we find it deepens the flavors and makes this end taste more balanced.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- Nutritional information is a rough estimate.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty dish ideas, check out our:
- Mexican crema for a creamy, rich, and tangy sauce that goes on pretty much anything!
- Salsa fresca if you're looking to see which version of salsa you prefer (team smooth or chunky?).
- Chamoy to try a sauce with a flavor profile that's so hard to explain, you're just going to have to try it for yourself!
- Salsa roja if you aren't sure whether you prefer green or red salsa (this recipe will make the decision difficult).
We would rate this salsa about 3/10 in spice level. We try to make our recipes mild-medium so more people can enjoy them. If you like spice, add 1-2 extra serrano chiles If you don't like any spice, skip the chiles altogether.
Typically this sauce is served fairly smooth so the flavors meld together. If you prefer it chunkier, just pulse or blend for less time.
If the sauce is too runny, make sure you reduce it longer. In addition to a longer reduction time, allow it to fully cool in your fridge as this helps thicken it up more.