Authentic Mexican Tomatillo Salsa

quick tomatillo salsa recipe

One of the wonders of traveling is the break from routine and structure. Despite my best intentions to rise and shine with the sun and start the day with yoga, sometimes life has other, completely unpredictable things in store. Traveling, for better or worse, often forces you to relinquish control and go with the flow - whether that's accepting a dinner invitation with locals to try some authentic food, even if you just ate, or navigating bus routes not running on a schedule.

While visiting my dad, who retired and moved to central Mexico almost 10 years ago, running on the dusty, hot, ankle-twisting, cobble-stone streets has not exactly happened. Morning yoga with the neighboring construction workers staring at me also felt a little less than zen, so there goes that.

quesadillas in Mexican Market

What has happened is a ton of eating and real-time practice in figuring out what will make me feel satisfied, like I'm not missing out on anything, and still feel good in my body. This has come with some trial and error after ordering plain chicken and vegetable soup left my mouth watering over my fiance's steak tacos, or another time ordering huevos rancheros that unknowingly also came with unidentifiable fried pork, only to spend the day practicing my most used Spanish phrase, "donde esta el bano?". 

beans in Mexican market

Thankfully, so many traditional Mexican foods fit the bill as both super delicious and healthy. Fresh salsa happens to be one example I couldn't live without. And this year, we got lucky enough to get a lesson in making authentic tomatillo salsa from a local with 30+ years of salsa making under her belt. 

lessons in tomatillo salsa

Prepared for an arduous process of roasting and peeling tomatillos, I was psyched to learn how quick and easy it is to make knock-your-socks off-salsa. (We also learned the method of making roasted-tomatillo salsa, but this fresh salsa saved 20-30 minutes and tasted just as good, if not better.)


  • 5 large tomatillos, quartered (tangy green tomatoes can work as well). Set aside 2 tomatillos. 
  • 1/2 white onion, peeled and quartered. Set aside about 1/8th. 
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded for a more mild salsa
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, stems included, set aside about 1/2 of the leaves
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. In a powerful blender or food processor mix all ingredients except for the 2 tomatillos, 1/8 of onion and handful of cilantro leaves set aside. Blend until smooth. 
  2. Toss in the remaining ingredients and blend for a couple of seconds, so the salsa is not totally uniform and slightly chunky. 

Although we eat copious amounts of chips and salsa in my household, I also  love it to flavor scrambled eggs, to marinade fish, chicken or tofu, as the base for a salad dressing or to spice up a bowl of beans and rice. It's an awesome ingredient to always have on hand. 

Let us know if you try this recipe and how it goes! We love hearing from you! 

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easy tomatillo salsa recipe
tomatillo salsa ingredients