Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Posting this recipe for a friend. Really for a bunch of friends. See what little bit of salsa is pictured? That’s because these friends ate two jars of it and this is all that was left.

I just got back from a few days away on a work retreat. First of all, I can’t imagine working with a better group of people. So often I wonder if I should be in the particular role that allows me to work with and care for these individuals. I feel highly unqualified and frequently overwhelmed. But then I have the rare occasion where I get time with these amazing people, and I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. If only I could somehow figure out how to silence my inbox… Then all would be well in my little world. Oh life before internet, how simple and quiet I feel like you were…

So true story: As I was supposed to be planning the content of the retreat, my mind often drifted to the food of the retreat. How could I bless these people through their bellies? Chocolate chip cookies: yes. Hunted squirrel: no thank you. Breakfast burritos: yes. With a side of tomatillo salsa? Let’s try it!

I’ve made tomatillo salsa before, and I’m generally the only one who eats it. Once again, I found a gem in a book I checked out of the library, The Love & Lemons Cookbook, and in the back, there’s a spread of a salsa base and then four different variations you can make with it. One was a creamy tomatillo that I thought I would give a try. It calls for an avocado, which I left out. While I love avocados, I wasn’t sure how it would hold up since I was making the salsa a day in advance. With the lime juice, it most likely would have been fine. But the salsa was a hit without it, and I had avocados on the side. Several people asked for the recipe, so here it is. And it’s super easy.

Tomatillos can be a little tricky to find. Most grocery stores should have them, but you may have to hunt for them. I often find them somewhere by the hot peppers. Most of them have a husk on the outside. Make sure to look them over. They should feel like a tomato. Sometimes I see some that have begun to mold… I don’t get the impression people flock to buy tomatillos, so some may have been sitting around for a while. They’re a bit sticky to the touch when you remove the husk, just fyi.

Salsa in a black bowl on top of a wooden table with tortilla chips in the background

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Course Snack
Yield 1 cup


  • 6 tomatillos
  • 1/2-1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed (omit entirely for mild salsa)
  • zest from 1/2 lime
  • 1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red or white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, more to taste
  • generous pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 avocado (optional for creamy salsa – I did not use)


  1. Preheat oven to broil with a rack about 4 inches below the heat source. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the husked tomatillos and jalapeño on the baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes; flip them over (tongs work best) and broil about 4-5 minutes more. The skins will begin to char and blister, but watch carefully to prevent then from completely burning.

  2. While the tomatillos cool, chop your cilantro, onion, and garlic. Zest and juice your lime(s).

  3. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor (including any juice from the roasted tomatillos) and pulse until mostly smooth and no big chunks remain.

  4. The salsa will thicken after a few hours in the refrigerator. For creamy avocado salsa, let it cool down before blending in the avocado.


Source: Recipe slightly adapted from The Love and Lemons Cookbook

What do you think?