Tomatillos: Taco Tuesday’s Unsung Hero

I know that I have mentioned this several times before, but one of my favorite things about being a Seasonal Roots member is the opportunity to learn about, experiment with, and try new foods with my family that we would probably not pick out on our own that the grocery store. This week’s basket was full of many familiar faces in addition to a bonus “newbie”: Tomatillos.  I literally had no idea what these interesting little guys were. Thankfully, one of my fellow Market Managers was willing and able to fill me in and offer some advice on cooking and preparation. Thank you, Lisa!


In case you have also been in the dark, tomatillos are small husked fruits that originated in Mexico and are a member of the nightshade family. If you are a fan of authentic Mexican food you have likely sampled tomatillos, as they are a key ingredient in many Mexican and Central-American dishes. Salsa Verde, Enchiladas Verdes, and Guacamole Taquero are just a few examples of popular dishes that allow the tomatillo’s green color and tart flavor to shine through.

I admit that I was a little embarrassed about my lack of familiarity with this ingredient since our family absolutely LOVES Mexican food, and I am positive that we have eaten dishes that contain tomatillos on more than one occasion. I’m not sure what I thought the “green stuff” was, but now we all know.

We decided to play it safe with our first family tomatillo culinary experience by making a Salsa Verde. It was easy to make, had great flavor, and the leftovers can be used to dress up a fish dish that we have planned for later on in the week. Taco Tuesday just got a little more real in our house, y’all.

tomatillos 3

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Recipe by Kimberly Binning


1 pound tomatillos, husked

½ cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 serrano Chile pepper, minced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 ½ – 2 cups water (depending on desired consistency)

Lime juice


  1. Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and Chile pepper into a saucepan. Season with cilantro, oregano, cumin, and salt. Pour in water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a medium-low and simmer until the tomatillos are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Using a food processor or blender, carefully puree the mixture in batches until smooth. Stir in freshly squeezed lime juice to taste. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, as a topping for enchiladas, or to dress up fish or chicken.

Sarah Young is a wife, mother of three, Certified Health Education Specialist, and healthy living advocate. She has a background in Dietetics and a B.S. in Health, Fitness, and Recreational Resources with a concentration in Health Promotion. She is also a writer for several local and online publications, an ambassador for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, and a health contributor for ABC 7 News/WJLA. In her spare time, she enjoys running, hiking, gardening, and spending time with her family and their dog, Maple.