Tuesday, July 27

Roasted tomatillo salsa

I saw this basic recipe in a salsa cookbook at my brother-in-law's house seven years ago. I haven't seen the recipe since the first few times I made it, but it's so simple and fantastically delicious that you'll remember it too.

With only five main ingredients (not including salt or the optional jalapeños), it's easy to roast up the tomatillos, onions and garlic while cooking dinner or another more involved dish. If you like mild, start with no jalapeños and one chipotle pepper. If you like spicy, use two of each!


Roasted tomatillo salsa

vegan, gluten-free


  • 10-12 tomatillos, whole, de-husked and washed
  • 10-12 garlic cloves, skins on
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, whole (optional)
  • 1 or 2 peppers plus 1 tbsp sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Place all of the tomatillos in a frying pan (preferably non-stick) on medium. Flip after about 5 minutes, when the bottoms are just dark brown. Once the tops are browned (about 3 minutes), turn each tomatillo onto a side. By the fourth side, the tomatillos should be starting to break down a little. Don't worry if they split or juice runs out. Once they're no longer bright green and cooked through, remove them to the blender or food processor.
  • Put the onion in the pan, placing the garlic cloves in between. Also add the jalapeños if using, making sure to brown on two or three sides. Turn garlic once the bottoms brown, 3-5 minutes. Onion will take longer. Once the second side of the garlic cloves have browned, take them out and put them aside. They'll continue gently cooking as they cool. Once both sides of the onions are browned and soft, remove them (and the jalapeños once they're done) to the blender.
  • Pour the water into the pan, with the heat still on. Add the chipotle peppers. Use a wooden spoon to break up the peppers and to scrape up the brown bits in the pan-- they'll add an amazing smoky flavor. Once the water comes to a simmer, turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into the blender.
  • Peel and add the garlic, adobo sauce, cilantro, and salt. Blend on medium til smooth, test for salt, and adjust to taste. If you added 2 chipotles or the jalapeños, be warned that it will continue to increase in heat as it cools!

Photos, original recipes and text © Susan Kelley 2012. All rights reserved. Please credit me and link back to this site, or ask first.

Always read ingredient labels carefully (and re-read periodically) to make sure that products actually are vegan and/or gluten-free.