Salsa Verde

I married a Mexican. Well, half Mexican, half Colombian…the point is, we eat a lot of Mexican food. I’m talkin’ probably 75% of the time, dinner is tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, nachos, tostadas, chilaquiles, or guacamole with totopos.

Mexican food is simple, quick, tasty, and very healthy. You can easily incorporate lots of plants; shredded greens, pico de gallo, sauteed veggies, and chopped avocado work magnificently with any meal. Of course, beans are almost always a requirement and a great way to add fiber and protein to your plate.

While it’s easy to make healthy Mexican food, remember to avoid the traditional unhealthy stuff, such as white flour tortillas, fried chips, fatty cheese, sour cream, red meat, and the worst offender of all: LARD. If you have to eat any of it, do so in moderation! There are all kinds of great substitutes out there, so make use of them. We like whole wheat flour tortillas and corn tortillas, which can be eaten soft or baked for tostadas or nachos. I’ve found that if you pile your plate with enough greens, tomatoes, pico de gallo, guacamole, beans, salsa, and other delicious veggies, you won’t even miss the cheese or sour cream!

I’ve become a pro at scraping a Mexican meal together with just the bare minimum ingredients. Grilled seitan with onions, corn tortillas, and salsa can be sufficient for an enjoyable dinner. But if there’s one thing you simply cannot do without, it’s salsa. You can work around the other meal components, but salsa is a necessity. Salsa gives a touch of heat and burst of flavor. Without salsa, those grilled seitan and onion tacos would be dry, bland, and one-dimensional, but salsa gives it that kick and – voila!- it becomes a delicious meal.

Y’all should know me well enough by now to know that I don’t eat many things from cans, boxes, or jars, so our salsa is always homemade. Store-bought salsa is probably one of the healthier things you can buy in a jar, but honestly, you have no idea what you’re missing. Once you’ve tasted the homemade stuff you will never go back. I could slurp it up with a spoon. Or drink it from the jar. Gross.

Okay, enough of my rambling. Here it is, the best salsa I’ve ever made!

Salsa Verde (Green Sauce)

10 – 15 tomatillos (green tomatoes)
3 medium serranos (more or less, depending on desired spiciness)
3 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (more or less, to taste – I use more!)
Salt, to taste

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400. Remove the dry, loose outer peel and wash the tomatillos. Arrange them on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish.


Step 2: Roast them for at least 30 minutes, but longer is better. The flavor will be better if you let them bake until they look almost burnt. Actually, the absolute best-tasting salsa is made by grilling the tomatillos on a charcoal grill, but I really wasn’t going to go through all that trouble at 10pm.

These guys baked for about 45 minutes. I would have preferred to cook them longer, but my kitchen was a sauna at this point and there’s only so long that I can bake myself at 400 degrees.

Step 3: Cut off the hard stem part on top of the tomatillos (you don’t really want that in your salsa). The reason you don’t cut them off before baking is so that the tomato juice can’t escape, although some of the tomatoes will “explode” in the oven, as you can see happened to the deflated-looking ones above.

Step 4: Grill the serranos and unpeeled garlic cloves in a dry frying pan until thoroughly blackened.
Step 5: Peel the garlic and take the stems off the serranos. Put the tomatillos, garlic, serranos, cilantro, and a few sprinkles of salt in the blender and blend until smooth.

That’s all there is to it – so simple, yet so flavorful! This can go on anything, and believe me, you’re going to want to put this on everything!

What’s your favorite healthy Mexican meal?

~ Becky, una chica Skinnyfat

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  1. Rose

     /  September 12, 2011

    Yum, I am going to try this!

  2. Pricila H

     /  September 12, 2011

    I am a Mexicana and I hate that people are so scared of manteca (lard) It has half the amount of saturated fat that butter has. It is a lot better than the highly processed margarine/like products. Everything in moderation. It adds such a lovely richness too.

    lovely recipe!

  3. I am not Mexican and I am not married to one either, but I can eat salsa every day of my life.

    I am try this one out. I love tomatillos but have only used them raw.

  4. Casey

     /  September 15, 2011

    That looks delicious! I actually have never seen a recipe for salsa verde. Thanks for providing one!

  5. avonlady10

     /  September 18, 2011

    Does pico de gallo count? I love it’s freshness and chunkyness (is that even a word?). Anyway, it is fabulous on everything from eggs to hotdogs. I love your pics, they really help with staying on track when making the salsa.


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