In Season Tomatilla Recipes

The tomatillo, also known as the Mexican husk tomato, is a plant of the nightshade family bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos originated in Mexico and were cultivated in the pre-Columbian era.

The essential ingredient in the green salsas of Mexican cuisine is not the tomato but the Tomatillo, a fruit with a citrusy sweet flavor. Dainty paper husks encase the Tomatillo, and by late summer, what seems like billions of fruits dangle from the Tomatillo plant’s branches.

Preparing Tomatillos for cooking or storage is easy. Just remove the papery husks and wash the sticky Tomatillo fruits inside. Tomatillos need no coring or seeding before being incorporated into your favorite recipe. To freeze, simply place washed, dry Tomatillo fruits in freezer bags and seal. Although Tomatillos are usually cooked, they can also be eaten raw. Garden-fresh Tomatillos add zest and unique flavor to hot sauces, salsas, and dips. Break out your favorite Mexican cookbook and try some new recipes, or use these ideas as inspiration.

Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa

Before we go on with these amazing recipes below, let’s start with the topping for chips, tacos and soups.

8 ounces (5 to 6 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
Fresh hot green chiles, to taste (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed
5 or 6 sprigs fresh cilantro (thick stems removed), roughly chopped
Scant 1/4 cup finely chopped onion


Roughly chop the tomatillos and the chiles. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos, chiles, cilantro and 1/4 cup water. Process to a coarse puree, then scrape into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually a generous 1/4 teaspoon.

Serve with fresh tortilla chips.

Yields 1 cup

Roasted Tomatillo Black Bean Tacos

Roasted Tomatillo and Black Bean Tacos


¾ lb. fresh whole Tomatillos, husks removed
1 small onion, cut into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)
1 small red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tbs. coarsely chopped cilantro, divided
1 ½ tsp. minced jalapeno pepper
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
4 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
1 small avocado, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
2 Tbs. queso fresco or feta cheese
¼ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed, optional
¼ cup low-fat sour cream, optional


Preheat oven to broil. Place oven rack 3 inches from heat source. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, and spread Tomatillos, onion, red bell pepper, and garlic on prepared baking sheet. Broil 12 minutes, or until Tomatillos are blistered and charred, and onion and bell pepper are softened and charred, tossing once halfway through cooking time.

Pulse garlic, 1 Tbs. cilantro, jalapeño, and Tomatillos 10 times in food processor, or until chunky. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss 1/4 cup Tomatillo sauce with black beans, red bell pepper, and onion.

Fill tortillas with black bean mixture, avocado, and queso fresco. Garnish with remaining cilantro and corn kernels, if desired. Serve remaining Tomatillo sauce and sour cream, if desired, on side.

Serves 6

Black Bean Tomatillo Corn Soup



1 poblano chili pepper (also called pasilla peppers)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped white onion
3/4 cup quartered, husked Tomatillos
1 2/3 cup corn kernels (2 medium ears of corn)
1 15-ounce can black beans, including the liquid
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 large tomato, chopped
1 2/3 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 avocados, sliced (1/2 avocado per bowl)
1/4 cup sour cream



Roast the poblano pepper under the broiler until the skin is blackened all over, turning the pepper as needed. Place in a paper bag for five minutes. Peel, chop off the top, open up and remove all the seeds. Coarsely chop and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and Tomatillos and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the corn kernels and sauté another two minutes.

Add the black beans and liquid, tomato puree, tomato, chopped roasted poblano, tomato, and broth. Simmer for 15 minutes and add the lime juice, salt and cayenne pepper.

Prepare the toppings: slice the lime into wedges, slice the avocados, chop the cilantro, and stir together the sour cream.

Serves 4

Tomatillo Bloody Mary



3 Tomatillos, husked, washed and cored
2 medium green tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 small cucumber
1 sprig each fresh cilantro
1 flat-leaf parsley
12 serrano chile, seeded
Kosher salt, to taste
3 oz. vodka
2 whole scallions, for garnish
2 lime wedges, for garnish



Combine Tomatillos, tomatoes, garlic, cucumber, cilantro, parsley, and chile in a blender; purée. Season with salt.

Fill 2 glasses with ice and pour in Tomatillo mixture and vodka. Add herbs and scallions to glass and garnish rims with lime wedges.

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