How to Cook with Tomatillos

Sharon Palmer

Have you ever been to the farmers market and spotted little papery tomatillos and wondered what you might do with them? Welcome to the crowd! These small green veggies may be unfamiliar, but they are packed with flavor and nutrition. So, get to know them better, with my step by step guide on How to Cook with Tomatillos.

To prepare tomatillos, remove the papery husk, wash, and chop as desired. 

What Are Tomatillos?

Otherwise known as “tomate verde”, tomatillos are very familiar in Mexican cuisine. The vegetable looks like a small green tomato partially covered with a papery husk, but the flesh is denser and meatier than a tomato. They taste nothing like a tomato though; instead tomatillos offer a tart, citrusy flavor perfectly suited for Mexican dishes. At only 11 calories per tomatillo, these little veggies are a nutrition bargain, providing 7% DV of vitamin C, 3% DV fiber, and a variety of phytochemicals, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.

Tomatillos growing in the garden

Where Do You Find Tomatillos?

You can find these increasingly at your farmers market, as well as Latin supermarkets.

Just peel back the husk and use as desired.

How Can You Use Tomatillos?

You can use tomatillos raw in Mexican salsas and sauces, or roast them until they blacken to add to Latin dishes and sauces, such as enchiladas verde or an earthy bean and rice stew.

Slice tomatillos to roast in your favorite recipes.

How Do You Prepare Tomatillos?

To prepare tomatillos, remove the husk, rinse, and slice or chop them. You do not need to peel the outer skin. You can roast them in the oven with a flavorful sauce, or serve them as an exotic alternative to baked tomatoes. You can also chop them into salsas.

Roast them in the oven to use in recipes, like the Tomatillo Salsa recipe below.
Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa

12 ounces tomatillos
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, stems, leaves
2 small limes, juiced
1 jalapeno pepper
Salt, as desired.

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Remove the husk from the tomatillos and slice them in half. Place cut side down on a small baking sheet and place in the top rack of the oven. Roast until slightly golden and soft (about 10 minutes).
3. Place tomatillos with all other ingredients in the container of a blender and process until smooth.
4. Makes about 2 cups salsa.

Nutrition information per serving: 12 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 1 g protein

To make Tomatillo Salsa, place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth.

Chickpea Tomatillo Salad 

This salad is infused with aromatic herbs, lime juice, lemony tomatillos, earthy sun-dried tomatoes, crunchy sunflower seeds, and crisp parsley. It’s easy to mix up, and it’s rich in protein, too. Serve it with vegetable soup and whole grain bread or tortillas for the perfect plant-based meal. 

1   15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
½ red onion, sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced finely
1 pound tomatillos, dehusked, chopped
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
½ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 medium lime, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil reserved from sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon smoked red paprika
¼ teaspoon turmeric
Pinch salt (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Mix chickpeas, onion, pepper, tomatillos, sun-dried omatoes, parsley and sunflower seeds in a medium bowl.
2. In a small dish, whisk olive oil, cumin, smoked red paprika, turmeric, salt, and garlic together.
3. Stir dressing into salad and mix well. Chill until serving time.

Makes 8 servings

For other How to Guides for Plant Foods, check out some of my favorites:

How to Cook with Stinging Nettles
How to Make Homemade Seitan
How to Cook with Fresh Cranberries

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *