If you have 5 minutes and 5 ingredients, you can make a delicious, fresh salsa verde (salsa verde cruda) to top your Mexican favorites like tacos, tostadas, enfrijoladas, savory Mexican amaranth fritters, or to eat with crunchy tortilla chips! Never go back to store-bought salsa with this simple, delicious, recipe!
What is salsa verde?
Salsa verde literally translates to green (verde) sauce (salsa) in English. This raw salsa is made with tomatillos, onion, peppers, garlic, and salt, the same 5 ingredients, and quantities as my roasted version. There are plenty of different ways that you can customize this salsa! Most versions that I have seen use jalapeño or serrano peppers. Instead, I like to use habanero in my raw and roasted versions for extra spiciness and its unique flavor. Don’t be put off by this recipe if you are heat sensitive. The peppers can easily be swapped out for milder versions (like jalapeño or serrano) or removed entirely.
Raw vs. Roasted vs. Boiled
Salsa verde is prepared in a variety of ways depending on the region and how the salsa will be used.
A boiled version is used as the base sauce for enchiladas verdes, enchiladas suizas, traditional chilaquiles verdes, or simply as a salsa served as a condiment to the main meal. The ingredients are first boiled whole and then blended prior to use.
The roasted version brings out a sweetness to the ingredients and provides a charred outer skin resulting in an interesting texture and flavor in the final sauce. The ingredients are placed in a dry skillet or griddle and roasted over high-heat until the skins blacken. I love this version on my chilaquiles with roasted salsa verde!
A raw salsa verde is good in a different way. The ingredients are fresh and light. Plus, if you are in a hurry, raw salsa is fast and easy to make. It can be ready to go in the time needed to put the ingredients in a blender. I love a fresh salsa verde on crunchy taquitos, enfrijoladas, or with savory Mexican amaranth fritters.
Tips and Tricks
Use fresh, ripe ingredients
Maybe this tip is a given, but I thought it best to emphasize! Because this salsa is raw, the ingredients won’t change flavor through any cooking process. Therefore, they need to be super fresh and at their peak ripeness. Tomatillos should be firm and bright green. I peel back the husks to check for blemishes before buying. The habaneros should also have firm, shiny skins. Habaneros can range from green to orange-red in color. Any color will work here, although, in my experience, the orange and red varieties are spicier. I typically have white onions on hand and this is what I use most often in this salsa. I have used red onion here as well, although the resulting color of salsa is less green.
I find that tomatillos can be a bit acidic when raw. And you can’t tell an acidic tomatillo from a less acidic one just by looking at it. Once you blend your salsa and check it for salt, also check for acidity. If your mouth puckers from the sour taste, try adding a bit of sugar (about 1 teaspoon at a time), stir and taste again. Continue adding sugar, a little at a time, until the salsa is to your liking.
Why I love this salsa
I often make this salsa to accompany meals in our home. Here are the top reasons that I love this salsa!
Super fast to make…ready in the time needed to put the ingredients in the blender!
Easy and uncomplicated with only 5 total ingredients!
Totally customizable…interchange peppers, onions or even tomatoes for tomatillos for a red version. Add cilantro for delicious herbal flavor, lime juice for a citrusy boost, or avocado for extra creaminess!
Fresh, bright flavor that is PERFECT for my favorite Mexican dishes!
I hope that this easy salsa becomes one of your favorites!
Fresh Salsa Verde (Salsa Verde Cruda)
6 medium tomatillos. Husked, washed and cut into large chunks (about 1 pound, or 500g)
1/2 white onion, cut into large chunks (about 1/4 pound or 125g)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 habanero pepper
Salt to taste
Place ingredients in blender and blend to desired consistency (I prefer the salsa to be mostly blended, with small chunks of vegetables, but you could go chunkier or smoother depending on what you want to use it for)
Adjust salt if necessary.
If the salsa is too acidic, try adding sugar (1 teaspoon at a time) until the salsa is to your liking.