You Say Tomato and I Say….Tomatillo

With Cinco De Mayo right around the corner, I got the culinary urge to try something new in the kitchen with the kiddos.  We have been visiting our local Mexican grocery store almost every week lately,  and the last time we were there, I picked up a bag of tomatillos.

No, I didn’t spell tomatoes wrong.  I meant to say tomatillos.  You would pronounce that toe-mah-tee-ohs, in case you were wondering.  They are also known as husk tomatoes, jamberries, husk cherries, Mexican tomatoes or ground cherries.  

kids prepping tomatillos

Peeling the paper husks from the sticky tomatillo

While they can come in different colors, ours looked like little green unripe tomatoes, covered in a paper-like husk.  Once the husk is removed, there is usually a sticky film left on the fruit.  If you are storing or freezing them, you should wash them with a little bit of soapy water to remove the gunk.  I can be a little lazy in the kitchen, so I skipped that step for tonight’s recipe. The kids made quick work of dispatching the husks for me so that I could cut them in half and roast them.  That makes for a mighty fine salsa.

tomatillos for salsa

silly iPhone camera photo of tomatillos being prepped for salsa

I’ll share the recipe we used to make the salsa, although it is not traditional.  Unfortunately, I am one of the many cursed people to whom cilantro tastes like soap…so we left it out of the recipe.  And as usual, I adapted this recipe further, to increase the odds  that my kids would enjoy it. I left out the jalapeno, which would have contributed a deeper and richer flavor to the salsa.


Tomatillo Salsa
What’s Cooking with Kids

1 pound tomatillos
1/3 white onion, diced
1 lime
1/2 tsp. honey, agave nectar or sugar
salt, to taste
optional: handful of cilantro, jalapeno pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Gather your kids to help you pull off the papery husks from the tomatillos. Save the husks for your compost.
  3. Cut the tomatillos in half.
  4. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or a piece of foil.  Put the tomatillos onto the baking sheet, cut side down.
  5. Cut off 1/3 of an onion and cut it into chunks.  Put the onions on the baking sheet with the tomatillos.
  6. Roast the tomatillos and onions for 10 minutes.
  7. Put them into a food processor, along with the lime juice, salt, sweetener (of your choice).  If you enjoy the flavor of cilantro or want some heat from some peppers, add those too.
  8. Puree the mixture until the consistency is to your liking.
  9. Serve with tacos, enchiladas, chips, or tortillas.


Here are a few other tomatillo recipes from some of my favorite bloggers:

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7 Responses to You Say Tomato and I Say….Tomatillo

  1. Catherine says:

    I make salsa like this but raw and I add lots of garlic, onion, and a poblano pepper. It’s the best!!! I’m actually eating it with some black beans on chips for lunch (it’s a guilty pleasure kind of day)!

  2. This looks so good! I just bought some avocados to make guacamole for dinner… But, now I’m wishing I had grabbed some tomatillos instead. 🙂

  3. Amanda says:

    Such neat pics Michelle! Looks like a lot of fun. 🙂

  4. I like the mild flavor of tomatillo’s it’s a nice change from the traditional tomato salsas.

  5. I am a big fan of salsa and this version sounds incredibly delish!

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