These Tomatillo Recipes Bring Brightness to the Dinner Table

assortment of tomatillos

Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes but they are actually related to the Cape gooseberry. Their papery husks should be removed before eating. You may know these tart, refreshing fruits, which are a staple in Central American cuisine, from their starring role as the main ingredient in salsa verde. However, you'll also find them used as a pizza topping, a key ingredient in enchilada sauce, sliced thin and served with cheese, or grilled and served simply alongside seafood. Here, we're sharing our all-time favorite tomatillo recipes that go well beyond salsa. But fear not, salsa fanatics: There are recipes for that classic dip here, too.

Tomatillos are plentiful throughout the summer, up until the first frost. When shopping for this vibrant green fruit, choose small, firm, bright-green tomatillos with green to brownish-green husks that are more or less intact (it's okay if the husks are split, but they shouldn't be peeled off). Once you bring them home, you can keep tomatillos at room temperature for a few days, or up to a week in the refrigerator, stored in a paper bag. Leave the husks on until just before preparation.

When you cook with tomatillos, remove the husks, rinse them clean to remove the sap, and then dice, chop, or thinly slice them. We often sauté them with garlic and onions to soften them and bring out their flavor before puréeing them with other ingredients such as chile peppers and fresh herbs for a salsa. You'll become quickly acquainted with this husk tomato in no time at all as you cook through these recipes.

01 of 17

Tofu-Tomatillo Stew

tofu tomatillo stew
Con Poulos

Tomatillos are a summer ingredient, but this vegetarian recipe is proof that they also make a fantastic comforting soup for chillier days. They're blended with onions, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeño peppers; that purée then cooks with hominy and is topped with broiled tofu.

02 of 17

Cheesy Chicken-and-Corn Pizza

cheesy chicken-and-corn pizza
Lennart Weibull

We top homemade dough with pre-cooked torn chicken, spicy tomatillo salsa, fresh corn kernels, and grated Monterey Jack cheese for a fabulous Friday night pizza.

03 of 17

Enchiladas Suizas

enchiladas suizas topped with jalapenos and cilantro
Bryan Gardner

Tomatillos shine brightest when paired with lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeño peppers—and all four of these very green ingredients star in these cheese enchiladas.

04 of 17

Spring Ragout with Asparagus and Poached Eggs

spring ragout with asparagus and poached eggs
The Ingalls

Tomatillos are given a delicious treatment in this protein-packed vegetarian recipe that receives a yellow-green hue that's all thanks to an assortment of springtime vegetables, warm spices (coriander and cumin), and jammy poached eggs.

05 of 17

Chiles Rellenos Divorciados

stuffed poblanos in chiles rellenos divorciados
Lennart Weibull

Wow a dinner party crowd with this extra-special presentation of poblano peppers that are deep-fried, stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, and served alongside two kinds of salsa—charred-tomato and green tomatillo sauce.

06 of 17

Grilled-Chicken Tostadas with Tomatillo-Cilantro Salsa

chicken tostadas tomatillo cilantro salsa
Christopher Testani

Take Taco Tuesday to the next level with these crowd-friendly chicken tostadas. Spiced smashed kidney beans, a tomatillo salsa, shredded chicken, avocado, and shredded cabbage are all layered in tostada shells for a deliciously smoky and earthy meal.

07 of 17

Burrata with Tomatillos, Malabar-Spinach Buds, and Papalo

Burrata with Tomatillos, Malabar-Spinach Buds and Papalo
Jake Stangel

Creamy burrata cheese is often served with good-quality olive oil, tomatoes, a touch of flaky sea salt, and not much else. This recipe takes it in a different direction. The luxurious Italian cheese is paired with thinly sliced tomatillos, mild Malabar-spinach flower buds, and papalo leaves (scour the farmers' market for the latter two ingredients).

08 of 17

Tomatillo Guacamole

taco truck style guacamole
Chelsea Cavanaugh

Chopped tomatillos enliven an otherwise traditional guacamole. For an ultra silky-smooth dip, all of the ingredients are blended in a food processor rather than simply being mashed in a molcajete.

09 of 17

Tomatillo and Roasted Poblano Salsa

Grilled Ancho Shrimp Filling
Lisa Hubbard

This is no ordinary tomato salsa! It's dressed up with an entire pound of tomatillos and a roasted poblano pepper. The recipe yields two cups and is guaranteed to get the party started with chips, or as a sauce for enchiladas.

10 of 17

Pozole Verde

Bryan Gardner

The hearty pork-and-hominy stew, pozole, comes in red and green versions, depending on the chiles used. Here, a combination of tomatillos, poblano and jalapeño peppers, and plenty of fresh cilantro are blended together to form a smooth purée.

11 of 17

Smoky Chipotle Salsa

Johnny Miller

Serve it alongside chips, garnish tacos with it, or eat it with a spoon—we don't care how you serve this simple but flavor-packed salsa. Start by sautéing four tomatillos in a cast-iron skillet; once they've cooked down, purée them with garlic, chipotle chiles in adobo, and a little water for a smoky and satisfying salsa.

12 of 17

Green Chicken-Enchilada Pies

Bryan Gardner

Looking for a new way to serve chicken for dinner tonight? This recipe calls for store-bought mild tomatillo salsa, which is layered with corn tortillas, pre-cooked shredded chicken thighs, and coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese.

13 of 17

Tomatillo Mary

Johnny Miller

This ingenious twist on the classic Mary is slightly tarter. When tomatillos are puréed with cucumber and jalapeño, the juice takes on a gorgeous green color.

14 of 17

New Mexico Green-Chile Pozole

Marcus Nillson

This green version, with tart tomatillos, gets its heat from jalapeños. It also makes lavish use of garnishes: avocado, sliced onion, cilantro, and limes.

15 of 17

Shrimp and Snapper Ceviche with Tomatillos

Johnny Miller

Fresh tomatillos, along with lime, orange, and grapefruit, add a taste-bud-tingling zing to this seafood appetizer.

16 of 17

Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce


Try this bright and fresh-tasting sauce on our Cheese Enchilada Casserole.

17 of 17

Chicken Enchilada Casserole


Most enchiladas are dripping with cheese, but just a small amount of robust cotija scattered over fresh green enchilada sauce is enough to satisfy.

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