Avocado tomatillo salsa is neither guacamole or Mexican salsa verde. It’s its own thing, and it is the best of both worlds.
Tart from the tomatillos, creamy from the avocado, and as picante or mild as you want it. I vary the heat according to my mood, and you can, too. This is a great salsa for fish tacos or arrachera tacos.
First things first: Avocado tomatillo salsa is not guacamole because that salsa has no tomatillos, nor is is a traditional Mexican salsa verde because that doesn’t have avocado. Instead, this is a sort of hybrid.
It can be smooth or chunky, and either completely raw or a mix of raw and cooked ingredients.
You’ll either toss everything in a blender and call it a day — I do this on hot days — or roast the tomatillos and chiles and add that to the raw ingredients in the blender. If you want a more textured salsa, crush everything in a molcajete or mortar and pestle, or chop fine and muddle it all up in a steel bowl with a spoon.
My favorite way to make avocado tomatillo salsa is to use roasted green chiles like a Hatch (Anaheim) or poblano, roasted tomatillos and lots of fresh avocado, cilantro and lime juice. I like garlic so I add a raw clove, but you can roast it if you want, or leave out the garlic entirely.
Some variations and ingredient notes that will help you out:
- You want avocados that are fully ripe, even with a few blemishes. Underripe, hard avocados are not good here. Use those in something like my caldo tlalpeño recipe.
- Tomatillos can be of whatever variety, either the big supermarket ones, or my favorite, the little tomatillos de milpa. I grow them, but you can find these little guys at most Latin markets.
- Ditto for the green chiles. I prefer hot Hatch chiles, roasted by hand. Poblanos are my second choice. But any roasted green chile will do, even canned ones. Don’t want to roast chiles? Skip them and use hot green chiles instead — anything from jalapenos to serranos or even green chiltepins or pequins if you are a hot head.
- Roasting the garlic with the tomatillos and chiles mellows it out, so if you don’t like raw garlic, do this instead. Roasting will let you use more garlic, too.
- I like this with green onions, but you can use chopped white onion if that’s what you have.
- You can vary things up by using alternate herbs instead of cilantro like pipicha, papaloquelites, huacatay, hoja santa or even epazote. Each will give you a different effect. If you have access to culantro, that will taste almost exactly like cilantro and is in fact native to Central America.
I mostly use avocado tomatillo salsa on chips as a snack, but as I mentioned it is great on fish or lobster tacos, carne asada or basically anything you’d like. I would pair this with a hot salsa like my salsa de chile de arbol or my salsa morita, so people have a choice. And if you are roasting vegetables anyway, go ahead and make my fire roasted salsa, too.
Once made, avocado tomatillo salsa will keep a few days in the fridge. Cover the salsa directly with plastic wrap to keep it from discoloring. Serve at room temperature or a little cooler.
Avocado Tomatillo Salsa
- 5 large tomatillos or a dozen small ones, husked and halved
- 2 Hatch chiles, or Anaheim or poblano chiles
- 6 green onions, roughly chopped
- 2 or 3 avocados, pitted and skins removed
- 1 or 2 unpeeled garlic cloves (see below)
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- Lime juice and salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F as you are husking the tomatillos and chopping the other ingredients. Don't mess with the avocados just yet.
- When the oven is hot, put the halved tomatillos and the chiles on a baking sheet and roast until the tomatillos have some blackening, and the chile skins are well blackened on all sides. The tomatillos may take less time than the chiles. If you want roasted garlic, add this with the chiles and tomatillos and remove when partially blackened. All this should take about 20 minutes or so.
- ALTERNATE METHOD: You can char the chiles directly on a gas flame or grill. I prefer this method, but it involves constantly moving the chiles to evenly blacken.
- When things are well charred, put the tomatillos in a blender, peel the garlic and put the cloves in the blender, and remove the skin, stem and seeds of the chiles and put the chiles in the blender, too. Add the cilantro, green onions and avocado to the blender, along with some salt and about 1 tablespoon of lime juice. (NOTE: If you like raw garlic, you can skip the roasting step and just add a peeled clove right to the blender.)
- Puree everything and add more salt or lime juice to taste.
- ALTERNATE METHOD: You can make this a raw salsa by skipping all the cooking steps and simply pureeing everything in the blender. This takes seconds and is great for making this salsa on a hot day.
Variations and Keys to Success
- You want fully ripe avocados, even with a few blemishes. Underripe, hard avocados are not good here.
- Tomatillos can be either the big supermarket ones, or the little tomatillos de milpa.
- I prefer hot Hatch chiles, roasted by hand. Poblanos are my second choice. But any roasted green chile will do, even canned ones. Don't want to roast chiles? Skip them and use anything from jalapenos to serranos or even green chiltepins or pequins.
- Roasting garlic with the tomatillos and chiles mellows it, so if you don't like raw garlic, do this instead.
- I use green onions, but you can use chopped white onion.
- You can vary things by using alternate herbs instead of cilantro like pipicha, papaloquelites, huacatay, hoja santa or even epazote. If you have access to culantro, that will taste almost exactly like cilantro.