This fresh tomatillo salsa (salsa verde cruda) recipe is easy to make in 5 minutes with 100% raw ingredients, and tastes refreshingly light, sweet, and delicious!
A few years ago on our honeymoon in Mexico City, I fell head-over-heels in love with the city’s salsa verde cruda.
As in, green salsa made completely with raw (“cruda”) ingredients. ♡
By contrast to most salsas verdes that you find in the States, which are almost always made with roasted tomatillos, the raw salsas verdes that we were served in Mexico City tasted ultra-light and sweet and refreshing. Lucky for us, salsa verde cruda was served at almost every restaurant that we visited. But our hands-down favorite was the salsa verde from Contramar.
I actually bought a copy of Chef Gabriela Cámara’s cookbook after our meal just so that I could learn how to make this salsa when we went home. As it turns out, her recipe is incredibly simple. But it does include one fun trick to make the texture of this salsa even more light and crisp — adding in a bit of lettuce! We made a batch of it this week with and without the lettuce and can vouch that it really does make a lovely difference. And when served up with a batch of salty tortilla chips (or drizzled on tacos, burgers, kabobs, french fries, you name it), I’m telling you, this vibrant salsa verde is downright irresistible.
So bring home a bag of fresh tomatillos, and let’s blend up a quick batch together!
Fresh Salsa Verde Ingredients:
To make this fresh salsa verde recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
Fresh tomatillos: With their husks and stems removed. When shopping for tomatillos, look for those whose husks are more or less intact and whose fruit inside is bright green and firm.
Garlic cloves: I really recommend using fresh garlic for this recipe. But if you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of garlic powder in a pinch.
Jalapeño or serrano pepper: I really recommend adding in a whole jalapeño or serrano pepper withtheseeds, if you want this salsa to have the best flavor. But if you are averse to heat, feel free to seed the pepper before adding it to the salsa. (Or if you like a spicier salsa, feel free to use two peppers instead of one!)
Little gem lettuce (or Romaine): I borrowed this trick from Chef Gabriela Cámara. Adding a small head of little gem lettuce (with the end sliced off) or a large leaf of Romaine adds amazing texture to this salsa and freshens it up a bit. That said, if you don’t have any lettuce on hand, the salsa will still be delicious without it.
Lime: I used the juice of one lime in this salsa, but feel free to add more if you would like more of a citrusy kick.
Avocado: To add some extra creaminess to this salsa.
Cilantro: I like adding lots of cilantro to this recipe, but feel free to add more/less to taste.
White onion: Or you could sub in red or yellow onion — whichever you have on hand.
Water: Just a splash of water to help thin this salsa out a bit.
Fine sea salt: To bring out all of those delicious flavors.
Ground cumin: To add just a hint of earthy flavor.
How To Make Salsa Verde Cruda:
Easy breezy! To make this salsa verde cruda recipe, simply…
Season. Taste and season with extra salt, if needed. (Or you could also add in extra lime juice, cilantro, or cumin, if you think it needs more.)
Serve. Then serve it up right away with a big bowl or tortilla chips, drizzle it on some tacos, spread it on your burgers — whatever sounds good!
Basically all of the ingredient amounts in this salsa verde recipe can be adjusted to taste, if you would like to make your salsa more spicy/mild, citrusy, garlicky, etc. So feel free to tinker around with the amounts and find the balance that tastes best to you. Otherwise, feel free to also…
Add in a bit of sweetener: The tomatillos naturally make this salsa a bit sweet, but feel free to add in a drizzle of honey or agave (or a pinch of sugar) if you would like to make this salsa even sweeter.
Omit the lettuce: As mentioned above, if you don’t happen to have any lettuce on hand, you can just leave it out.
More Favorite Salsa Recipes:
Looking for some more great salsa recipes? Here are a few of my faves:
Incredible!!Thank you for this. I LOVE green salsa and have made it before, but this one is fabulous.
I live in London UK and it’s impossible to get tomatillos.
Would tomatoes work in the salsa?
This sounds so delicious! Will definitely try it soon! Thank you for sharing!
We made this to go along with our steak tacos tonight, and WOW! So delicious! Both my kids loved it, too. Thank you for a fabulous recipe.
This was soooooo good. Def going to be on our regular rotation this summer!
So refreshing and delicious. Definitely will be making this again and again!
I made this salsa verde cruda this weekend and it is so fresh tasting and delicious, and way easier than I expected! Thank you for this awesome recipe… love the story behind it too! Love your blog!!
I make my Salsa Verde pretty much the same but with the addition of pepitas (pumpkin seeds), Mexican oregano, cilantro and radish greens or mustard greens. I do not use lime juice as I feel it covers up the flavor of the Tomatillos. I do not ever add avocado, but have made it with nopales (Prickly pear paddles). For a smoky flavor, I sometimes roast the tomatillos over mesquite wood. The salsa seems to mellow with age, so if I am not going to use it right away, I will make it extra hot. It . If you bring it to a simmer and pour the hot salsa into sterilized 8oz. mason jars, it will keep for many months on a shelf ( be sure the jars are properly sealed). The salsa is excellent with chicken, pork or eggs and makes fantastic chilaquiles.