Green Enchilada Sauce (or Roasted Tomatillo Salsa) recipe

by katerina on September 28, 2009

I absolutely love enchiladas, so with my second batch of tomatillos, one of the things I was determined to make were enchiladas verde, or green enchiladas. Since I have no ability to make authentic Mexican food I usually just stuff my enchiladas with whatever sounds good or we have around at the time. The reason I believe this works is a really yummy enchilada sauce made from scratch. Typically I make the standard red variety, or salsa roja, in big batches and freeze it. My experience with the canned stuff is that it tastes metallic, so I generally don’t make enchiladas unless I can make the sauce from scratch.

Tomatillo Salsa

Since the recipe I swear by is from a Mark Bittman cookbook, I also used his recipe for the roasted tomatillo salsa and green enchilada sauce. The tomatillos were a little more mild after being cooked, and were delicious in the sauce with the roasted poblano chilies. The sauce was also a nice condiment in general and I used the leftovers on a variety of vegetables and sandwiches until it was used up.

Green Tomatillo Sauce

Beware, I have a lot of tomatillos, you will likely see more tomatillo recipes from me in the next week or two!

Print Recipe

Green Enchilada Sauce

(makes 1 1/2 cups)
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

6-8 medium tomatillos, husked and washed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 mediumlarge poblano chile
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 lime juiced

First roast the chiles and tomatillos: Preheat the broiler and put the chile on a baking sheet under the broiler. Broil until black and blistering on all sides, turning as needed. Remove from oven and place in a ziploc bag, or a bowl covered tightly with saran. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then remove and peel. Discard skin, core and seeds.

Heat oven to 450F and place tomatillos on a sheet pan. Roast until lightly browned on one side (about 5 minutes), turn and roast until evenly browned and starting to blister.

Make salsa: If you want to make a chunky salsa (rather then a sauce for enchiladas), chop the tomatillos and chilies as desired. Otherwise just chop in half reserving the juices. Heat a sauce pan until medium and add oil, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring regularly for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add tomatillos, chile, oregano, water or stock, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to an easy simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened, stirring regularly. Stir in cilantro and lime. If you are planning to use for enchiladas put in a blender or food processor and give a few pulses.

Calories(approximate per serving): 250

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Hungry Dog September 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Your sauce looks so pretty! I made a tomatillo sauce recently for chile verde–toasting the tomatillos in a dry pan on the stove and the blending it in the food processor. Your has more flavorings…love Mark Bittman!


Katerina September 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Dry toasting is a good idea, thanks!


Sylvie September 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Anything Mexican will always put a smile on my face.


Angelique October 15, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Deeeeee-licious! Can't wait to make that sauce!
xoxo Angelique


Anthony December 16, 2009 at 4:30 am

Just made this. My mom ad sister both LOVED it! Better then the really good canned green sauce


Katerina December 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Anthony – sooo glad it worked out for you! I was impressed how much better it was then the canned stuff too. It didn't have that tinny flavour.


Misty June 2, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I just made it, but used serranos instead of a poblano so it was spicy. Soooo good, I can’t wait to have my leftovers at work tomorrow, THANK YOU!!!


katerina June 3, 2010 at 8:14 am

Misty – I am THRILLED that you enjoyed the recipe! It is one of my favorites. You should try teh red enchilada sauce too, whenever i take the time to make them I also enjoy leftovers for days. I just hope my inlaws plant tomatillos again this year!


paul March 10, 2011 at 9:12 pm

my girlfriend and i tried your recipe and it turned out brilliantly. we substituted roasted hatch green chiles for the poblano and used less cilantro. thanks


katerina March 11, 2011 at 9:07 am

paul – I am so glad you enjoyed it, I will have to try that substitution next time!


Stacie November 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Great base receipe thanks so much


Mike May 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I made this tonight and I have to say, it was one of the better enchiladas verdes I’ve eaten at home or in a restaurant. Sometimes green sauces are way too tangy and acidic for me but roasting the tomatillos really minimized that while bringing out some great new flavors in them. Thanks for putting this up.


katerina May 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Glad you enjoyed it!


Amanda August 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

My family has a weekly “taco night” and this week I decided I would do enchiladas instead of tacos. My whole family devours my enchiladas when I make them but I prefer the salsa verde over the red sauce unlike everyone else in my house so at minimum I have to have both. I decided i’d make my own salsa verde for the first time & use the canned red sauce to save time. The green sauce came out SO PERFECT I was totally bummed I didnt make the red sauce from scratch – I’m not a corner cutter when I cook but occasionally can be reluctant to try new recipes since I rarely follow a recipe when I cook, it’s always a handful here, pinch there, etc…This was better than any salsa verde I’ve ever had and we live in a spanish/mexican neighborhood in Brooklyn! I did roast the tomatillos in the broiler, not the oven with no problem, added more cilantro (of course didn’t measure, so wouldnt be able to tell you how much – 1 1/2 big handfuls…?, but I love cilantro) and would probably add a Serrano to the recipe to make it a little spicier for my taste – but this is traditionally a mild sauce so I think this is a perfect recipe to work with! Great job.


katerina August 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

Thanks Amanda, so glad it worked! I need to work on a good red sauce from scratch recipe too. I prefer green sauce myself.


Susan May 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm

so easy and the flavor is great


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