Recipe – Salsas Verde y Roja

As promised yesterday I am posting recipes for ‘Salsa Verde’ and ‘Salsa Roja’, two staples of the Mexican tables. Wherever you go, whether home or restaurant, when you sit down to eat there are both salsas sitting on the table. Both are very similar in nature and are a nice spicy condiment to use at you discretion to spice up your meal or to use as a dip for bread or ‘totopos’. The salsas are named for their colors, and the difference between the two is the main ingredients. The ‘Verde’ uses ‘tomatillos’ a green ground tomato, and the ‘Roja’ uses tomatoes.

There are many methods of preparing these salsas and they can be made with raw ingredients or cooked, they can be chopped finely or made in the blender. For raw salsas you simply put the ingredients in a blender and pulse until you have the consistency you wish. For cooked salsas the procedure varies with the actual cook. You can grill the chiles and the ‘tomatillos’ or tomatoes on a very hot ‘comal’, a circular sheet of metal that you put directly on a stove’s burner or over coals. Once the skin is burned, you peel them and prepare as usual. An alternative is to chop and cook them in oil then add the chopped onions and garlic. You can also blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes and then peel them before chopping or blending the mixture. With all of the cooked version the cilantro is added once cooked and then you salt to taste.

I specify chiles jalapeños for the recipes, but the salsas are also commonly made with chile Serranos, or with a variety of dried chiles like anchos, chipotles, pasillas, guajillos, or whatever type of chile that the cook prefers. I am posting here a simple raw version of the salsas, but you can experiment with cooking the main ingredients and with different chiles. I normally prefer most red salsas, and Normita’s passion is the green ones. Have fun experimenting with those salsas and leave in the comments your favorite variations.


1/2 pound of ‘tomatillos’ if you decide to make ‘salsa verde’
1/2 pound of plum tomatoes if you decide to make ‘salsa roja’
2 chile jalapeños or to taste
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
salt to taste


1. Cut tomatillos or tomatoes in quarters and place in blender or food processor.
2. Cut chiles in half and remove the seeds and membrane add to the blender.
3. Cut the onion in quarters and add to the blender.
4. Add the peeled garlic cloves to the blender.
5. Pulse the blender or food processor until you have a coarse salsa.
6. Add cilantro and pulse briefly.
7. Add salt to taste.


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