Everyday Eats & Sweets / Recipes

Roasted Green Tomato Salsa Verde

Roasted green tomato salsa verde

Before we moved out of our home in Southern California, we had a long list of garden chores that included clearing out the “weedy” tomatoes that had volunteered freely in our lower yard (weeds that I’m deeply missing now that we’re in Central Oregon, and tomatoes don’t volunteer in early spring anymore).

I harvested over a hundred pounds of ripe fruits for tomato sauce and sun-dried tomatoes (that I made in the oven), then tossed the spent plants into a big pile to be broken down and taken to our compost heap.

But there were still some unripe tomatoes lingering on the vines, so I decided to rescue the green ones, as it seemed like such a waste to let them go.

Green, unripe tomatoes

By that point, I was all green tomato pickled out (especially since I was still working through a few jars of green tomato pickles from last summer), so I wanted to experiment with a more savory recipe.

Related: Bacon, Chicken, and Green Tomato Soup

Green, unripe tomatoes (like tomato leaves) are perfectly edible. They don’t have the nutritional density of fully ripe tomatoes, and are usually more acidic than mature fruits, but they’re still delicious given the right recipe.

In the early stages when they’re firm and pale, green tomatoes have hints of tomatillo flavor on my taste buds — tangy, almost citrusy.

Eaten straight off the vine, green tomatoes aren’t all that inspiring if you’re used to juicy, summer-ripened tomatoes. They’re certainly not juicy, and if they were hit with frost right before you picked them, their texture turns mealy or mushy rather quickly.

Basket of green cherry tomatoes harvested from the garden

But they easily take on the flavor of whatever they’re cooked with, so I thought… Why not substitute green tomatoes for tomatillos in one of my favorite condiments, salsa verde?

In my version of that traditional recipe, I roast my tomatillos to deepen the flavor and add some smokiness as a counterpoint to their sour profile.

I tried the same broiling technique with my green tomatoes, then prepared the salsa verde exactly as I have countless times before with jalapeño, onion, cilantro, garlic, and cumin. (These ingredients are the basis of my tomato salsa as well.)

The result: a new end-of-season staple for me!

Roasted green tomato salsa verde is bright and tangy with a little heat, and goes down easy with a bag of chips and an ice-cold beer.

I like my salsa a little chunky for dipping, but for pouring over meats, vegetables, and enchiladas, I prefer to blend all the ingredients together to make a smoother sauce.

What other ways do you like to use salsa verde?

Green tomato salsa verde

Green Tomato Salsa Verde

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

1 pound green, unripe tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 jalapeño, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of 1/2 lime

Instructions

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them in a baking dish. (If using smaller varieties — say, 2 inches or less in diameter — you can leave the tomatoes whole.)

Add a generous drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Spread the tomatoes across the baking dish and broil for about 15 minutes until the skins are nicely charred on top and the fruits have started to collapse. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside to slightly cool.

Roasted green tomatoes

Add the tomatoes, jalapeño, and garlic to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, then stir in the onion, cilantro, cumin, and lime juice. If desired, add salt to taste.

Roasted green tomatoes in salsa verde
Yield: 2 cups

Roasted Green Tomato Salsa Verde

Roasted green tomato salsa verde

Unripe green tomatoes take the place of tomatillos to make a bright, tangy salsa with a hint of heat.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green, unripe tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Instructions

  1. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them in a baking dish.
  2. Add a generous drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  3. Spread the tomatoes across the baking dish and broil for about 15 minutes until the skins are nicely charred on top and the fruits have started to collapse. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside to slightly cool.
  4. Add the tomatoes, jalapeño, and garlic to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, then stir in the onion, cilantro, cumin, and lime juice. If desired, add salt to taste.

Notes

If using smaller varieties of green tomatoes — say, 2 inches or less in diameter — you can leave the tomatoes whole.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 118mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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This post updated from an article that originally appeared on November 18, 2017.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »

8 Comments

  • Paul Whitt
    November 15, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Too much cumin for my taste. Half would be ok.

    Reply
  • Denise D Howard Clatt
    November 15, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Can this recipe be canned? If so, hot water bath or pressure canner?

    Reply
  • Anne Craige
    November 15, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Can you use green cherry tomatoes?

    Reply
  • Stephanie
    November 15, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    How long can this keep for? Wondering how else to prolong the life of my green tomatoes. Has anyone tried freezing green tomatoes?

    Reply
  • robWeever
    November 15, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Tomorrow i’m making this salsa and 2 of your 4 green tomato pickles: garlic and dill and the other is the curried variation . fall is here and i’ve got a ton of a variety of hot peppers that i will slice and pickle in the same 2 pickling spice mixtures. Thanks much!

    Reply
  • Silly little sheep
    December 3, 2017 at 2:51 am

    It looks fantastic! I will definitely try this next year if there are any green tomatoes left at the end of the season.

    Reply
  • Peggy Zortman
    November 19, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Wonderful idea! Our tomatoes did not do well. We didn’t have a lot of ripe or unripe! Here’s to next year and many batches of green tomato salsa verde. Hope you are nesting into your new digs.

    Reply
    • Linda of Garden Betty
      December 1, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      Yep, there’s always next year! And the great thing about recipes like this is that gives us hope when a crop doesn’t turn out as well as we’d hoped. 😉

      Reply

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