Fresh Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce, photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Fresh Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce

Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: cups

When I think about the many ways I can use this cilantro tomatillo sauce, there are too many to post! It is a versatile sauce that can be used for salads, marinades, rice dishes and even as a braising liquid. Just like tomatoes, chile peppers, onions and garlic, cilantro and tomatillos are a staple in my pantry. I love cooking with them so much, that I rarely am without. On this post I am sharing with you the variety of ways you can use this one sauce. With just a few adjustments, you can prepare all these tasty recipes for your family. I remove the pulp from the tomatillos because otherwise they release too much water. If using the sauce for a braising liquid, you could just leave the pulp in.


  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 4 tomatillos washed, remove pulp
  • 1/4 sweet onion or shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers removing seeds is optional and will cut the spiciness
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/3 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 teaspoon Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

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  1. The cilantro tomatillo sauce is great for fresh green salads, cabbage slaw, pasta or chicken salad. I like to add 1/3 cup of light mayonnaise, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt when I blend the sauce for a creamy finish. Make it really special by adding some fresh avocado too! Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in the blender or food processor. Blend on high until smooth, adjust seasonings to your taste. Store sauce in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
  1. When using the cilantro tomatillo sauce for rice, add 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon granules or chicken base when you blend the sauce. This will replace the liquid in your rice recipe. For long-grain white rice, I always measure 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice.
  1. For pork, beef or chicken. Double the amounts of dried herbs and olive oil when using for a meat marinade. Thinly sliced meat needs just a few hours to marinate and cooks quickly on a preheated grill pan or skillet. Great for grilled chicken, chops and steaks! The best tacos.
  1. For roasted vegetables or baked fries, double the amount of olive oil and add in 1 egg white. The egg white will create a crisp coating on the fries when baked. The sauce will cover 2½ to 3 pounds of potatoes or mixed vegetables for roasting. Roast or bake at 400ºF for 40 to 50 minutes.

Chef Notes

A pretty basic sauce with cilantro and tomatillo as the main ingredients...fresh-cilantro-tomatillo-sauce-basics

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