The Many Faces of Salsa Verde

In Spanish and Italian, salsa verde (“green sauce”) sound pretty much the same. On the plate, however, it varies dramatically. In Northern Italy, it’s an herb-laden spread, almost a condiment, while in Mexico, salsa verde is usually based on tomatillos, either cooked or raw. Here’s our recipe roundup for both styles, with a few tasty applications.

1. Salsa Verde

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Northern Italy’s salsa verde is a textured, pestolike condiment. Flat-leaf parsley anchors it, capers play a supporting role, and shallot, garlic, mustard, and red wine vinegar all have parts to play. Naturally, olive oil binds them all into a cohesive (and plausibly pourable) sauce. Get our Salsa Verde recipe.

2. Tomatillo Salsa

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Mexico’s salsa verde takes a few different forms, but this one—boiled tomatillos, blended or pounded in a molcajete with fresh green chiles, garlic, and cilantro—is common. It’s the quintessential table salsa, scooped up in chips, spooned onto tacos, or plopped into soups. Get our Tomatillo Salsa recipe.

3. Easy Tomatillo Sauce

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A simmered version of the previous recipe. Tomatillos combine with green chiles, cilantro, onion, garlic, and chicken broth. This is the sauce to spoon onto enchiladas suizas or chilaquiles, where the fresh, tangy-green flavor balances the richness of cheese, crema, and meats. Get our Easy Tomatillo Sauce recipe.

4. Roasted Cauliflower with Salsa Verde

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A two-part recipe. First, you make a salsa verde that’s slightly more complex than the one above (it adds fresh basil, lemon, and dried oregano). Second, you roast cauliflower at high heat, then drizzle with the sauce. Get our Roasted Cauliflower with Salsa Verde recipe.

5. Raw Tomatillo Salsa

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An alternate version of the tomatillo table salsa, above. Instead of boiling, the tomatillos are diced raw, mixed with onion, chile, cilantro, and a spritz of lime—arguably the freshest salsa verde on the block. Get our Raw Tomatillo Salsa recipe.

6. Salsa Verde and Chicken Jalapeño Poppers

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Here’s an added-value recipe—straight-up jalapeño poppers, filled with cream cheese, shredded or chopped cooked chicken, cilantro, and the foundation Mexican salsa verde recipe above. It’s a wonderfully zesty application of one of our favorite sauces. Get our Salsa Verde and Chicken Jalapeño Poppers recipe.

7. Pork Tenderloin with Salsa Verde

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This easy weeknight pork dish is one of the nicest recipes for Italian salsa verde we know. Make a parsley-and-caper-laden salsa verde, then spoon it generously over a butterflied, marinated, and broiled tenderloin. Get our Pork Tenderloin with Salsa Verde recipe.

8. Chiles Rellenos Strata

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Here’s the perfect way to highlight that batch of Raw Tomatillo Salsa you’ve made. Assemble and bake this strata of fresh poblano chiles, sourdough bread, and eggs, then crown it with spoonfuls of sour cream and super-fresh salsa verde. Get our Chiles Rellenos Strata recipe.

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