Batch cooking: Salsa verde recipe and 7 ways to use it for a week of dinners

Table of Contents Cooked Green Salsa (Salsa Verde Cocida)INGREDIENTSSTEPSNUTRITION INFORMATIONSuggested recipes:ChilaquilesCheesy Chicken EnchiladasMexican-Style Shrimp CasseroleAsparagus

When we talk about batch cooking, it’s easy to limit your thinking to the “protein.” That, of course, can mean actual meat — a roast chicken, brisket, pork butt — or any other hearty starring ingredient, such as a tray of roasted vegetables or, as Food editor Joe Yonan showed us as part of our big-batch series in 2020, a pot of beans. My contribution to the bunch was a no-knead olive oil dough great for focaccia, pizza and even cinnamon rolls, but I also appreciated deputy editor Ann Maloney’s contribution: a pantry-friendly tomato sauce.

In my opinion, sometimes the best part of a meal is the sauce (see: Simple Butter Chicken, Spicy Red Shakshuka), so I wanted to revisit Ann’s concept with a different recipe. Turns out we had a winner all set and ready to go in our archives: Cooked Green Salsa (Salsa Verde Cocida).

[These saucy dishes demand a hunk of good bread to sop up every last drop]

This recipe from “Truly Mexican” by Roberto Santibañez (his “Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales” is another gem worth checking out) is featured as one of the selections in our Essential Cookbooks newsletter. And with good reason. It’s a gotta-go-back-for-more combination of tart, spicy and bright flavors and requires nothing more than a pot and blender to make. Easy, flavorful, colorful — you’d be hard-pressed to beat that combination.

Salsa verde is just the kind of sauce around which you can center an entire dinner, from simple to sophisticated. Tell me you haven’t ever made dinner of chips and salsa! You’ll be off to a good start with this recipe. Want something a bit more involved? Combine the chips and salsa with some good cheese for a platter of satisfying chilaquiles, which you’ll find below, along with a few other expected and unexpected options.

[8 salsa recipes, including spicy, cooked and fruity combinations]

The salsa recipe makes about 4 cups, which can be spread over a few nights depending on which of the dishes you choose to make with it. They’re a mix of recipes that call for premade salsa verde and those that have you make it as part of the steps. It’s an easy swap to use this one instead. If you want to make twice the amount of salsa, either go for a really big pot or cook it in two batches, as 4 pounds of tomatillos can be a lot to cram in at once.

The salsa will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, no problem, meaning you have plenty of time to put it to good use. Check out ideas below the recipe.

Scale and get a printer-friendly, desktop version of the recipe here.

Image without caption
(Justin Tsucalas for the Washington Post/Food styling by Nichole Bryant for the Washington Post)

Cooked Green Salsa (Salsa Verde Cocida)

4 to 8 servings (makes 4 cups)

Santibañez says this salsa “has a mouth-puckering tang and spicy zip,” and he’s not lying. It’s the tomatillos that give it that tang and its verde. You’ll notice they’re a bit sticky once their husks come off. Rinse away the (slightly acrid) tackiness by placing them in a bowl of water (you may need to change it a couple of times) and rubbing them with your fingers until they’re smooth.

[Sign up for our Essential Cookbooks newsletter series and join our virtual cookbook club]

Note: The salsa can be refrigerated for up to a week and frozen for 1 month.

  • 2 pounds tomatillos (20 to 24), husked and rinsed
  • 2 fresh jalapeño chile peppers, stemmed
  • 3 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon mild olive oil or vegetable oil

1. Put the tomatillos and jalapeños in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot with enough water to cover and bring the water to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer gently, turning the tomatillos and jalapeños occasionally, until the tomatillos have turned a khaki-green color and are tender, but still intact, about 15 minutes. If necessary, let the tomatillos stand in the pan off the heat for up to 15 minutes more to finish cooking through.

2. Gently drain the tomatillos and jalapeños in a colander, being careful to keep the tomatillos intact. Put the tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, salt and cumin in the jar of a blender and pulse just until the tomatillos are coarsely chopped. Add the cilantro and blend until the sauce is smooth and flecked with cilantro (the tomatillo seeds should still be visible). Be careful when you’re blending hot ingredients: Vent the lid and cover it with a kitchen towel, and hold the top firmly in place with your hand. Work in batches to avoid blending with a full jar.

3. Wipe the pot clean, add the oil and heat it over medium heat until it shimmers. Carefully pour the salsa into the oil (it may splatter) and bring it to a simmer. As it’s simmering, swish a little water around the blender jar and add it to the pot. Simmer gently until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the salsa to a heatproof 4-cup measuring cup and add water (if necessary) until you have 4 cups of salsa. It should still be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season to taste with additional salt.

Adapted from “Truly Mexican” by Roberto Santibañez (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011).

Tested by Ann Maloney and Becky Krystal.

Scale and get a printer-friendly, desktop version of the recipe here.


(Per 1/2-cup serving)

Calories: 60; Total Fat: 3 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 297 mg; Carbohydrates: 7 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugar: 5 g; Protein: 1 g

Suggested recipes:

Image without caption
(Justin Tsucalas for the Washington Post/Food styling by Nichole Bryant for the Washington Post)


This is the companion recipe from Santibañez. You’ll need 2 cups of the salsa to coat 8 to 9 ounces of good store-bought tortilla chips. It serves 2 people. Very similar is Green Chilaquiles, which serves 4. You can swap in 2 1/2 cups of Santibañez’s salsa for the one in the recipe. If you have the time and inclination, I highly recommend following the instructions for baking your own chips using store-bought tortillas.

Read this recipe

Image without caption
(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post/Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

My original recipe calls for packaged red sauce, but I tested a one-to-one substitute of the salsa verde, and it was phenomenal. (You can skip doctoring the sauce with hot sauce and lime, as the green sauce is already packed with zippy flavor.) You’ll need 3 cups of salsa to make the enchiladas.

Read this recipe

Image without caption
(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post/Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Mexican-Style Shrimp Casserole

If rolling individual enchiladas is not your thing, check out this family-friendly recipe. It requires 1 1/2 cups of salsa. Feel free to change out the protein, vegetables and cheese as your supplies dictate.

Read this recipe

Image without caption
(Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post/food styling by Diana Jeffra for The Washington Post)

Asparagus and Chickpea Enchiladas

For a meatless enchilada option, this recipe will make the most of that seasonal asparagus you may be seeing at the market. This dish uses 4 cups of salsa, which you can substitute for the version called for in the recipe.

Read this recipe

Image without caption
(Scott Suchman For The Washington Post)

Tacos With Grilled Plantains

Salsa verde can perk up just about any taco you want. It’s especially appealing in this weeknight-friendly, vegan supper. Subtly sweet, starchy plantains pair beautifully with the tart, spicy salsa. Reserve 1 cup of salsa for the tacos. See also: Shrimp and Green Salsa Tacos.

Read this recipe

Image without caption
(Goran Kosanovic For The Washington Post)

Corn Cakes With Black Bean Spread

Since it only uses 1/4 cup of salsa, this is a great option if you’ve made other dishes that have used a lot of the batch and you just have a little left. The base is a pan-fried masa cake that is a cross between South American arepas and Mexican sopes. The toppings are pretty flexible, too.

Read this recipe

(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel)
(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel)

Asparagus With Romesco Blanco and Fried Eggs

Here’s another option for using up just a little bit of the salsa. You blend 1/4 of it with almonds, oil, bread, vinegar and mint to make a pale romesco sauce, which is typically red, thanks to tomatoes or peppers. Serve with broiled asparagus and crispy-edged eggs.

Read this recipe

More from Voraciously:

How to cook a simple, flavorful pot of beans and use it throughout the week

One no-knead dough will give you focaccia, pizza and cinnamon rolls for days

Make a big batch of pantry-friendly tomato sauce for a leg up on dinner all week

Get Voraciously’s Meal Plan of Action newsletter and raise your weeknight cooking game