The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Cilantro Week: Salsa Verde and Classic Margarita

I have decided to call this week Cilantro Week because I am obsessed with any recipe with cilantro in it.  The mere thought of a recipe based on its delicious, clean, fresh flavor drives me crazy.  I realize that some people do not enjoy cilantro and while I think that’s weird, I respect that and will gladly eat their share.  For instance, I have a friend that thinks it tastes like soap.  I wouldn’t recommend cleaning with cilantro although who knows, maybe it makes for a great facial.

Salsa Verde is my go-to recipe, especially over the summer but I usually end up eating chips and salsa for lunch, dinner, and snack time with my husband.   (I have eaten two bags of tortilla chips alone over a 2 day span…oh so bad.  I workout but I have yet to recover from those calories, oh well.)  That said, my first recipe has been made at least a dozen times, probably over this summer alone, and I put it on anything…rice, fish tacos, steak and other meats, casseroles, sandwiches, a curry dish, and on and on.  I decided to emulate the salsa verde from Moe’s Southwest Grill that I am no longer near as Minnesota does not have that chain.  I miss the queso as well but have not been successful with that recipe.  My husband and I have found two excellent Mexican restaurants 20 minutes from our apartment called El Tequila and El Azteca and I know comparing authentic Mexican with a big chain like Moe’s Southwest Grill might be considered a crime but I enjoy both experiences.  FYI, I also enjoy Chipotle Mexican Grill.

I  do have an issue with this recipe: I use canned already-prepped tomatillos because the one time I attempted to use fresh, it turned out horrible and I was disappointed.  It might have been the recipe that I came across, I’m not sure that the cooking instructions were right or I’m an idiot when it comes to tomatillos.  If you can help me with this dilemma, I would appreciate it.  How do you cook fresh tomatillos?

Just a smidge of salsa verde
Just a smidge of salsa verde

Salsa Verde
Makes 3 cup

3 cans of 11 oz. canned tomatillos
½ small white onion
¾ cup cilantro (or to your taste)
1 tbsp lime juice
¼ tsp sugar
1 ½ peppers- fresh jalapeno or serrano (or a mix of the two)
½ tsp -1 tsp salt (to your taste)

Chop onion and pepper into chunks that the food processor can better handle.  Place all ingredients in the food processor and pulse to your desired consistency.  If you have a smaller food processor like me, you might want to do this in a few batches.  This next step is the hardest part as it involves waiting: place in bowl and cover with saran wrap, then place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend for at least a half an hour.  Just add your favorite tortilla chips or on one of the above-mentioned foods and enjoy.

If you are like me, you don’t stop there.  I mean what goes better with salsa and chips than a margarita.  It’s kind of similar to the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by author Laura Joffe Numeroff, one of my childhood favorites.  If you give Annie salsa verde and chips, she’s gonna want a margarita.  I adapted my version from the the awesome blog: The Kitchen Sink Recipes.

Classic Margarita
Classic Margarita


Makes one pitcher- 4 large drinks

* Place 2-4 glasses in freezer (depending how many want some of course) before making the drink*


4 cups ice

1/2 cup orange liqueur

1 cup silver tequila

1 cup lime juice

½ -1 cup simple syrup (boil 1 cup of water and sugar until syrup-y and remove to cool)

lime wedges-rub around rim and optional decor

coarse salt

Place ice in blender and add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and later add simple syrup.  Blend to desired consistency.  Take glasses from freezer, add more ice (if desired) and run a lime wedge around rim of glass, dip in salt and add mix to glass.  Place wedge on the side if you want and voila!

A glimpse into our weekend...
A glimpse into our weekend...

20 thoughts on “Cilantro Week: Salsa Verde and Classic Margarita

  1. Liked your recipe. Without the cilantro, tho. I put a bit of fresh italian parsey in it for a different little taste. I find cilantro smells like bad body odor (BO). Your marqarita recipe good, too.

  2. Saw this recipe on tastespotting – re fresh tomatillos: husk and wash, then toss them in a pot of boiling water until they float to the top and lighten in color. If that’s how you cooked them, and the canned ones were still better, I’d love to know!

  3. I will have to try parsley, I hadn’t thought of that and I have a ton in my indoor herb garden. I have to admit, I made a pitcher of those margaritas last night after my workout-oops.

    I tried something similar to that except that the directions stated to cook on medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes but didn’t state what they’d look like when I was done. I left them in that amount of time and I’m thinking it was a bit long but I made the salsa verde anyway- not even my husband would eat it and that’s horrible. I think I will practice cooking tomatillos from that tastespotting recipe because I love using fresh ingredients. Thank you for the heads up on the recipe find.

  4. You can cook tomatillos by husking and washing them, then place them in a roasting pan in a 350-degree oven until they are spotty. then just blend them up with the rest of the ingredients.

  5. If you’ve ever seen my blog site you know I live on cilantro, limes and jalapenos. I’ve been looking for a good salsa recipe using cilantro and jalapenos and this one looks like it might be winner. Thanks for posting of foodphoto.

    1. I will be trying more than a few of your recipes. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the salsa!

    1. Thank you, Sally! (That was not me commenting on my own blog by the way. I could see how it might look that way.)

  6. This is pretty dead on. I find it interesting your recipe is one of the only Moe’s knockoffs on the net that includes CANNED tomatillos and doesn’t include garlic. The cashier at Moe’s in Columbus verified that they use canned, not fresh tomatillos and do not use any garlic in their salsa verde.

    The canned tomatillos give it that characteristic sourness of Moe’s salsa. Depending on the brand of canned tomatillos, some are just not sour enough. I add some drops of vinegar to emulate the flavor if it’s lacking.

  7. Just wanted to thank you for posting this recipe! This week my department had a “Salsa Throwdown” so I decided to scan the internet to hunt for a recipe for Moe’s tomatillo salsa. I came across your recipe and decided to give it a shot. The salsa came out amazing! I stuck with the ingredients but varied the quantities a bit, adding a squirt of lime juice here, or extra dash of salt. It turned out to be a hit at work and was just one vote shy of first place (although I hold that the competition was fixed, not everyone got to vote and we just happened to close voting right after the extra vote was cast for the other salsa…) Either ways, it was a huge success and everyone loved it. Thanks again!

  8. Hi Annie,

    I came across your blog this morning, while looking to see how others approach salsa verde. You make a good point about how it can be difficult, when a recipe does not describe how something should look (or taste, or smell, or feel)–but instead instructs to do something for so many minutes. It is so much more intuitive to cook with our senses, than by counting minutes.

    My own salsa verde recipe calls for gently cooking the tomatillos over low heat, until they begin to break down and release their water. When it begins to look like green tomato sauce is forming in the pot, I take it off the heat.

    The full recipe is here:


    1. I did try a recipe provided by another reader for my beloved salsa verde and it turned out delicious with the fresh tomatillos simmered. Yours sounds tasty, makes my mouth water! I think I need to make your recipe very soon.

  9. I’m so happy I found this! I always get like 4 of the little salsa cups full of this whenever I go to Moe’s and had been wanting to find a good recipe for the salsa for a while.

    One question–could you use a blender in place of a food processor? My boyfriend and I want to make this to go with the tacos we’re having for dinner tonight but the only gadgets we have for combining ingredients like that are a potato masher, a hand-mixer and a blender. We should probably invest in a food processor at some point in the future, though. Thanks so much!

  10. I just came across this blog post and thought I’d give my input. I’ve lived in Mexico for a year, and this is how all my Mexican friends make their salsa verde.
    Tomatillos (smallest ones have most flavor) removed from husks and washed. Boil in water until they almost fall apart. Mix in blender with sea salt, garlic, cilantro, chili de arbol, and tomatoes. Save water from tomatoes to make thickness you like. But dont add water u til youve blended tomatoes.they have a lot of liquid in them. It will thicken in fridge so make a little bit thinner than you may want. All ingredients are added to your preference. The trick is to cook the dried chili de arbol over an open flame until they are blackened all around. 4 for spicy, add more if you like it really hot. I use 8 but I’m used to heat. If you can’t find arbol, then use fresh sorreno pepper. Maybe 1 or 2 depending on heat preference. It stays good fridge for 1 week.

    If you want further directions, I can send you photos of how to make.

    1. Thank you, Kristen. That sounds like a delicious and authentic way. I believe there are some dried chili de arbol at one of the local stores. I love heat so maybe I’ll try 8. If you’d like to send me the photos I’d enjoy seeing them. Send those to thedabble at

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