Did You Know?Tomatillos first originated in Mexico and were then cultivated by Aztecs many centuries before they were introduced in other places by the Spanish explorers.
Tomatillos are one of the key components for making an authentic Mexican salsa verde. But what if your local farmer's market or supermarket does not have any tomatillos? Well, you can use some other substitutes in your dish. Although it is hard to replicate the flavor of fresh green tomatillos, you need to choose a substitute that will match the flavor profile of this tangy fruit.
Alternatives for Tomatillos
Tomatillos are used for making salsas, a variety of green sauces, soups, and as a filling for tacos and quesadillas. It can also be added to guacamole and salad dressings to give these condiments a bit of zing. But if you do not have them ready at hand and have returned empty-handed after a trip to the market, then there are some other substitutes that will work just as well for you.
Canned TomatillosOne of the best substitutes for tomatillos, in a dish like a salsa verde or green sauce, is canned tomatillos. They can be easily found in any supermarket in the Hispanic food section. As they are already diced and precooked so that they are soft and yielding, you should take care not to overcook it. However, they might not have the same texture and bright green color of fresh tomatillos, but they surely impart same flavor to a dish.
Green TomatoesGreen tomatoes are also a good substitute to use in a recipe like soup, salsa, or sauce. Choose unblemished green tomatoes that have a slightly sour taste. As they have a pale green color and a similar crunchy texture as that of tomatillos, it works well as a substitute. Before you use green tomatoes in your dish, taste the tomato to check its tartness. Sometimes, green tomatoes are not very tart to taste. In that case, add a tablespoon or two of freshly squeezed lime juice to add the satisfactory sour flavor to your dish.
Green PeppersIf green tomatoes are not in season and you cannot find canned tomatillos in the supermarket, then what do you do? Green peppers can work in certain dishes like a soup or a zesty sauce. The texture and color of green peppers is similar to that of tomatillos. However, you will need to add a souring ingredient like tamarind paste or freshly squeezed lime juice along with green peppers to replicate the flavor of tomatillos in your dish.
Gooseberries and Green PeppersAnother substitute for tomatillos is a concoction made by mixing ground gooseberries with roasted green peppers. The sour and acidic taste of freshly ground gooseberries complements the subtle, hot taste of roasted green peppers that makes it a very good alternative for tomatillos in a recipe. The green color of green peppers and gooseberries is similar to that of tomatillos, and so visually, the recipe will look very much like the original one.
Of all the alternatives mentioned above, one of the most commonly used is green tomatoes. However, you need to remember that a tomatillo is more richly flavored than a green tomato and is more crunchy as well. Tomatillos have a unique tangy and piquant flavor that is difficult to replicate. So, it is best that you experiment with different combinations of products and condiments to come up with a tomatillo substitute that will work in your dish.