Faux Tomatillo Sauce

I love the lemony-limey tartness of tomatillos.  We grew them in our garden a few years ago–I was so excited to have the little stalks growing the husked green balls I was planning on turning into my favorite green sauce.  At the end of the season, though, I think I harvested enough tomatillos to make only 4-6 cups of sauce!

Our tomato plants, though, they were producing like crazy.  It was getting cooler outside and we still had so many tomato plants with pounds and pounds of green tomatoes.  I thought, “Why not treat the green tomatoes like tomatillos?!  They have the same tart flavor profile!”  Thus was born my Faux Tomatillo Sauce–I never use tomatillos anymore, as long as I have a garden I have an abundance of green tomatoes!  And I always make extra to freeze and enjoy all winter long!

So easy to make–you just roast everything together in the oven, then add a few more ingredients in the blender, and voila, you have a green sauce ready for enchiladas, chips and dip, or quesadillas.  I even jarred this up for festive Christmas presents one year–green faux tomatillo sauce and red cranberry-orange syrup.  You are going to look forward to having a ton of leftover green tomatoes from your garden!

tomatillo ingredients 1

tomatillo ingredients 3

tomatillo sauce


  • Servings: makes 4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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I love roasting vegetables to add an extra depth of flavor to sauces or soups.  I usually make at least two batches at a time and freeze some to enjoy all winter long–one whiff of this freshly made sauce and your mouth will start watering for those Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas!  This would also make a really delicious fresh salsa if you wanted to blend all the ingredients raw.


  • 20 small green tomatoes, green tops cut off and sliced in half
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in a large dice
  • 6-8 large garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and ribbed, cut in a large dice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp ground cumin (to taste–you can add more or less)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander (to taste–you can add more or less)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (to taste–you can add more or less)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place first group of ingredients (tomatoes through poblano pepper) in a large bowl, cover with olive oil (about 1/2 cup), salt and pepper.  Pour into a shallow pan and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes; keep an eye on things so they don’t burn–if the garlic cooks too quickly and burns, it’ll turn bitter.
  2. Pour roasted ingredients into a blender (BlendTecs are great because everything fits!) and add the second group of ingredients.  Pulse until desired consistency–you can have it as smooth or as chunky as you like.  Add more or less water to help your consistency.


You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Sweet Potato Burritos!

I remember when I first ran across this recipe for Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos in the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites Cookbook–I thought the sweetness from the sweet potatoes would be an odd pairing with cumin, coriander, and cilantro, and the texture would be a little too mushy for my liking.  They were pretty darn great, actually, and the next time I made them, I “beefed” them up with some crunchy veggies and brown rice.  And, of course, I had to turn them into souped up enchilada-style burritos and top them with mango guacamole because I can never get enough fresh lime-tomato-avocado-cilantro goodness.

Another day, another yummy assembly line:

sweet potato enchilada assembly

I know this photo isn’t the best, but it sure tasted great!

sweet potato enchiladas


  • Servings: makes 15-20 burritos
  • Difficulty: easy, if you have all the ingredients ready, it's just assembly; medium, if you have to make the rice and bake the sweet potatoes, more time expenditure
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Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites Cookbook


  • 2 cups baked sweet potatoes, skins removed and smashed
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4-6 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (omit if it’s too much heat for you)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups of favorite green chile or tomatillo sauce
  • 15-20 tortillas, flour or corn, depending on preference (corn tortillas are typically smaller and you will be able to make many more burritos)
  • 4-5 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 400.  Mix the ingredients through salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. If you are using uncooked flour tortillas, heat up a good stack for filling.  Corn tortillas are much more pliable when heated, so you can prepare them in a warm pan with oil, too.  Flour tortillas will heat up great without any oil, but pour a tablespoon or so of oil in the pan between corn tortillas.
  3. Spray a deep 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray and spread 2 cups of green chile or tomatillo sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  4. I use my favorite #40 cookie scooper for even filling distribution: scoop 3 scoops in the flour tortilla, side by side, and if you’re feeling cheesy that night, put a sprinkling of cheese before wrapping and placing in the baking dish.  Continue until your dish is full, usually about 12-15 burritos.  If you can squeeze more burritos in for the party, go for it.  If you’d rather give your burritos some toe room, have two pans (and more sauce) ready to go.  It’s your kitchen, no one’s gonna get offended how you want to do things!
  5. Once the pans are full, pour 2 more cups of sauce over the top of the burritos and sprinkle more cheese over the burritos (optional).  Bake, uncovered, until the edges are crispy and golden, about 20 minutes.

Serving Suggestions: Top with a dollop of sour cream or plain non-fat yogurt, scoop of Mango Guacamole, fresh chopped cilantro; serve with a side of fresh mixed green salad and sliced tomatoes with squeezed lime on top.