Unfortunately, tomatillos can be hard to find in some areas outside of Mexico. So if a recipe calls for them, you may need to find a good tomatillo substitute. Luckily I’ve got you covered!
Why Substitute Tomatillos
One reason you will probably need a tomatillo substitute is availability. While tomatillos can be found in many specialty stores and supermarkets, they may not be available in all areas or during certain times of the year. In such cases, a substitute may be necessary. This is particularly true if you live outside of North and South America.
Another reason to substitute tomatillos is personal preference. Some people may not enjoy the tart flavor or acidity of tomatillos and may prefer a milder or sweeter flavor profile.
Finally, some individuals may have a medical condition that prohibits them from consuming acidic foods, in which case a low-acid substitute may be necessary.
When looking for a tomatillo substitute, there are several options available. Green tomatoes, for example, have a similar tart flavor and acidity to tomatillos and can be used in many recipes. Other options include green apples, which provide a sweet-tart flavor, and canned green chilies, which add a mild heat and acidity.
Ultimately, the choice of substitute will depend on the specific recipe and personal taste preferences. With a little experimentation, it is possible to find a suitable substitute for tomatillos that will work well in a variety of dishes.
When a recipe calls for tomatillos, but you can’t find them in your local grocery store, don’t worry. There are several substitutes that you can use in their place. Here are some of the best tomatillo substitutes:
Green tomatoes are an excellent substitute for tomatillos. They have a similar tart flavor and firm texture. They are also readily available in most grocery stores. You can use green tomatoes in any recipe that calls for tomatillos, such as salsa verde or enchilada sauce.
Green Bell Peppers
If you don’t have green tomatoes, green bell peppers are another good substitute. They have a similar texture and color to tomatillos, although they don’t have the same tart flavor. You can use green bell peppers in recipes that call for tomatillos, but you’ll need to add some lime juice or vinegar to mimic the tartness.
If you don’t have any fresh produce on hand, canned tomatoes can be used as a tomatillo substitute. Look for canned tomatoes that are labeled as “Mexican-style” or “with green chilies.” These tomatoes have a similar flavor profile to tomatillos and work well in recipes like salsa or guacamole.
If you don’t have any of the above substitutes on hand, you can also try using green apples, kiwi fruit, or even green grapes. These fruits have a similar tartness to tomatillos and can be used in recipes like salsa or chutney.
Using Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are an excellent substitute for tomatillos. They have a similar tartness and citrusy note that is characteristic of tomatillos. Underripe tomatoes have a yellow-green color, while fully ripe tomatoes have a bright green color.
When using green tomatoes as a substitute, it is important to keep in mind that they are not as firm as tomatillos, so they may break down more easily when cooked. However, this can be an advantage if you are looking to create a thicker sauce or salsa.
To use green tomatoes as a substitute for tomatillos, simply remove the stem and chop them into small pieces. They can be used in the same way that you would use tomatillos in recipes such as salsa verde or enchilada sauce.
Green tomatoes are also a great option if you are unable to find tomatillos at your local grocery store. They are often more readily available and can be found in most supermarkets.
Leveraging Green Peppers and Chilies
When it comes to finding a tomatillo substitute, green peppers and chilies can be a great option. These ingredients can add a similar tangy and slightly sweet flavor to dishes, while also providing a similar texture to tomatillos.
Green bell peppers are a common substitute for tomatillos in salsa verde. They have a mild flavor and can be roasted or charred for added depth. Green peppers, on the other hand, have a slightly spicier flavor and can be used in place of tomatillos in recipes like enchiladas or chili.
Green chilies, such as Anaheim or poblano peppers, can also be used as a tomatillo substitute. They have a similar tangy flavor and can be roasted or grilled for added smokiness. Roasted green peppers with gooseberries can also be used in place of tomatillos in recipes like chutneys or relishes.
Other Fruit and Vegetable Substitutes
In addition to using green tomatoes as a tomatillo substitute, there are several other fruit and vegetable options that can be used in a pinch. Here are some of the most common:
- Gooseberries: These tart berries have a similar flavor profile to tomatillos and can be used in the same way. They are often used in jams and chutneys, but can also be used in savory dishes like stews and curries.
- Potatoes: While not a perfect substitute, potatoes can be used in some dishes that call for tomatillos. They won’t provide the same tartness, but they can add a bit of texture and bulk to a dish.
- Onions: Onions can be used to add a bit of sweetness and depth of flavor to dishes that call for tomatillos. They won’t provide the same tartness, but they can be a good option if you’re looking for a substitute that is easy to find.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes can be used in place of tomatillos in some recipes, especially if you’re looking for a substitute that provides a bit of sweetness. They won’t provide the same tartness, but they can be a good option if you’re in a pinch.
- Cherry Tomato Salsa: If you have cherry tomatoes on hand, you can make a quick salsa by combining them with some diced onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice. This won’t be exactly the same as a tomatillo salsa, but it can be a good option if you’re looking for a quick substitute.
When it comes to finding a suitable tomatillo substitute, citrus fruits can be a great option. Lime juice is the most popular citrus substitute for tomatillos because of its tangy and acidic flavor. It is also readily available in most grocery stores and can be used in a variety of recipes that call for tomatillos.
If you don’t have lime juice on hand, you can use fresh lime or lemon as a substitute. Lime or lemon can be used in equal amounts as tomatillos in recipes. However, it is important to note that lime and lemon have a stronger flavor than tomatillos, so it is best to use them sparingly.
Another citrus substitute for tomatillos is a combination of lime and lemon juice. This combination can provide a similar flavor profile to tomatillos and is an excellent choice for recipes that require a citrusy kick.
For those who prefer a sweeter alternative, orange juice can be used as a substitute for tomatillos. Orange juice has a milder flavor than lime or lemon juice, so it is best to use it in recipes that require a subtler citrus flavor.
Canned Tomatillo Alternatives
If you can’t find canned tomatillos or prefer to use fresh ingredients, there are several alternatives you can try. Here are some options to consider:
- Fresh Tomatillos: If you have access to fresh tomatillos, they can be used as a substitute for canned tomatillos. Simply remove the husks, rinse them under cold water, and cook them until they are soft. You can then blend them into a sauce or use them in your recipe as needed.
- Green Tomatoes: Green tomatoes have a similar tart and slightly sweet flavor to tomatillos, making them a good substitute. They are also readily available in most grocery stores. Simply chop them up and use them in your recipe as you would canned tomatillos.
- Salsa Verde: If you’re looking for a quick and easy substitute, salsa verde can be used in place of canned tomatillos. Look for a salsa verde that has a similar thickness and consistency to canned tomatillos, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Canned Vegetables: If you can’t find canned tomatillos, other canned vegetables can be used as a substitute. Canned green chilies, for example, have a similar flavor and texture to tomatillos and can be used in many recipes.
Cooking Tips with Substitutes
When substituting ingredients in a recipe, it’s important to keep in mind how the substitute will affect the final dish. Here are some cooking tips to help you make the most of your substitutions:
- Don’t overcook: When substituting ingredients, be mindful of cooking times. Some substitutes may cook faster or slower than the original ingredient, so adjust your cooking time accordingly to avoid overcooking.
- Consider pre-cooked options: Using pre-cooked substitutes, such as canned beans or frozen vegetables, can save time and add convenience to your cooking process.
- Keep it crunchy: If you’re substituting a crunchy ingredient, such as nuts or croutons, make sure to choose a substitute that will maintain that same texture. For example, instead of using croutons, try using toasted bread crumbs.
- Watch the sweetness: If you’re substituting an ingredient that adds sweetness, such as sugar or honey, be mindful of the sweetness level of your substitute. You may need to adjust the amount of sweetener you use to achieve the desired level of sweetness.
- Consider healthy options: When substituting ingredients, consider healthier options that can add nutritional value to your dish. For example, instead of using white rice, try using brown rice or quinoa.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some good substitutes for tomatillos in salsa?
If you don’t have tomatillos, you can use green tomatoes, green bell peppers, or canned green chilies instead. These options will give your salsa a similar flavor and texture.
How do I make tomatillo sauce without tomatillos?
If you don’t have tomatillos, you can make a similar sauce using green tomatoes or green bell peppers. Simply roast the vegetables until they are soft, then blend them with garlic, onion, and cilantro to create a flavorful sauce.
Where can I find canned tomatillos for my recipe?
Canned tomatillos can be found at most grocery stores in the canned vegetable aisle. Look for brands like La Costena, Embasa, or Herdez.
What dishes can I use green tomatoes in as a substitute for tomatillos?
Green tomatoes can be used in a variety of dishes as a substitute for tomatillos. They work well in salsa, enchilada sauce, and green chili. You can also use them in soups and stews for a tangy flavor.
Are there any differences in taste between canned and fresh tomatillos?
Canned tomatillos have a slightly softer texture than fresh tomatillos, but the taste is very similar. If you are using canned tomatillos in your recipe, be sure to drain them before using to avoid excess liquid.
Can I use green tomatoes instead of tomatillos in my recipe?
Yes, green tomatoes can be used as a substitute for tomatillos in many recipes. They have a similar tangy flavor and texture, and work well in dishes like salsa and green chili.