Dietitian Guide to Tomatillos

Dietitian Guide to Tomatillos

Tomatillos add a lovely brightness and acidity to salsas, sauces, and soups. Get everything you need to know in this guide.

What are Tomatillos?

Shaped like a green tomato, tomatillos technically aren’t tomatoes, but rather a distant relative. 

Also called the Mexican husk tomato, tomatillos are round, green fruits covered in light brown husks.

Unhusking a fresh tomatillo

While they will turn yellow, red, or purple once ripened, they’re one of the few fruits and vegetables that taste best when they’re still unripe. 

Flavor-wise, tomatillos have a bright, acidic flavor that’s similar to a lemon. While delicious roasted or fried, they’re most often used in sauces and stews. 

However, once ripened, they become sweeter and can be used to make jams and jellies. 

Nutritional benefits of Tomatillos

One medium provides: 

  • 11 calories
  • <0.5 grams of fat
  • <0.5 grams of protein 
  • 2 grams of carb
  • 0.7 grams of fiber
  • 1.3 grams of sugar

They’re also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, niacin, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. 

As with many fruits and vegetables, they’re also an excellent source of antioxidants. 

Specifically, tomatillos contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants play an important role in protecting our retinas from blue light, which we’re exposed to from LED lights and electronics, especially TV screens, computers and smartphones. 

By protecting our eyes from blue light, they may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. 

Pile of tomatillos in husks

How to select and store tomatillos

Tomatillos should be firm, but not rock-hard and have fresh-looking husks. The more brown and drier the husks, the longer it’s been since they’ve been harvested. 

For storage, keep them at room temperature for 1-2 days. Or you can wrap them in plastic and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

Just be sure to keep the husks on until you’re ready to start cooking with them. 

How to use in cooking and baking

To use tomatillos, remove the husks and rinse well under running water. You’ll notice the skins will be sticky or waxy-feeling before rinsing – don’t worry, that’s completely normal! 

Healthy tomatillo recipes

Tomatillo ingredient guide pin image

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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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