Also known as Mexican husk tomatoes, tomatillos are a staple of Mexican cuisine. (If you’ve ever had salsa verde, you’ve had a tomatillo!) They’re part of the nightshade family, can be eaten either raw or cooked, and have a unique taste and history all their own.
History of Tomatillos
Wild tomatillos are found all over Latin America, but are most popular and are grown with the most diversity in Mexico, where they were first domesticated. Because of a growing interest in tomatillos in both the US and Canada, states like California have started growing them domestically.
Health Benefits of Tomatillos
Low in calories but relatively high in fiber, tomatillos are a great way to add volume (especially in smoothies) while still keeping meals healthy. With a nice dose of vitamin C and potassium, these vegetables are a good choice for both boosting your immune system and replenishing your body after a hard workout.
Additionally, tomatillos include niacin, a naturally occurring B vitamin that helps cells turn food into energy — an important aspect of metabolism.
Withanolides, which are phytochemicals that have been studied for being known cancer suppressors, are also present in tomatillos.
The Taste of Tomatillos
Even though they look like little green tomatoes, tomatillos actually have a light, citrus flavor — making them a great smoothie base. Most of the time, tomatillos come in papery husks, so make sure you peel them before eating or blending.
Where to Buy Tomatillos
When they’re in season (summer to early fall), tomatillos may pop up for a short time in your local grocery store or farmer’s market. You can also buy them year round in salsa verde!
Smoothie Recipes With Tomatillos
Because of their delicate taste and high amount of pectin (a type of fiber that helps to add volume to smoothies), we’re big fans of using tomatillos in smoothies! Here are a few of our favorite tomatillo smoothie recipes.
For those who like their green smoothies on the greener side, this low calorie smoothie is a light, refreshing way to start your morning or amp up your afternoon. Apples may be common, but they have an uncommon amount of antioxidants, and regular consumption has even been connected to a healthier brain. In addition to fiber, tomatillos (which should be peeled out of their papery husks before blending) contain a high amount of vitamin C, as does lime. Add in some vegan pea protein, and you have a balanced snack that will keep you sharp, and your immune system boosted.
Cara Cara Cashew
Cara cara oranges have a flavor that is more complex than most navel varieties, with a taste that has notes of “cherry, rose petal, orange, and blackberry.” Tomatillos are a small, green Mexican fruit, and should be peeled out of their papery husk before blending. They contain fiber, potassium, and manganese, and have an almost lemon-esque taste. Carrots add a dose of beta-carotene, and cashews help create a smooth liquid base that’s full of healthy unsaturated fat. Because the carrots, orange and tomatillos all contain hefty amounts of vitamin C, one serving of this snack provides almost a full day’s worth of this collagen-boosting supplement.
Honey Orange Ginger
Native to Mexico, tomatillos are a small, green fruit that should be peeled out of their papery husk before blending. Their taste is a mild combination of a lemon and tomato, and they contain fiber, potassium, and manganese. This bright, low calorie smoothie is full of vitamin C, as well as anti-inflammatory power from ginger, which means it will have you glowing and ready to take on the day. And thanks to the mild flavor of collard greens, this smoothie is sweet enough to replace that morning orange juice.
Native to China and one of the more famous members of the stone fruit family, peaches are a great source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Blackberry season is about the same time as peach season (late spring / summer), and these low sugar berries are bursting with vitamin C, fiber and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Combine these warm weather fruits with the light citrus taste of tomatillos and half a lemon, along with ultra healthy flaxseed, and you have a refreshingly fruity drink that’s low in calories, fat and sugar.
Native to Mexico, tomatillos are a staple in South American cuisine, and are a key ingredient in those famous Mexican green sauces. After you husk this little guy, he’ll look a whole lot like a tomato, and will have a similar taste as well. Tomatillos also come with a lot of fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene. A few nutrient-dense kiwis, full of potassium, and big handful of baby kale, full of protein and vitamins A, C and K, round out this intensely green drink, while chia seeds add a satisfying volume and a dose of Omega-3s. If you’re not a fan of fish oil, chia seeds may be exactly what you need to get the benefits of Omega-3s without the fishy aftertaste!
Rich in potassium, fiber and manganese, tomatillos make a great base for smoothies because of their delicate, almost lemon-like taste. Maqui berries, which are native to Chile, have an unusually high amount of anthocyanins per serving, which are antioxidants with proven cancer-fighting abilities. And while this drink is sweet enough to curb a craving, it’s relatively low in sugar, with tons of additional healthy fiber thanks to cashews and bananas.