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Salsa verde without cilantro?

Hi all,

Yesterday I made about 7 dozen spicy pork tamales. I already made red chile sauce but I LOVE salsa verde-one problem- I am one of those "soapy.metallic taste" cilantro haters. I just can't get past it, I can't stand the taste. I know it won't be "authentic" but I'm just looking for it to be good. Can I make a standard salsa verde without cilantro? Just omit from the ingredients.

It will be my first time trying to make it at home. I have the tomatillos (fresh) onion, jalapenos (no Serrano around here right now) a lime and some garlic if needed (recipe calls for it.)
Also if anyone would like to chime in, should I just remove the husks from the tomatillos, cut in half and roast in the oven or is boiling better? Or both?


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  1. I googled up a few recipes that didn't have cilantro in them, but they didn't have tomatillos or jalapenos either so I'm not sure what to tell you about that.

    I think Salsa Verde just means green sauce, which isn't exactly helpful for your situation in narrowing things down.

    Have you tried Thai Coriander (also called Sawtooth coriander)? (In Australia both the plant and the seed are called Coriander, no Cilantro) http://herbsarespecial.com.au/free-he...
    It tastes similar to cilantro but is a different herb altogether. Maybe it won't set off your tastebuds like cilantro does.

    This thread might also help (substitute for cilantro): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/764020

      1. re: paul balbin

        I <3LOVE<3 chucheman!

        RE the OP, just leave it out if you don't like it.

        On boiling versus roasting, oven or pan roasted gives a different character to the salsa, so it just depends on what you are looking for---underlying smokiness and charred taste from roasting, or just tomatillo tang and zip. Some people also put them into salsas unboiled and raw for the fresh and un-muted citrusy zing.

        1. re: paul balbin

          OMG, Chucheman. Love him, what a hoot.

        2. I like cilantro but ive been making tomatillo sauce without it :)

          I roast the tomatillos whole. Remove the papery covering and wash off the stickiness. Put them in a cast-iron pan, add an onion cut into quarters, a whole chile pepper, a few cloves of garlic (or not). Drizzle everything with olive oil and roast at 400F or so until the tomatillos are soft & have some browned spots. Let cool then purée in a blender or food processor, add salt & pepper to taste.

          Extra sauce freezes well & is killer with chicken.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gimlis1mum

            A tomatillo salsa is my first choice with spicy tamales.

          2. Celery leaves are the closest non-offending substitute for cilantro.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              I agree, much better than parsley. I do this routinely since cilantro haters turn up unexpectedly.

              1. re: magiesmom

                And we thank you very much. We are estimated to be about 25% of people, so it's not a rare thing, but quite common.

            2. I sub Italian Parsley, even for guac!

              1 Reply
              1. re: treb

                Parsley is what most people sub, but it's a different flavor profile; celery leaves offer the good parts of the cilantro flavor without the bad parts. Try it sometime.

              2. Where I am, salsa verde is an Italian sauce which doesnt use coriander. Main ingredients are parsley, oil, vinegar, capers, garlic.

                1. I cannot stand cilantro also. I sub parsley

                  1. Salsa verde is terrific stuff, it's also very forgiving. You can pretty much change it up to suit your tastes.

                    Whether you choose to boil or char your tomatillos, leave them whole. They have quite a bit of liquid in them to begin with an lose their structure pretty quickly. Leaving them whole retains the liquid and makes them easier to work with.

                    During the summer when it's hot I usually do salsa verde with raw tomatillos. The flavor is bright and crisp. It pairs well with chicken, fish/shellfish and eggs. Most of the rest of the time I'll do the tomatillos, chile, onion and garlic under the broiler until charred.

                    You don't have to use cilantro in the sauce. As previously suggested, flat leaf parsely works well. Don't forget to consider different fresh herbs as well. Thyme, oregano, margerum and chives all come to mind. Additionally, you could think about adding an avocado cut up in small dice (about 1/4") which will add some texture as well as little creamy hits to counteract the acidity of the tomatillos.

                    Here are 3 oddball ideas if you live near a Mexican market. Papalo, which admittedly can be an acquired taste, does have some faint cilantro-ish flavors. I'd probably use this more as a garnish than in the salsa. Dried avocado leaves are becoming easier to find in the U.S. at Mexi markets, a pinch or two in salsa verde might work and add some complexity to the sauce. My last suggestion would be a little bit of a fresh leaf of hoja santa. This would add a little bit of an herby anise flavor to the salsa. Hoja Santa is often used in combination with tomatillos, but a little would go a long way in salsa.

                    Just remember to salt the sauce sufficiently.

                    1. Cilantro tates like soap to me too, so sometimes I sub coriander seeds to get the same sort of taste. I also find that if cilantro leaves are cooked they lose a lot of the soapiness.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: escondido123

                        Coriander seed really tastes nothing like the leaves

                      2. I have a few friends that hate cylantro as well. I think that people either love it or hate / can get past the taste of the stuff. The people I know are otherwise pretty adventureous eaters..

                        My question - has there been any research on weather hating cylantro is perhaps genetic is someway?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sparky403

                          Lots of threads on this you can research at Chowhound in the General Topics board, among others.

                          1. re: sparky403

                            Cilantro (not Cylantro)
                            Lots of studies and and info on line

                            1. re: sparky403

                              You can just skip the Cilantro.
                              Roasting the Ingredients gives a deeper and more concentrated flavor. I often use Chicken stock to thin as roasting makes for a thicker sauce.
                              Rick Bayless's recipe is a great start for the roasted kind.
                              Other Greens can be used, Radish leaves, Chard, Lettuce, Etc....
                              As for herbs, a small amount of Epazote, Culantro or Parsley all work well.
                              Sorry this was meant as a reply to the original post.

                            2. I just made this one today: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

                              I can't stand cilantro either so I just leave it out. I also add some lime juice and roughly mashed avocado to the salsa right before I serve it. It was a big hit as a dip at Thanksgiving. I haven't made the chilaquiles yet - not a big fan.

                              1. Here is a Salsa Verde recipe from Epicurious that is fabulous and uses no cilantro:


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bitchincook

                                  I roast the main ingredients until soft - husked and rinsed tomatillos; a few cloves of unpeeled garlic; a medium onion, quartered; whatever suitable peppers I have (I've recently been including a poblano). After it's all cooled, I peel the garlic, seed and skin the peppers (if need be), then puree it all in the blender along with the juices that have accumulated. I add a spritz of lime or some salt to taste. I usually serve a little dish of chopped cilantro on the side.

                                2. Thanks for the input everyone!

                                  I am just going to leave it out and try the celery leaves that a couple people suggested for the "herb" part.

                                  I am also going to roast the tomatillos whole, along with the jalapeno, onion and a few garlic cloves in the oven at about 400. Blend it all together and add a dash of lime juice at the end. If needed, I will use chicken stock to thin it out a little.

                                  Much appreciated!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sjahns

                                    Try adding the celery leaves to a small amount first, Some folks find the flavor very strong and/or unpleasant.
                                    Personally I would be surprised to taste celery in a Mexican Green sauce, not saying I wouldn't like it but it would be atypical.

                                    1. re: sjahns

                                      If your oven has a broiler, roasting your vegetables under it will produce a better result, it's about 7 mins/side, don't worry about any black, charred spots. Roast your garlic unpeeled. Roast your chile whole, you can stem and seed if you want, after it's cooked. The garlic and chile usually cook faster than the tomatillos and onions. If yours do, just remove them and set aside.The tomatillos will release some of their juices, save it and add it to your blender when you whirl up the sauce.

                                      Tomatillos can sometimes be fairly acidic. If the final sauce is too tart for your tastes, don't be afraid to add a little sugar to balance out the sauce. Salsa verde also has a tendency to thicken up if it stands for any lenght of time, just add a little water to thin it out if needed.