I used to be perplexed by tomatillos. I loved eating them in restaurant dishes, but I’d never taken the plunge to explore them in my own kitchen. When it comes down to it, even chefs can get into a cooking rut. But that all changed this summer, when I decided to put tomatillos on my Joyful 12 lineup of nine veggies I’d be exploring with families in my kitchen learning lab. If I was going to teach families how to love cooking with tomatillos, then I’d learn alongside them.
Tomatillos are just another variety of tomato. They are a green tomato variety that hails from Central America. Since I already loved all types of summer tomatoes, I approached my exploration of tomatillos with the expectation that I’d love them, too. And boy did I ever! Tomatillos have a beautiful flavor, with a balance of delicate acid and brightness that I adore. What’s even more exciting is that in just ten minutes under the broiler, their natural flavors explode, turning a simple green tomato into a flavor powerhouse.
So if you’re looking for an amazing Meatless Monday dish to cook for your family tonight, or just want to bring a side dish to your summer picnic that everyone will adore, I’ve got three great reasons why you should put this Tomato Lover’s Pasta Salad into your summer rotation:
- It’s packed full of summer veggies: tomatoes, corn, green beans, and even tomatillos.
- It’s fast and easy: the corn and tomatoes are raw, requiring no cooking, and the green beans are blanched in the same cooking water as your pasta, requiring less clean-up of pots and pans.
- The vinaigrette can be used in other dishes: the ingredients in my vinaigrette make up a simple recipe I use again and again, adjusting slightly when needed (adding a jalapeno, for example). It’s my base for making my Joyful 12 tomatillo recipes zip with brightness.
When it comes to simple summer meals or side dishes, we all want fast and easy methods we can rely on again and again. This summer, I’ve found my flavor friend in the kitchen, tomatillos. I hope you’ll learn to love them, too!
If you want to learn how to make more recipes with tomatillos, and our other eight vegetables we’re exploring this summer in the Joyful 12 learning lab, join us.
- tomatillos, medium sized, 4
- garlic, 2 cloves
- cilantro, 1 cup (packed)
- onion (white), medium, 1/2
- lime, 1
- salt, 2.5 teaspoons (divided)
- olive oil, 3 tablespoons
- green beans, 2 large handfuls
- corn on the cob, 1
- cherry tomatoes (red, orange, or yellow), 1 pint
- fusilli pasta, gluten free, 8 oz box
- Take 5 minutes to get out all your ingredients, measuring and cooking equipment needed, and place them on a cookie sheet within easy reach.
- Wash all produce.
- Turn on the broiler in your oven to high.
- Bring eight cups of water and ½ tablespoon salt to a boil. You will use this water to blanch the green beans and then cook the pasta.
- Remove the husks from the tomatillos, rinse under water to remove the sticky coating, and cut into halves. These will be broiled.
- Peel the garlic and set aside.
- Measure out 1 cup cilantro, packed.
- Peel and cut the onion into two halves. Only ½ goes into the vinaigrette.
- Juice and zest the lime.
- Place garlic, onion, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil and 1.5 teaspoons salt in a blender. After you broil the tomatillos, you’ll add them and blend together.
- Cut the raw corn off the cob, in a large bowl, so the kernels don’t fall out everywhere.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves, or you can leave whole. Add to the bowl with corn.
- Remove the woody stems and cut green beans into bite sized pieces. These will be blanched first before being added to the bowl with corn.
- Set up an ice water bath (bowl with ice and water) next to the pot of boiling water.
- Place cut tomatillos on a parchment or tin foil lined cookie sheet with raised sides, and broil for 10 minutes. When they are finished broiling, add them to the blender with the remaining vinaigrette ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Place the green beans in the boiling salted water for two to three minutes. Then, shock in the ice water bath for about 30 seconds. Drain green beans and put into the bowl with the cut corn and tomatoes.
- Bring the pasta water back up to a boil and cook the pasta, according to the package instructions (about 6-9 minutes for gluten free pasta).
- When the pasta is ready, drain from cooking water and rinse. Add to the bowl of veggies.
- Toss the blended tomatillo vinaigrette with pasta and veggies, plus 1 teaspoon salt.
- Serve with extra cut up cilantro to garnish.
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