Creamy Salsa Verde

You know those treats that you can't help yourself from polishing off entirely in ONE sitting?  Like a magnet, you just can't keep your hands off.  This creamy salsa verde is one of them.  It is SO good, you might not be able to stop yourself!

Yes, we typically think of these types of treats as a bag of potato chips or a box of cookies and subsequently associate a binge like this with a heaping side of guilt.  However, polishing off a little jar of this creamy salsa verde is a guilt free indulgence! The only ingredients are healthy, real food: avocado, tomatillo, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, honey/agave and lime. (okay, so if we want to be technical, there may be some tortilla chips involved...)

Not only is the ingredient list simple, but the recipe is super easy to make.  Just roughly chop the ingredients and give them a little whirl in the food processor or blender.  Your friends and family will be amazed at your exotic, authentic Mexican flavor skills. Ahem... that is if you are able save any for them...

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno (1/2 keeps it very mild, add more for more heat)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or agave
  • pinch of salt


  • Peel tomatillos of their husks and rinse off the slightly sticky texture. Roughly chop and add to food processor.
  • Open avocado, remove pit and scoop out into food processor.  (See my avocado tips below recipe)
  • Peel and roughly chop garlic, add to food processor. 
  • Roughly chop and add 1/2 white onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  • Add lime juice, honey/agave, and a pinch of salt.
  • Give it all a whirl in the food processor until you reach the consistency you like.

I ate a whole jar (!) of this by myself, with just chips, but my oh my, was it ever tantalizing on Chile-Coffee Braised Beef Brisket Tacos! See the taco recipe under the kitchen tab, or simply click here.

Avocado tips:

Being from SoCal, avocados were a staple for me as a kid.  Most of my neighbor's yards had an avocado tree, many of them even considered the trees and their avocados a nuisance. Can you imagine? This avocado lover cannot!  Avocado trees in SoCal were as commonplace as the crab-apple trees we now see in our Colorado neighbors' yards.  Eating and handling avocados are some of my earliest memories.  Here's how I do it:
  • Select an avocado that feels slightly soft- not mushy- when you give it a gentle squeeze.
  • With a butter knife, puncture the peel and slice vertically, all the way around the pit inside.
  • When the avocado is split, give the pit a firm whack with the butter knife.  This should lodge the knife into the pit enough to "grab hold". Give the knife-pit combo a little twist to loosen the pit, then it should lift out easily.
  •  Now that the avocado is "pit-less", and working with one half at a time, make vertical slices all the way through and repeat with horizontal slices.  Then you will run the butter knife along the peel and little cubes will fall out easily.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili 

This recipe has become my "go to" for chili- vegetarian or not.  The coffee and cocoa powder lend layers of flavor.  Adding the grated cauliflower is nothing short of genius.  It gives a familiar texture of traditional chili without the added fat or cholesterol of meat.  Imagine the possibilities of using grated cauliflower... I'm thinking a "meaty" layer in lasagna, or maybe tacos, really anywhere you'd use ground meat.
Also, I might caution that as the name implies, this chili is spicy.  Feel free to skimp on the ingredients that add the heat- the chipotle pepper/powder, or chili powder.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers (I like green best in this recipe), chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (or, I have used chipotle powder)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 corn tortillas torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus torn leaves for topping (optional)
  • Shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese sliced scallions and/ or plain low-fat Greek yogurt, for topping (optional)


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, tomato paste and tortillas and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 4 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the coffee and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, cocoa powder, beans and 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. About 10 minutes before the chili is done cooking, stir in the grated cauliflower. Cook 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt. Add some water if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and add toppings.

Recipe adapted from: