This salsa is made with tomatillos and guaje seeds. Both are used in the traditional cuisine of Mexico.


The gauge pods are about one foot in length and thin and flat. Guaje pods have a tough, outer skin which is green and red in color and slightly translucent. This allows seeds to look like spots along the length of the pod. The seeds are small, flat and light green with a sharp flavor. They are high in protein.

Guaje seeds are incorporated in this delicious green salsa from the city of Puebla. Enjoy the salsa with fish, meat or chicken or as a dressing for a green salad.

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes (toasting the seeds & boiling the tomatillos)
Makes: 2 to 2-1/2 cups salsa

8 to 9 tomatillos, skin removed and discarded and fruit rinsed in water
2 dried red chiles or 1 Serrano chile
8 to 10 guaje pods (found in Latin American supermarkets)
1 whole garlic clove, peeled
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Dash cumin
Salt, to taste

1. Place tomatillos and chile(s) in a 3-quart saucepot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil – tomatillos will become tender after a 5 to 7-minute boil.

2. Meanwhile, using a sharp, pointed knife, split the gauge pod skins at the top. Open the pod skins lengthwise and remove the guaje seeds. Set them aside in a small bowl.

3. Transfer seeds to a nonstick skillet set on medium-high heat.

4. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, toss the seeds as they roast. As they begin to “pop”, immediately set heat on low and continue toasting until they are light golden brown.


5. Transfer seeds to a bowl; set aside to cool while tomatillos are cooking.

6. If tomatillos are tender when pierced with a fork, they are done. Drain tomatillos and chile(s) over a sink in a colander, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

7. Let tomatillos and chile(s) cool for about 5 minutes.

8. After tomatillos and chile(s) have cooled, transfer them to a blender with remaining ingredients except for the seeds.

9. Puree the salsa and taste it. If needed, add a dash more salt.

10. Pour the green salsa into a serving bowl and top it with the toasted guaje seeds.

11. Serve immediately. Alternatively, cover the salsa with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator up to 1 day (after 2 days, the salsa’s flavors will become tart and acidy).

Note: You can serve Green Salsa with Guajes as a salad dressing – this is how I like it!
Text and Photographs ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real