Whipped up in under 15 minutes, this raw tomatillo salad shows us how a clever combination of simple ingredients can create so much flavour on a gorgeous plate of food.
- Why You’ll Love This Tomatillo Salad
- What are Tomatillos?
- What are Tomatillos Called in English?
- Can You Eat Tomatillos Raw?
- What Do Tomatillos Taste Like?
- Is Tomatillo a Tomato?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- Great Mains for This Salad
- How to Make This Salad Perfectly [Expert Tips]
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love This Tomatillo Salad
This is a super light and fresh salad featuring some easy ingredients. With no cooking required, this raw salad takes a mere 15 minutes to put together. Just like our red currant salad with figs or the best Waldorf salad recipe. Great for the time poor without sacrificing taste.
The orange vinaigrette is incredibly refreshing, which hones in on spring summer feels. Add a dash of honey to sweeten, a much-needed respite from the acidity of the tomatillos and the spiciness of the radishes.
As always, quick salads at The Devil Wears Salad never equate to boring flavours or presentation. It is still gorgeous to look at, which is great if you need a second side dish to accompany your meal. With no cooking involved, it won’t even take up space on your cooktop or oven.
What are Tomatillos?
Tomatillos are small round green fruits encased in a thin papery husk, much like a cape gooseberry. They are native to Mexico and while their Spanish name actually means “little tomato”, they are not tomatoes at all.
Tomatillos have been around for a few thousand years and historically, they have been traced back to the days of the Aztecs and the Mayans. The most common use of the tomatillo is to make salsa verde.
While they are not tomatoes, they are botanically speaking related to the humble tomato. They both belong to the same nightshade family and love the warm weather.
What are Tomatillos Called in English?
Tomatillos are also known by some other names, including Mexican husk tomato, jamberry, Mexican tomato and husk cherry.
Can You Eat Tomatillos Raw?
Yes, you most certainly can! You can enjoy them fresh and eat them like you would cherry tomatoes.
What Do Tomatillos Taste Like?
Tart and acidic. It is the acidity and slightly citrusy flavour that is sought after and what makes it so popular. It is less juicy than a tomato and the flesh is denser. Quite similar to the golden berries we used in our baby cucumber and golden berry salad.
To mellow out the strong taste, cooking them will do the trick. A quick roast or sauté can really tone down the acidity.
Is Tomatillo a Tomato?
No, despite tomatillos being referred to as Mexican husk tomatoes or even though it means “little tomato” in Spanish, they are not the same. They grow on a completely different type of plant.
Tomatillos are encased in a papery husk; they are less watery and have denser flesh.
Flavour/Texture: Tart, peppery, fresh, citrusy and sweet. These are the bases of the flavours of this salad, and like all our recipes, the idea is to have a mouthful of all ingredients to really be able to enjoy the combination of the different flavours.
There is a fair bit of crunch in this salad, from the radish to the cucumbers. The tomatillo bites are also juicy with the mixed leaves softening the overall texture.
Ease: Crazy easy! It’s a bunch of raw ingredients tossed together. Can’t get any easier than that!
Time: Under 15 minutes only! No excuses for lack of time. Perfect side salad for any meal.
Here are the ingredients you will need for radish and tomatillo salad:
Cucumber: Make sure you get the long continentals as you want to make ribbons out of them.
The wider they are, the better, too, but if you can’t find continentals, any cucumber will do. Just roll 2-3 strips in continuity to give the effect required.
Tomatillo: You’re looking for 16 smallish tomatillos, which are larger than a cherry tomato but much smaller than a regular tomato. Make sure the outer leafy husk is nice and green and not starting to brown, a sign it may not be as fresh as you need it to be.
Radish: Try looking for a bunch of different coloured radishes which would usually consist of red, white and purple radishes. Cutting them into wedges also helps to showcase the colours.
Mixed leaves: Avoid getting mixed leaves with peppery leaves like rocket (arugula), radicchio or watercress. The radishes are peppery enough. Try getting spinach, tatsoi, mizuna and/or lettuce.
Orange: Get the sweetest variety you can find. You’ll need it to balance the flavours. Make sure when you juice them that the seeds are discarded.
Apple cider vinegar: If you have to get a new bottle, opt for an organic version for greater flavour.
Honey: We want to use good quality honey and not the cheap supermarket brands that are filled with nothing but corn starch. We need the sweetness to counteract the peppery radishes and the tartness from the tomatillos.
Variations and Substitutions
Tomatillo substitute: If you are not able to find tomatillos, the best replacement would be green tomatoes or under ripe tomatoes. As they are much larger, just either slice them or cut them into wedges. Alternatively, just use cherry tomatoes of your choice.
However, if you love raw tomatillo’s acidity, you can squeeze some lime juice over the tomatoes.
Rainbow radish replacement: If rainbow radishes are not available, try getting a bunch of French breakfast radishes or just regular red radishes. The flavours are exactly the same across the different varieties.
Vegan version: For a vegan recipe, substitute honey with organic rice malt syrup or agave. The tartness of the tomatillo and peppery raw radishes will need some sweetness to help balance the flavours. You can use maple syrup, although the butterscotch taste may not match perfectly.
No continental cucumbers: If you can’t find continental cucumbers, any other normal cucumber will do. Just roll 2-3 strips in continuity to give the effect required.
Step by step instructions for making radish and tomatillo salad:
How To Make This Salad
With a wide or Y peeler, peel the cucumber into long wide strips to make ribbons. Place each strip on paper towels and pat dry. We want to start with the cucumber first so that you can prepare the rest of the ingredients while it’s drying out.
If you can’t find long continental cucumbers, you can peel normal cucumbers. Roll the first strip and then place it on the next strip and continue to roll to give you the bulk needed. Add a third strip if required. When you tuck it between the salad ingredients, it will stop it from unravelling.
Remove the outer leafy husk of the tomatillos. Give them a good wash to remove that sticky film on the skin. Cut 8 into half and leave the rest whole.
Using a mandolin set at 2 cm, slice the other 4 radishes.
Cut 4 radishes into 8 thin wedges each. Make sure you get a good mix of all the colours.
How to Make Orange Vinaigrette
Juice 2 oranges. Make sure the seeds are discarded.
In a small mixing bowl, add the orange juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey.
Mix until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, add the mixed leaves, cut tomatillo, radishes and orange vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss until well combined and place on a nice serving platter.
Roll the cucumber strips and tuck between the salads.
Add the whole tomatillo around the salad.
Great Mains for This Salad
Here are some gorgeous summer style dishes to accompany this radish and tomatillo salad:
This Texan style smoked pellet grill brisket is filled with strong, delicious flavours. Best eaten with our refreshing radish and tomatillo salad.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly [Expert Tips]
Sharp peeler: To make nice and long cucumber slices for rolling, use a sharp peeler. This ensures that you don’t apply too much pressure on the cucumber, causing it to either break or take too much off.
Thinly slice radishes: As we’re consuming the radishes raw, it is important to slice them thinly. If you’re not confident with a knife, as the radishes can be a bit fiddly, use a mandoline to get nice and even slices.
Sweet oranges: The sweetness of the oranges plays an important role in this tomatillo salad recipe. Not wanting to only rely on the honey, the oranges will help to counterbalance the tartness of the tomatillos.
Frequently Asked Questions
The first sign of a tomatillo that is not as fresh is the shrivelled and browning papery husk that envelops the tomatillo. The cape should be bright green and it should fully encase the fruit snugly. Should it look like it’s loose and dry, you may not wish to purchase those.
The green fruit itself should be plump, and bright green without any dark spots. They should be firm to touch rather than soft and mushy.
Toss the mixed leaves, tomatillos and radishes together and put in a container. Roll the cucumber ribbons and pack them tightly in a small container on top of some paper towels to stay dry. Have the salad dressing made up and store in a well-sealed mason jar, perfect for transporting.
When you have reached your destination, add the cucumber ribbons and pour dressing on top. Great for those potluck parties or picnic lunches.
The best way to slice radishes evenly is to use a mandolin set at the thickness that suits you. As they are so small, cutting them evenly with a knife is always a challenge.
This is such a great summer salad to showcase these gorgeous tomatillos. Counteract the tartness with the peppery rainbow radishes and to also give it some lovely colour. The orange vinaigrette is such fresh dressing to toss through the salad too. Enjoy!
Radish and Tomatillo Salad
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- With a wide or Y peeler, peel the cucumber into long wide strips to make ribbons. Place each strip on paper towels and pat dry.
- Remove the outer leafy husk of the tomatillos. Give them a good wash to remove that sticky film on the skin. Cut 8 into half and leave the rest whole.
- Cut 4 rainbow radishes into 8 thin wedges each. Make sure you get a good mix of all the colours. Then, using a mandolin set at 2 cm, slice the other 4 radishes.
- Juice 2 oranges. Make sure the seeds are discarded.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the orange juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey.
- Mix until well combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the mixed leaves, cut tomatillo, radishes and orange vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss until well combined and place on a nice serving platter.
- Roll the cucumber strips and tuck between the salads.
- Add the whole tomatillo around the salad.
- If you are not able to find tomatillos, the best substitute would be green tomatoes. As they are much larger, just either slice them or cut them into wedges. Alternatively, just use cherry tomatoes of your choice.
- If rainbow radishes are not available, try getting a bunch of French breakfast radishes or just regular red radishes. The flavours are exactly the same across the different varieties
- For a vegan recipe, substitute honey with organic rice malt syrup or agave. The tartness of the tomatillo and peppery raw radishes will need some sweetness to help balance the flavours. You can use maple syrup, although the butterscotch tastes may not match perfectly.
- If you can’t find continental cucumber, any other normal cucumber will do. Just roll 2-3 strips in continuity to give the effect required.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.