Steak Tacos with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa



For the avocado-tomatillo salsa

  • tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • jalapeño pepper, seeded
  • ripe avocados
  • clove garlic
  • 1/4 Cup  lightly packed chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  salt

For the tacos

  • 12 Ounces  top round steak, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
  • 1 Teaspoon  salt
  • 2 Teaspoons  vegetable oil
  • white onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup  lightly packed finely chopped cilantro
  • 12  corn tortillas
  •   Lime wedges, for garnish
  •   Sour cream, for garnish

Traveling back to Oregon from Seattle on a Tuesday, my husband, Benjamin, and I pulled into a taco stand in central Washington. We had only $10 in cash and with that we ate our fill of tacos filled with the seared beef called carne asada. There is no secret marinade or ingredient for the habit-forming tacos sold at roadside stands and food carts: the beef is diced very fine, salted, and then browned on a griddle with onions and cilantro. You get a heaping tablespoon of scrumptious beef on top of two soft corn tortillas and a wedge of lime. It's up to you to flavor it with a great salsa like this smooth and tart avocado-tomatillo salsa. Be sure to offer bowls full of radishes, cucumbers, and pickled carrots to fill out the meal, which is especially easy and family-friendly for weeknights on the run.


For the avocado-tomatillo salsa

Fill a medium saucepan with about 2-inches of water and place the pan over high heat to bring the water to a boil. Add the tomatillos and jalapeño, reduce the heat to low, and steam until the tomatillos turn pale and soft, about 7 minutes.

Transfer the tomatillos and jalapeño with ¼ cup of the cooking liquid into a food processor or a blender. Pit and peel the avocado and add it along with the garlic, cilantro, and salt. Purée until the salsa is very smooth and thick but pourable. Pour it into a small serving bowl and let it cool to room temperature before serving. Best eaten the day it is made, it will store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

For the tacos

Just before cooking, put the beef in a medium mixing bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss to distribute it. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it shimmers, add the beef, stir once, and let it cook without stirring until the liquid evaporates and the beef sears and browns, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, just until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the cilantro, and distribute the beef among the tortillas to serve with a squeeze of lime, sour cream, and the salsa.


Click here to read more about Lynne Curry and her new book Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut.

Recipe reprinted with permission from PURE BEEF © 2012 by Lynne Curry, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.


Calories per serving:

512 calories

Dietary restrictions:

High Fiber Dairy Free, Egg Free, Milk Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added

Daily value:



  • Fat 107g 164%
  • Carbs 188g 63%
  • Saturated 22g 109%
  • Fiber 52g 206%
  • Trans 0g
  • Sugars 19g
  • Protein 103g 206%
  • Cholesterol 235mg 78%
  • Sodium 3,853mg 161%
  • Calcium 399mg 40%
  • Magnesium 463mg 116%
  • Potassium 4,454mg 127%
  • Iron 14mg 79%
  • Zinc 21mg 140%
  • Phosphorus 1,958mg 280%
  • Vitamin A 1,639IU 33%
  • Vitamin C 77mg 129%
  • Thiamin (B1) 1mg 66%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 1mg 80%
  • Niacin (B3) 38mg 190%
  • Vitamin B6 4mg 209%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 426µg 107%
  • Vitamin B12 6µg 105%
  • Vitamin E 13mg 67%
  • Vitamin K 148µg 185%
  • Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 61g
  • Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 15g
See detailed nutritional info Have a question about nutritional data? Let us know.

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