Yield: 4 servings

Lengua Tacos With Salsa Verde and Caramelized Onions

Lengua Tacos With Salsa Verde and Caramelized Onions

Savory, crispy lengua (tongue) in a fresh corn tortilla topped with caramelized onions, vibrant salsa verde, crumbled cheese, cilantro, and radish. Hit one "out of the park" with this slightly non-standard but delicious taco!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


Salsa Verde

  • 5 to 6 tomatillos, about a pound
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 bulb garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • 4 Hatch green chiles*
  • chicken or vegetable stock to thin
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt/pepper to taste

Caramelized Onions

  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced thin


  • 3 cups boiled tongue, lengua, small dice*
  • 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt +/-
  • pepper


  • 1 dozen fresh corn tortillas, softened*
  • prepared diced lengua
  • prepared caramelized onions
  • salsa verde
  • crumbled cotija or queso fresco*
  • cilantro, stems removed
  • radishes, thinly sliced
  • lime wedges, optional


Salsa Verde

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (425 convection roast). Arrange tomatillos, quartered onion, garlic halves, and green chiles (if not already roasted) in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Place in the oven, and roast until nicely charred, about 30 minutes. Turn them halfway through.
  3. Add the whole roasted tomatillos and onions to the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze the soft garlic from their papery skins.Remove the stems, blackened skin, and seeds from the Hatch (or other green chile) if present. Add the garlic, green chile,cilantro, salt, and a few grinds pepper to the processor bowl. Pulse a few times until well combined but not pureed.
  4. Taste and season if necessary. If salsa consistency is too thick, add a little stock to thin it as desired.
  5. Set aside until service. Salsa will keep several days in the refrigerator.

Caramelized Onions

  1. As soon as the salsa vegetables go in the oven, start the onions. Drizzle a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute until the onions begin to brown.
  2. Reduce heat to medium (if you're stirring occasionally). Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally. You want slow caramelization, not browning.
  3. When the roasting vegetables come out of the oven, the onions should be nicely caramelized. Add to a small oven proof prep bowl. Pop in the oven until ready to keep warm.


  1. Heat coconut oil on medium-high to high heat. You want some vigorous sizzling action. Add the diced tongue. Stir-fry until the edges begin to brown.
  2. Add the spices and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until much of the tongue has crispy edges. Remove from heat, and keep warm

The Tacos

  1. Soften/warm your tortillas by your preferred method. See notes.
  2. To each tortilla, add a spoonful of lengua, a bit of caramelized onion, salsa verde, crumbled cheese, cilantro, and sliced radish. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing if desired.
  3. Dig in!


Having spent 22 years in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Hatch chile is always my preference. However, you can substitute poblano, anaheim, serrano, jalapeno. You can also substitute frozen diced or whole roasted chile. Use about 1 cup, and add to the processor bowl with the tomatillos. Make sure they're roasted, seeded, and peeled first!

I like small pieces in my tacos. I diced the lengua in 1/4" to 1/2" dice. It's easier to eat and to keep the tacos from falling apart in a fresh tortilla. I like to heat tortillas on a hot skillet (comal). This can be tedious if you're cooking for more than 2 people. You can put them in the microwave in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in foil and warm them in the oven. For more on keeping tortillas warm see this link.

The leftover salsa verde will keep for several days in the refrigerator, but I'll bet it won't last that long! This recipe assumes you have already cooked tongue. For more on preparing tongue using a pressure-cooker (or other method), see Provencal Beef Tongue Sandwiches.

Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 520 calories; 24 g protein; 40 g carbohydrates; 30 g fat. I hesitated to even include as there are too many variables. I used 3 corn tortillas, 4 ounces of lengua, 1/4th of an avocado, 1/2 ounce cotija, 3 tablespoons salsa verde and caramelized onion. This at least gets you in the "ballpark," and Google wants the calories ;-)

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520
Nutrition is an approximation and for reference purposes only!