Get my newest recipe via email:

Vegetarian Spinach Patties with Green Tomatillo Salsa {gluten-free}

Fork-tender spinach patties covered in a rich green tomatillo salsa–here’s an unusual delicious vegetarian recipe featuring emerald green spinach.

Tortas de Espinaca Carmen/Spinach Patties with Salsa Verde

The hardest part of making these savory green cakes is squeezing as much moisture you can out of the wilted spinach. Once the spinach is drained, you season with onion and cilantrom then mix in ground corn tortilla chips and an egg to hold everything together. I like to tuck a few little pieces of cheese inside the patties but that’s entirely optional.

How to make these vegetarian spinach patties:

  1. Prepare the spinach:

    Steam 2 bunches of fresh spinach or thaw 2 packages of frozen spinach, then drain and press out as much liquid as possible.

  2. Season the spinach:

    Mix the pressed spinach with the chopped onion, garlic and cilantro. No need to cook the onion first.

  3. Mix in:

    Add egg, salt and pepper, then mix in the ground tortilla chips or breadcrumbs, just enough so that the mixture holds together.

  4. Form and cook the spinach patties:

    Pat the mixture into little cakes, and tucking in a few melty pieces of cheese, if you wish. Sauté the patties in olive oil until they’re just beginning to brown on both sides.

  5. To serve:

    Generously ladle warm tomatillo sauce over the tops. Serve with Mexican rice and pinto beans.

The tomatillo sauce is simply tomatillos, onion, garlic and vegetable broth. You’ll find this sauce different from other salsa verde recipes in that there’s no cilantro, which I usually put in my tomatillo sauce.

spinach for Tortas de Espinaca Carmen/Spinach Patties with Salsa Verde

If you’re looking for more vegetarian main dishes with spinach, you must make my green enchiladas with spinach and arugula.

Tortas de Espinaca Carmen/Spinach Patties with Salsa Verde


  • I usually make these with wilted fresh spinach, but you can easily substitute thawed frozen spinach. Make sure you wring out as much moisture as possible, with both wilted fresh or thawed frozen spinach.
  • You can mix in dried bread crumbs, cornmeal, or flour instead of tortilla chip crumbs.
  • Dairy free: Don’t tuck cheese into the patties.

This recipe comes from Carmen, my Mexican home-stay mother when I was at Spanish language immersion school. The first time she served me her tortas de espinaca, I just about did a headstand on the table, they were so mindblowingly delicious!

Carmen’s recipe includes bread crumbs to absorb moisture and help the patties hold together. I told her I was going to replace the bread crumbs with corn tortilla crumbs so the patties could be gluten-free. She said “no hay problema”, and also that flour or cornmeal can substitute for the bread crumbs.

Carmen’s tortas de espinaca, these vegetarian spinach patties, is one Spanish lesson I’ll remember, and that I’m happy as a margarita to pass on to you.

Like Carmen, serve your spinach patties with Mexican rice and tender pinto beans.

To get my latest recipe posts and newsletters, subscribe here. (I hate Spam too and will never share your email with anyone.)

  • Follow me on Instagram!
  • Peruse my Pinterest boards for more vegetarian recipe ideas.
  • Find daily vegetarian and healthy living ideas on my Facebook page.

This recipe is an update of the recipe I posted right after two weeks in language school. The photo below is of Carmen’s tortas de espinaca on her floral-pattern melamine plate.

Carmen's Spinach Tortas

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.