Chimichurri Sauce- this simple green herb sauce is made with finely-chopped herbs, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. It is packed with flavor and traditionally served with meats, but can brighten up almost any dish. The best part? It only takes 10-minutes to make!
I love using condiments, sauces, and dressings that really bring recipes to life. A few of my favorites include: pesto, pickled red onions, tahini dressing, and creamy cilantro lime dressing. I use these ALL of the time and always have them in my fridge.
Another favorite is Chimichurri Sauce. This simple green herb sauce is packed with flavor and can brighten up almost any dish. I love making it during the summer months when our garden is overflowing with fresh parsley.
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What is Chimichurri?
If you haven’t tried chimichurri, let me fill you in. Chimichurri is a fresh uncooked sauce that originates from Argentina and Uruguay. It is made of finely chopped parsley (sometimes cilantro), minced garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.
So what does chimichurri taste like? This fresh green condiment is fresh, herby, tangy, garlicky, and SO delicious. It can be a spicy, if you want to add red chili peppers or crushed red pepper flakes.
The herbs in chimichurri are coarsely chopped, creating a slightly chunky sauce that looks more like green salsa or a chunky herb oil.
- Italian parsley & cilantro– parsley is the main herb used in chimichurri. Traditional recipes only use parsley but many recipes also include cilantro. I personally love the mix of parsley and cilantro so that is how I make chimichurri, but if you want a classic recipe, you can use all parsley. Use flat leaf parsley and not curly parsley.
- Oregano– you can use fresh or dried oregano.
- Garlic– I use 3 cloves of fresh garlic. You can adjust to your liking if you want less or more garlic.
- Shallot– I like to add shallot for an extra flavor boost. Shallots are similar to onion, but milder and sweeter in flavor. Look for shallots by the garlic and onions at the grocery store.
- Olive oil– to create a rich sauce. You can use extra-virgin or regular olive oil, go with your favorite brand.
- Red wine vinegar– to add a little tang and zip to the sauce!
- Lime juice– I like to add a little lime juice for a citrus kick. Lemon juice will also work. Make sure you use freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice for the best flavor.
- Crushed red pepper flakes– for a little heat. You can also use fresh red chili peppers. If using fresh peppers, I recommend removing the seeds and white membranes before mincing so the sauce isn’t too spicy.
How to Make Chimichurri
You can make chimichurri with a food processor or by chopping all of the ingredients with a sharp knife. I think both methods work well. If you are using a food processor just make sure you don’t over blend the ingredients.
- Place the parsley, cilantro (if using), oregano, garlic, and shallot in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. You don’t want the mixture completely smooth; the texture should be slightly chunky. You don’t want a super smooth sauce.
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop all of the ingredients with a sharp knife.
- Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir until well combined.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Let the sauce sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors can meld and come to life. It can sit out for up to 2 hours.
How to Use Chimichurri
The options are endless, that is why I love chimichurri. You can enjoy it with so many recipes and dishes! Here are a few of our favorite ways to use this special sauce.
- Meat– use as a marinade or sauce for steak, chicken, fish, pork, shrimp, or lamb.
- Vegetables– add extra flavor to your favorite grilled, roasted, steamed vegetables, or even raw veggies!
- Salads– use it as a salad dressing! It is great with taco salad, steak salad, cauliflower salad, and more!
- Tacos– chimichurri and tacos are a match made in heaven. We love adding a drizzle on top of steak tacos, veggies tacos, shrimp tacos…really any tacos! It is also delicious on other Mexican favorites like quesadillas, burritos, nachos, taquitos, etc.
- Sandwiches & Wraps– jazz up your favorite sandwich or wrap with a little chimichurri!
- French Fries– it’s such a great dipping sauce for French fries, sweet potato fries, and potato wedges.
- Eggs- brighten up your scrambled eggs, fried eggs, sunnyside eggs, omelette, frittata, or egg casserole with this special sauce.
- Bread– we love dipping garlic bread, pita bread, naan bread, or regular crusty bread in a little chimichurri.
How to Store
Chimichurri is best the day it is made (after it sits for at least 30 minutes), but you can store leftover chimichurri sauce in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Before serving, stir and allow the sauce to return to room temperature.
You can freeze chimichurri sauce for up to 3 months. I like to pour the sauce in an ice cube tray for smaller servings. Freeze and then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer container or freezer bag. You can also freeze larger amounts in a freezer container or bag. To thaw, place the frozen sauce in the refrigerator, don’t heat in the microwave.
Chimichurri sauce can taste bitter if you started with bitter parsley. Make sure you use fresh Italian parsley, not curly parsley. I recommend tasting the parsley before you start to make sure it doesn’t have a bitter flavor. Also, make sure you don’t over mix the chimichurri sauce. If you over mix the polyphenols in the olive oil will break away from the fatty acids and cause a bitter flavor.
Pesto and chimichurri are both herb sauces made with garlic and olive oil, but they are very different. Pesto is an Italian sauce made with basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil. Chimichurri is an Argentine sauce made with parsley, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and red chili peppers or flakes. Chimichurri doesn’t contain nuts or cheese. Basil pesto is smooth, salty, and slightly nutty. Chimichurri has a chunky texture and is tangy and usually a little spicy. Both are delicious, just different.
More Easy Recipes
- Best Guacamole
- Pico de Gallo
- Restaurant Style Salsa
- Pineapple Salsa
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Quick Pickled Red Onions
- 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro*
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, can use 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, can use lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- Place the parsley, cilantro, oregano, garlic, and shallot in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. You don’t want the mixture completely smooth; the texture should be slightly chunky. If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop all of the ingredients with a sharp knife.
- Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Serve with grilled steak, chicken, fish, vegetables, tacos, and more!
Have you tried this recipe?
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