Little time to make dinner. A limited choice of fresh herbs from the market or garden. A longing for big, bold flavors. It’s time to discover chimichurri.
Chimichurri is an Argentine sauce traditionally used on grilled meat. Multiple versions of chimichurri exist, but the essential formula is always the same: a generous handful of fresh herbs, a tangy splash of acid (e.g., vinegar or lemon juice), and the spicy bite of both garlic and cayenne, all anchored by the mellow warmth of olive oil. Think of it as the new pesto.
As fun as it is to say chimichurri, it’s the ease of preparation, versatility, and taste—at once fiery and fragrant, cool and refreshing—that will win you over. I only discovered a 5 or 6 years ago (I honestly do not remember the precise when or where) but I was hooked on the first bite. And because it it relies on two always-available, low-cost herbs from the market (parsley and cilantro), I can make it year-round without a second thought.
The preparation? Place the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. No fuss. No muss. No kidding. Better still, the classic recipe may be used as a template—vary the herbs, acid and spices according to what’s on hand and what suits your taste.
Once made, use chimichurri on—well, just about anything. It is traditionally served with grilled steak, but it will enliven every vegetarian or vegan entrée you can imagine, too. For a sidedish with some wow, drizzle it over everything from quinoa to roasted vegetables, or use as a vibrant dressing for salads, including green, potato, pasta, or coleslaw. It’s a superb marinade, too.
The emerald sauce will keep, covered and chilled, for three days. Place the chimichurri in the microwave for a few seconds (it thickens when chilled) before re-using or use the thickened sauce as an inspired spread for turkey or roast beef sandwiches.
So give chimichurri a whirl. With all these uses, and so little effort, what’s not to love?
- 1 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (to taste)
- ¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Puree all ingredients in food processor or blender. Transfer to bowl. Makes about 1 cup.
- Camilla's Notes:
- The chimichurri can be made up to 2 hours before serving. Store leftover sauce in a covered container for up to 3 days.
- Nutrition per Serving (1 tablespoon):
- Calories 41; Fat 4.5g (poly 0.5g, mono 3.3g, sat 0.6g); Protein 0.1g; Cholesterol 0mg; Carbohydrate 0.4g; Sodium 76.2mg)
- (Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)
- Puree all ingredients in food processor or blender. Transfer to bowl.