Sometimes your meal just needs a little extra lovin’ and this easy chimichurri recipe is just what the doctor ordered. In this blog I’ll give you some great tips for making chimichurri, and discuss the different ingredients used.
There are a number of recipes for this amazing sauce floating around on the internet, I’ve tried most of them. This is my version and while it isn’t an authentic chimichurri recipe, my slight change ups provide a huge punch of flavor.
So, the next time you need some greens with your meat, this is a winner. (I’m still trying to convince my cardiologist that this counts as a green vegetable serving.)Jump to Recipe
What is Chimichurri?
Originating from Argentina and Uruguay, chimichurri is a condiment that combines olive oil and vinegar with fresh herbs. It’s full of flavor, and complements any grilled meat. It’s best served at room temperature and as a dipping sauce, or applied directly to grilled meat or fish.
It can also be used as a marinade and screams freshness. In fact, some of the best chicken thighs I’ve ever eaten were marinated all day in chimichurri sauce and then grilled — amazing!
What Is Chimichurri Good On?
An easier question to answer might be what isn’t chimichurri good on. Seriously, this sauce goes well with so many foods. I love it on grilled steak; any steak really, but especially on a leaner cut of beef.
It also goes really well with chicken, and is the perfect cover if your chicken gets a bit dry. Top it with some chimichurri and people will swear it’s the juiciest piece of chicken they’ve ever had.
Aside from steak and chicken, it has enough acidity to balance out the very rich dishes like beef short ribs, and pork belly, but isn’t overpowering on a milder meat, like fish or scallops.
What Is Chimichurri Sauce Made Of?
Authentic chimichurri sauce from South America consists of only a few ingredients. Mostly freshly chopped parsley, combined with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried oregano, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper.
I like to add a few more ingredients to my chimichurri recipe. I think they amplify the sauce; without taking away from the traditional flavors that made this so popular around the globe.
- Fresh Parsley: This is really the base of the sauce. Be sure to get the Italian flat leaf parsley, not the curly parsley that’s generally used as a garnish. There’s a big difference between them. An interesting variation on this is to substitute the parsley for beet greens.
- Cilantro: While not at all traditional, the addition of cilantro really adds a nice freshness to the sauce. Just be sure to rinse cilantro under cold water very well; it’s often very sandy from the harvest.
- Shallot: Another ingredient that isn’t “traditional” but makes a nice addition to the sauce. I almost always find that shallot and garlic go together like Kool-aid and sugar.
- Fresno Pepper: Often mistaken for a fully ripened or red jalapeño, there is a difference between the peppers. I prefer the Fresno, but the red jalapeño works as well; and I prefer either chili pepper to dried red pepper flakes that some recipes call for.
- Oregano: This is one of the rare cases where the dried version of the herb is as good as the fresh herb. That said, if you grow Oregano in your garden or just have some on hand, by all means use it here.
Can You Store Chimichurri Sauce?
So here’s the deal, yes you can — but I don’t recommend it. Chimichurri is a condiment that tastes best when it’s fresh. I think it’s at peak flavor after being mixed for about 30 minutes, allowing the flavors meld together.
After about 4 hours it starts to lose its freshness. So, you can can store it in an airtight container but it won’t be as good the day after. It won’t be bad, but it won’t be as good.
If you need to store it, I recommend putting it in a zip top bag, and removing as much air as possible before sealing to keep any air off of it. The air changes the color from a beautiful brilliant green, to sort of an olive drab.
Tips For Making Chimichurri
The Prep: I like to use a food processor for this, it’s just so convenient to add the ingredients to the processor and pulse a few times, and certainly takes less time than hand dicing everything. That said, if you don’t have a food processor, you can absolutely use a knife to prepare the ingredients.
The Oil: If you’re using a food processor, DO NOT add the oil into the food processor and pulse. The result will taste fine but the color will dull and the oil turns a muddy green immediately. It gives the sauce a less than fresh appearance.
The Salt and Vinegar: I suggest starting with slightly less than I call out in this recipe and add more to taste. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it back after you mix it in.
Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
Serves: 6-8 | Prep Time: 10 min
2 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Fresno pepper, seeded and finely diced (or red jalapeño)
2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp coarse sea salt (or salt to taste)
½ tsp black pepper, fresh coarse ground
½ tsp smoked paprika
How to Make Chimichurri Sauce
Step 1: Prep your ingredients by rough chopping them. Then, place them into a food processor (minus the oil, vinegar and salt.)
Step 2: Pulse the food processor several times, until the ingredients are finely minced.
Step 3: Transfer the minced ingredients into a mixing bowl, and add in the oil, vinegar, and salt.
Step 4: Mix thoroughly, and taste. Adjust the salt and vinegar as needed.
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 1 Fresno pepper seeded and finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ cup fresh cilantro minced
- 2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley finely minced
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1½ tsp coarse sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper fresh,coarse ground
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- Prep your ingredients by rough chopping.
- Add all ingredients except oil, vinegar, and salt to food processor. Pulse till finely minced.
- Transfer ingredients to a bowl, and add the oil, vinegar, and salt.
- Mix Thoroughly, and taste. Adjust salt and vinegar as needed.