This easy, herbacious Argentinian chimichurri sauce is a fresh parsley and cilantro salsa that gives grilled steak, chicken, fish, and vegetables a garlicky kick.
Firing up the grill is a summer habit I’ll never get enough of. The smokey flavor and char of any grilled protein or grilled vegetables is something I crave all year long. But I also crave the tangy yin to grilling’s savory yang, which is why I totally dig a zesty, herb-infused chimichurri sauce.
Adding flavor to foods that hit the hot grill grates is usually accomplished with marinades like this versatile Greek marinade or adding a simple spiced dry rub. But when I want to keep things super simple, my secret to the best flavor bomb is adding loads of that favorite vinegar/garlic/herb flavor AFTER simply grilling my steak, chicken, pork, fish or vegetables.
And that’s when I am very generous with spoonfuls of classic chimichurri sauce to this grilled skirt steak with fresh tomatoes and onion, and drizzle grilled vegetables with chimichurri too.
What Does Chimichurri Sauce Taste Like?
Chimichurri is a South American sauce made with a variety of herbs and garlic. The name and color changes depending on the herbs and spices used.
Most known in Argentinian cooking as salsa verde, chimichurri sauce tastes bright and zippy, and cuts through the savory, fatty flavors of Argentina’s world-renowned grilled cuts of flank steak or most any cut of beef. Chimichurri is served at room temperature over hot or warm meats, or can be served on room-temperature grilled veggies.
But fear not. Chimichurri isn’t just for steak. It’s sauced gold when draping grilled chicken, fish, vegetables and even pork.
What Is Chimichurri Sauce Made Of
Similarly prepared, the difference between chimichurri and homemade pesto is flat-leaf parsley is the main ingredient in chimichurri rather than basil. The addition of vinegar and lemon juice give it a more acidic bite.
My philosophy is typically, “More herbs, more better.” That’s why I’ve also added cilantro and fresh oregano. Hey! Use ’em if you got ’em. If you aren’t a fan of cilantro, or don’t have fresh oregano on hand, just make up the amount called for with flat-leaf parsley and you will be good to go.
The bright flavors of chimichurri sauce ingredients include:
- Flat-leaf parsley
- Cilantro (optional)
- Fresh oregano leaves (optional)
- Red or green onion
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
If you like more heat, add 1/2 seeded jalapeño when chopping. Not traditional, but it is good.
How to Make Chimichurri Sauce
Make chimichurri fast in the food processor. Chimichurri is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, where the herbs, salt and garlic are mashed together to form a paste, and later liquids are whisked or drizzled in. If you’re not feeling the authentic chimichurri method, a whiz in a food processor or high powered blender will get you on your way in a hurry.
To get the best chimichurri consistency, chop the herbs, garlic and onion in a food processor or high speed blender before stirring in the liquid. This will keep the herbs bright and green. Whizzing both the herbs and liquids together at once won’t chop the herbs fine enough and turns the sauce into more of a golden olive oil dressing. Or, feel free to work on your mincing skills and use a sharp chef’s knife to do the job.
How Long Can You Keep Chimichurri?
You can make and refrigerate this chimichurri sauce a day or two ahead of serving. Like salad dressings with a high acid content, I’ve found the sauce keeps in the refrigerator for quite a while. When I make a batch of chimichurri sauce I usually keep the leftovers in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks and have found it’s still good to go. But as always, use your discretion.
What Is Chimichurri Good On?
- Mix into pasta salads as a simple dressing, or use as a green salad dressing on butter lettuce
- Use it as a flavor-builder on scrambled eggs
- Spread on pizza dough with roasted veggies and cheese for flat bread pizzas
- Slather on crostini toasts and top with mozzarella cheese and fresh sliced tomatoes
- Mix into Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to create a quick veggie dip
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How to Make THE BEST Chimichurri Sauce
- Food processor or high speed blender
- 1 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves only, stems removed
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves only, stems removed
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves only, stems removed
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped red onion or shallots
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- To the container of a blender or food processor, add the parsley, oregano, cilantro, onion, and garlic and pulse to mince. Add the red pepper flakes, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice and pulse 2-3 times to mix. Season with kosher salt and add more to taste. Or, finely mince all of the ingredients with a sharp knife, then whisk with the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice in a bowl or shake in a covered glass jar. Make ahead and store in the refrigerator 1-3 days or until ready to serve.
More Recipe Ideas with Chimichurri Sauce
- Grilled Skirt Steak With Chimichurri
- Grilled Vegetables with Chimichurri
- Quinoa And Avocado Chimichurri Salad
- Marinated Flank Steak With Asian Chimichurri Sauce
- Portobello Mushroom Burger With Avocado Chimichurri
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