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This easy Chimichurri sauce recipe is an Argentinian and Uruguayan-inspired green sauce to remember. It’s chalked full of simple ingredients like fresh herbs, red pepper, garlic, red wine vinegar, and velvety smooth olive oil. Drizzle it on your favorite proteins, crispy potatoes, salads, and sandwiches for a boost of flavor!
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What is Chimichurri?
If you’ve never had the joy of experiencing fresh chimichurri, it’s a flavorful sauce originating from Argentina and Uruguay. It’s traditionally made with a base of finely chopped fresh herbs and additional ingredients like fresh garlic, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and red peppers for a kick of heat. Chimichurri is most commonly used as a condiment or marinade for meats, but it can be used as a dressing or flavorful sauce on just about anything.
Our recipe is a slight twist on the vibrant Argentinian chimichurri and is equally delicious! Give it a try drizzled on top of our Roasted Yukon Gold Smashed Potatoes!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Olive oil: A necessary ingredient in any delicious chimichurri! Since the flavor and mouthfeel of the oil are well-pronounced in this flavorful sauce, using quality extra-virgin olive oil makes a difference.
- Fresh herbs: Using a combination of fresh cilantro, fresh flat-leaf parsley, and fresh oregano is key for a flavorful chimichurri. All of these ingredients should be available year-round in the produce section of most grocery stores, but if you don’t have access to fresh oregano, substitute 1/2-3/4 teaspoon of dried oregano.
- Garlic: Tons of fresh, raw garlic cloves infuse the oil in the chimichurri and help balance the tanginess in the vinegar.
- Shallot: Mild shallots aren’t commonly used in chimichurri sauces, but we love the subtle onion-like flavor they add to the sauce.
- Red pepper: Both red pepper flakes and fresh red chili peppers will work well in this sauce. Use what is available to you!
- Red wine vinegar: The primary source of acidity and tanginess in this Argentinian-inspired sauce. For the best fresh flavor, don’t skip this ingredient!
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice is not typically used in authentic chimichurri, but we love the additional fresh acidity it adds. It also helps prevent the fresh herbs from oxidizing and browning which can be especially helpful if making for meal prep.
How to Make Authentic Chimicurri Sauce
Making a chimichurri sauce from scratch is as quick and easy as it gets. Simply chop the fresh herbs finely using a sharp knife, add them to a mixing bowl, and add in the remaining chimichurri ingredients. Toss to combine and let the chimichurri sauce sit and “marinate,” for 10 minutes before using.
What Can You Eat Chimichurri Sauce with?
Authentic chimichurri is incredibly versatile and can be used in a number of recipes to enhance the flavor. Uruguayan and Argentinian cuisine commonly serve chimichurri with grilled meats, such as chimichurri steak or chicken, but of course, this isn’t vegan.
Instead, we like to use our chimichurri sauce in the following ways:
- Drizzled on Smashed Potatoes, Portobello Mushroom Steaks, Roasted Vegetables, or use it as a salad dressing on your favorite simple salads.
- As a dipping sauce for crusty, No Knead Bread or Homemade Pita Bread.
- Spread on sandwiches, wraps, and grillable veggie burgers.
- Dolloped on Tofu and Vegetable Scramble, Breakfast Burritos, or Oven Roasted Breakfast Potatoes.
You can also use it to marinate vegetarian proteins such as tofu, tempeh, or vegan chicken!
Because chimichurri sauce is made with a base of oxidizing fresh herbs, it is best enjoyed while fresh. However, leftover chimichurri will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To help the sauce last as long as possible, press a piece of plastic wrap or reusable wrap tightly against the top of the sauce. This will prevent the sauce from being exposed to oxygen and slow down the browning.
When ready to eat, allow the leftover chimichurri to come to room temperature before stirring well and enjoying.
Absolutely. As is, this herbed sauce isn’t overtly spicy, but you can always adjust the amount of red pepper added to the sauce. If you are sensitive to spice, start with 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red peppers or 1/4-1/2 of a finely chopped fresh red chili pepper. Slowly increase as needed to taste.
Although chimichurri and pesto are both made with a base of fresh herbs, they are not the same sauce. Aside from originating in separate countries (pesto is Italian!), chimichurri does not traditionally contain any fresh basil, whereas pesto is typically made primarily with basil. Pesto is also usually pulsed finely in a food processor whereas authentic chimichurri sauce has a chunky texture and is made with chopped herbs. If you are interested in basil pesto recipes, try our Classic Pesto, Nut-Free Pesto, and Vegan Garlic Basil Pesto.
When shopping for fresh parsley at your local grocery store, you may notice there are two options: flat-leaf parsley and curly parsley. While both are edible, flat-leaf parsley is the best option. It’s much more palatable than curly parsley and is typically more flavorful, too!
Chimichurri sauce can be frozen, but it is important to note that the texture of the fresh herbs will be altered slightly upon thawing. If you’d like to freeze your chimichurri, divide the sauce between an ice cube tray (great for defrosting small portions) or in a small, freezer-safe container such as a glass mason jar. Freeze for up to 3 months, then defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and enjoying as desired.