Easy to make and full of flavor, this cilantro chimichurri will be your go-to sauce for steak, chicken, fish, shrimp and all of your vegetables!
Fresh herbs do not get the credit that they deserve. For example, parsley has long been belittled as inedible plate garnish. A touch of chopped green herbs on a dish is more than just a bit of color.
I am a huge fan of fresh herbs and use them in every aspect of my cooking, and yes, even baking. The more herbs, the better, I say.
My upside down grape cake is baked with fresh rosemary. Persian cuisine takes advantage of fresh herbs from stews like gormeh sabzi to egg dishes like kuku sabzi. We even eat them straight up with feta with sabzi khordan.
So you know I’m going to love all dishes from around the world that features fresh herbs.
Why you must try this recipe
One of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy steak is to serve it with this steak board sauce. In a way, it is like a deconstructed chimichurri sauce.
Chimichurri is a delicious condiment from Argentina. In fact, many cultures from South America have similar sauces.
In its basic form, chimichurri is made with fresh herbs, garlic, a little spice, olive oil and an acid, like vinegar. It can be made with a variety of herbs or just one herb. This recipe I am sharing is for a cilantro chimichurri.
Luckily, I do not have the gene where cilantro tastes like soap. Whew! What would I do with my guacamole?! I absolutely love cilantro and always have a bunch in my fridge. And if you love cilantro, too, you will love this sauce!
We use chimichurri on everything, from steak to chicken to vegetables. It even makes a delicious salad dressing. Shrimp chimichurri? Yes, please!
You’ll soon realize how fabulous chimichurri really is!
Ingredients you need
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- Fresh cilantro: This is the star of the show, so use fresh vibrant cilantro. The thinner stems can be chopped up, but I always remove the thicker stems.
- Garlic: Again, fresh is best for flavor. So use fresh garlic and not powder.
- Green onions: You will use both the white and green parts of the green onion. You can use chives, just chop up a little white or purple onion and add it to the mix.
- Jalapeño: This is such a mild pepper, so don’t freak out that it will turn out spicy. You can make it spicier by using serrano chiles or add some red pepper flakes.
- Dried oregano: Chimichurri can be a mix of a variety of herbs or just one herb. For this cilantro chimichurri, I add a little oregano to the mix. Since you are using just a little bit, you can use dried or fresh oregano.
- Red wine vinegar: You can use any variety of red wine vinegar. My favorite is sherry vinegar which has a light and bright flavor.
- Lemon: I like to use both the juice and zest from lemons. The zest really adds some sunshine to the sauce.
- Extra virgin olive oil: You do not want to skimp with the olive oil. Good extra virgin olive oil has tremendous flavor. You can with a mild oil or a peppery one. Taste it by itself first, to make sure it isn’t rancid. If your oil tastes bad, so will your chimichurri sauce.
- Salt and pepper
1. Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems and finely chop. Finely chop the green onions, both the white and the green parts. Add the chopped herbs into a small mixing bowl.
If you want a smoother sauce, you can combine everything in a blender or food processor.
2. Remove the seeds and membranes of the jalapeño and finely chop. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Transfer everything into the mixing bowl.
3. Use a micro planer to finely grate the zest from the lemon and add to bowl. Cut lemon in half and add lemon juice.
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour for the flavors to meld together before serving.
Expert tips and recipe FAQs
You can serve cilantro chimichurri over ANYTHING! It’s a wonderful dipping sauce for empanadas and of course, served with chicken, fish or any cut of steak! In fact, no matter what meat or vegetable you like, drizzle a little chimichurri over it and you have something magical!
Now this sauce may seem too simple to be mind blowingly delicious. The key is to use fresh ingredients. If the thought of drizzling oil over your food makes you cringe, then you need a lesson on olive oil!
Read the labels. Taste the oil. Fresh high quality olive oil should not taste terrible or make you want to gag. It should accentuate your dish and not ruin it.
I have always been impressed with the consistency in quality and flavor of this olive oil. I use it in everything, from salad dressings to cooking and even baking.
The great thing about chimichurri is that you can make it ahead and it tastes better after a day or two in the fridge. The longer it sits, the more flavor it has. Chimichurri will last in the fridge in a sealed container for 5-7 days. The olive oil will harden in the fridge, so you need to bring it to room temperature before serving. You can also freeze chimichurri for up to 3 months.
The beauty of chimichurri is that you can use a variety of herbs or just one or two. Some favorites include parsley, cilantro, oregano and green onions. You can also add in some basil, rosemary, thyme and chives.
Chimichurri can be as spicy or as mild as you like. You can use mild jalapeños and remove all the seeds, or include some of the seeds for more heat. You can also use serrano chiles or red pepper flakes, if you like your foods spicier.
- 1 cup chopped cilantro, about 1 large bunch
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 green onions
- 1 jalapeño
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 2 TBS sherry or red wine vinegar
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest grated
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems and finely chop. Place in a small mixing bowl.
- Finely chop the green onions, both the white and the green parts and add them to the bowl.
- Remove the seeds and membranes of the jalapeño and finely chop. Transfer to the mixing bowl.
- Finely grate the zest from the lemon and add to bowl. Cut lemon in half and add lemon juice.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate at least one hour for the flavors to meld together before serving.
You can make the chimichurri sauce in advance. Understand that it is totally normal for the olive oil to solidify while in the refrigerator. Give it enough time to come to room temperature to melt again. You can also microwave it for 10-20 seconds.
Serve with steak, lamb, chicken, pork, fish, seafood or vegetables!
Serving Size:2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 42mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
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