This easy chimichurri sauce recipe highlights the bright flavors of fresh parsley, cilantro, and garlic with a splash of lemon and red wine vinegar.
I’ve been making this version of chimichurri sauce for the last few years, and I don’t know why I never shared it until now. It’s one of those meals my family looks forward to when I say it’s on the weekly menu. Every time I make it, Mr. Hungry says why don’t we eat (insert protein) like this all the time? It’s bright, it’s flavorful, it’s versatile, AND best of all, it’s easy to make.
Over the next few months, I’m planning to share how you can take this sauce far beyond a topping or a marinade, starting tomorrow with chimichurri chicken thighs. But, today, it is all about the sauce, friends. All about the sauce. Fresh herbs finely chopped with garlic, oil, lemon, vinegar, and salt. So like a salad dressing, but really, so much more.
What is chimichurri sauce?
Green gold. Okay, joking aside, chimichurri sauce is one of the easiest to make and most versatile sauces on the plant. It takes just a few minutes to make in a food processor, blender, or by hand. It traditionally uses fresh herbs such as a combination of cilantro, parsley, and garlic with salt, oil, and vinegar. Its bright flavor compliments just about any protein dish like seafood, poultry, and red meat. But it can also be used on rice and veggies (like my Tumeric air fryer cauliflower.) It’s traditionally from South America, specifically Argentina and Uruguay, but is becoming more mainstream. Chimichurri sauce has many variations, including a red variety that uses peppers or tomatoes as the base instead of green herbs.
How to Make Chimichurri Sauce?
My preferred method of making chimichurri sauce is using a food processor (see below for instructions for making chimichurri without a food processor).
It’s just dumping the ingredients and processing them until you get a sauce. You may scrape down the sides a couple of times and then pulse. You do want to be careful of overprocessing, or your ingredients will become a smooth sauce instead of the traditional finely chopped herb texture. However, it will still taste delicious, so either way, you win!
How to Make Chimichurri Sauce Without A Food Processor?
You can make chimichurri sauce without a food processor. You can use a blender or immersion blender as well. Just know, with a blender or immersion blender, the final sauce will be more fully blended instead of the chopped herb look you may be used to. However, the taste will be the same! Some even prefer it! You can also finely mince the ingredients by hand and whisk them really well with the oil, vinegar, and salt like you would if you made a homemade salad dressing.
Swaps & Substitutions
Here is the thing. There are a million and one recipes for chimichurri, all slightly different and probably all delicious. The big thing with chimichurri sauce is that you want to use FRESH herbs and garlic, not dried. It doesn’t work that well with dried.
Parsley – Do not omit.
Cilantro – optional. There is a version of chimichurri called cilantro chimichurri that can be made with ONLY cilantro or a mix of herbs where the cilantro is dominant. For example, you could do 2 cups of cilantro and 1 cup of parsley (instead of the reverse, which is how the recipe is written) to make the cilantro dominant. Or you could omit it entirely if you aren’t a cilantro fan. Just increase parsley by one cup.
Green Onion – I always add one green onion stalk to my chimichurri, I love it, but you can omit it.
Garlic – Do not omit.
Avocado Oil – You can use any oil you want, but I suggest using avocado oil because it stands up to heat well if you cook with chimichurri sauce. However, you could also use olive oil as well.
Red Wine Vinegar – vinegar, specifically red wine vinegar, is the traditional ingredient in chimichurri. You could use lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or plain vinegar in a pinch.
Lemon Juice – optional. You can use 3tbsp red wine vinegar and omit the lemon if you want. I like the extra brightness the lemon juice adds.
Salt – Increase or decrease according to preference.
Is chimichurri sauce healthy?
Absolutely! I can’t think of a better way to pack all the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties of fresh herbs and garlic in a more convenient way to consume. The type of oil you use matters, though. Heart-healthy oils such as avocado or olive oil are traditionally used and the best choices. Some people may worry about this sauce being oil-based, but healthy fats are good for your hormones, weight loss, and million other things! Lemon and red wine vinegar also contain anti-oxidants and GI-boosting properties. Chimichurri recipes can be high in salt, so if you have a history of high blood pressure, you may want to use a little less than the recipe calls for. However, modification as part of a well-balanced diet is not necessary for most people.
Is chimichurri sauce spicy or hot?
The raw garlic in chimichurri sauce can be perceived as a little spicy or hot. Some recipes also add chili flakes, adding a little spice to the sauce. I don’t typically add chili flakes to mine.
Can you heat chimichurri sauce?
Absolutely! As long as you use a heat-safe oil like avocado, canola, or refined olive oil.
Do you serve chimichurri sauce hot or cold?
Either or both! I often cook with chimichurri, then add more cold chimichurri on top of the final dish! I also use it to toss with veggies or as a dip!
How to store chimichurri sauce?
The best place to store chimichurri sauce is in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Does chimichurri sauce need to be refrigerated?
Yes, chimichurri sauce should be refrigerated. It’s okay if it sits out for less than two hours, but after that, it should be stored in the refrigerator.
How long does chimichurri sauce last in the fridge?
Freshly made chimichurri sauce usually lasts up to a week in the fridge. Some sources state 2-3 weeks, but that’s generally for store-bought versions with preservatives or additives.
Can you freeze chimichurri sauce?
Absolutely! You can freeze chimichurri sauce for up to 3-6 months. This type of recipe holds up in the freezer really well!
Use Your Chimichurri Sauce In These Recipes:
- Chimichurri Egg In A Squash Ring
- Chimichurri Chicken Marinade
- Air Fryer Tumeric Cauliflower with Chimichurri Sauce
- Chimichurri Chicken Thighs (Skillet to Oven method)
- Easy Chimichurri Shrimp
- Chimichurri Flank Steak (stovetop or grill)
- Chimichurri Salmon
- Chimichurri Burgers
Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
- 2 cups parsley
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 green onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- Blend parsley, cilantro, green onion, garlic, avocado oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and salt in a small food processor.* You may need to scrape the sides and pulse a few times.2 cups parsley, 1 cup cilantro, 1 green onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup avocado oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp salt