Cilantro chimichurri takes 5 minutes to mix up and is loaded with flavor. This fresh herbal condiment is a delicious accompaniment to grilled meats, vegetables, seafood, and so much more.
The option to throw some stuff on the grill and have a healthy delicious meal in minutes, with few dishes involved, is one of the joys of summertime.
But if you're getting a little bored with your grilling and you're looking for a way to add some zip to your meals, chimichurri is your best friend.
What is chimichurri?
Chimichurri is a raw Argentinean or Uruguayan condiment or sauce that is traditionally made with fresh parsley and oregano, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, and vinegar.
It is similar in look and consistency to Italian pesto, but is somewhat looser and has a very different flavor profile.
Chimichurri is often served as an accompaniment to grilled meats like picanha or these grilled chicken thighs.
Is this an authentic chimichurri recipe?
Well, no. While authentic chimichurri is absolutely delicious, I like to play around with the ingredients to make something with a slightly different flavor.
This version is mildly spiced with a little jalapeño instead of the traditional crushed red pepper, and also includes fresh cilantro in addition to parsley.
Is there usually cilantro in chimichurri?
Chimichurri does NOT traditionally contain cilantro, but I think it works really well in this sauce, and adds an extra dimension of flavor.
You can add cilantro in any proportion, substituting whatever quantity of parsley suits your taste. I like a half-and-half ratio.
Cilantro may not be 100% traditional, but it is definitely delicious!
Basically chimichurri is one amazing condiment that is guaranteed to elevate and add some vibrance to your summer meals.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Parsley is an essential ingredient in chimichurri. Flat leaf Italian parsley works best, but curly parsley can be used instead.
Chimichurri is a tangy condiment due in part to the bright fresh flavor of lemon juice. Lime juice is not traditional but makes a nice substitute.
Jalapeno is a fresh way to add a little spice to chimichurri, but crushed red pepper is more traditional. I like to remove the seeds, but you can leave them in for more heat. Fresh red chilies may be used as well and add a beautiful color.
Cilantro, as noted above, is not traditionally an ingredient in chimichurri. If you want go more traditional, or just don't like cilantro, you can skip it and use more parsley instead.
Oregano adds another dimension of herby flavor. Dried oregano is often used instead.
Red Wine Vinegar
Along with lemon juice, vinegar adds a tangy flavor to chimichurri. White wine vinegar can be used instead of red wine vinegar.
Shallots are another nontraditional addition, and while I appreciate a little onion flavor, you can skip the shallots if you like.
How to Make Cilantro Chimichurri step-by-step
It takes just a couple of minutes to make chimichurri with a food processor, but if you don't have one, you can just finely chop the herbs and garlic (or use a mortar and pestle) and combine with the remaining ingredients!
- In a food processor, pulse together the parsley, cilantro, oregano, garlic, shallot, and jalapeño, until roughly chopped. *Note: this is a mild version of the sauce. If you prefer more heat, feel free to leave the seeds in the jalapeño and/or use the whole pepper instead of half.
- Add the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and pulse a few more times to combine. The sauce should still have some texture, and not be fully smooth. It has a loose sauce consistency.
And that's it!
What goes great with chimichurri?
Here are some of my favorite ways to use chimichurri.
- Grilled chicken thighs or breasts
- Grilled steak (obviously)
- Grilled chili lime shrimp
- Grilled salmon or any fish filet
- Corn on the cob
- Grilled vegetables
- Salad - I like to whisk a couple of tablepoons of chimichurri with some additional oil and vinegar for a delicious herby dressing
- Swirled into a creamy summer corn soup (see below!)
- As a spread inside a steak or roast beef sandwich
- As a dip for bread or even raw vegetables.
- Tossed with grilled or roasted potatoes
How to store chimichurri
While I love chimichurri best when it is freshly made, chimichurri can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 week.
You can also freeze it in an ice cube tray, transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag, and store in the freezer for up to 6 months!
- ½ cup cilantro packed
- ½ cup parsley packed
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 small shallot
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- ½ jalapeno pepper seeded*
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- In a food processor, combine the cilantro, parsley, oregano, shallot, garlic, and jalapeño.
- Add the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pulse until well combined.
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