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Take your steak and grilled meat game to a whole new level of deliciousness with our chimichurri recipe, ideal for lacing each succulent mouthful with a breathtaking fusion of freshness, herbaceous notes, and a smidge of spice for good measure.
Slather this flavor-packed sauce on juicy steaks, succulent ribs, or smoky sausages, and you are guaranteed to awe and delight your guests at your next garden party or summer barbecue.
Chimichurri, with its pesto-like consistency and bold, herby fresh flavor, with a little kick from the addition of red pepper flakes or chilis, is to the Argentinian asado what tzatziki is to the Greek platter.
What is Traditional Chimichurri?
An especially popular pairing for grilled meats, or asados in Argentinian and Latin American cuisine, chimichurri is a fresh, uncooked table sauce, synonymous with Argentine, Uruguayan, and Nicaraguan cuisine.
While the composition of chimichurri will vary depending on region, country, or preference, traditional chimichurri will always contain finely chopped parsley. The sauce is then built with additional ingredients, with olive (sometimes sunflower) oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes being common inclusions, along with other ingredients.
You’re likely to see one of two types of chimichurri: green or red, the differences of which are discussed below under ‘variations.’ While chimichurri is traditionally used as a marinade or a sauce to spoon onto asados once the meat has cooked, it can be used with plenty of other types of meat, including chicken, chorizo, and seafood.
The real beauty of chimichurri is that it is an uncooked sauce, meaning you can quickly mince and chop all the ingredients, mix them together, and have a wonderfully fresh and herby chimichurri ready to go in a matter of minutes.
Green/Red – Both green and red chimichurri (chimichurri verde or chimichurri rojo) consist of the same core ingredients of parsley, then oil, garlic, red wine vinegar, and additional herbs, ingredients, and seasonings. Red chimichurri, however, is considered the spicier version, as it commonly includes additional chili, such as cayenne, paprika, and red chili flakes, which give the sauce its red color.
Additional Ingredients – Again, depending on preference or region, you will find chimichurri recipes that include oregano, shallots, onions, and/or lemon juice, among others.
To make our chimichurri recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Parsley – 1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley
- Cilantro – 1/2 cup finely minced fresh cilantro/coriander
- Oregano – 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano)
- Red Wine Vinegar – 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Red Chili Flakes – 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- Salt – 1 tsp kosher salt (if using fine salt, reduce to half a teaspoon)
- Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Garlic – 2 finely chopped small garlic cloves
- Oil – 1/2 cup of olive oil (alternatively, you could use sunflower oil)
- Water – 2 tbsp cold water, to loosen up the sauce
Step 1 – Mix all the ingredients (minced parsley, minced cilantro/coriander, dried oregano, red wine vinegar, red chili flakes, salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, oil, and water) in a large bowl with a spatula and let the sauce sit for about 5-10 minutes.
Step 2 – Give it a taste after 5-10 minutes and adjust the seasonings to your preference. You can add more garlic if you’re a garlic lover or more chili flakes for a touch more heat.
(Optional) – While traditionally the herbs are finely chopped/minced, you could also use an immersion blender, a small blender, or a food processor to blend the sauce for a smoother consistency. I personally prefer the more traditional chopped version, but it’s up to you which one to go with.
The world really is your oyster when it comes to chimichurri and what you can pair it with. Naturally, grilled meat is its conventional pairing, but there are plenty of other dishes you can try it with. Take some inspiration for your dinner party or gathering from some of these suggestions.
Steak – Where better to start than a meat that Latin America, and especially Argentina, is renowned for? Especially for the likes of flank or skirt steak, which are often thicker, meatier, and sometimes a little chewier, chimichurri can really enhance and balance the flavor with its fresh, herby notes. But in all honestly, you can add this sauce to any type of steak, and they will happily go hand-in-hand together.
Chicken – Chimichurri chicken, especially with chicken thighs, is a very popular dish, and you’ll find countless recipes for it in cookbooks and online. Here, the chimichurri can be used as both a marinade for the chicken and a sauce to pour over the top of the chicken once it is cooked.
Seafood – Chimichurri is a popular pairing for white fish in particular, as white fish tend to have a flakier, more subtle flavor, and hence the bold, herby notes of chimichurri can really intensify it. Shrimp is also commonly paired with chimichurri.
Grilled Meats – Pork and chorizo sausages can really benefit from a dowsing of chimichurri sauce, as can pork ribs, lamb, and in all honestly, plenty of other meats you can fire up the grill for.
Meat and Vegetable Kebabs – If you’ve got some skewered kebab meat or roasted vegetables on the grill, once ready, finish them with a generous drizzle of chimichurri to balance that sizzling heat.
Green Salad – A little unconventional, and not necessarily seen as traditional, but chimichurri can make for a very tasty dressing or vinegarette for green salads.
This bright and flavorful sauce is incredibly diverse, and you can enjoy it in so many ways. It’s simple to put together, and can quickly become a tried and trusted staple at all your barbecue or outdoor grill gatherings.
Chimichurri Recipe Card
- 1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup finely minced fresh cilantro/coriander
- 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano)
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt (if using fine salt, reduce to half a teaspoon)
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 finely chopped small garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup of olive oil (alternatively, you could use sunflower oil)
- 2 tbsp cold water, to loosen up the sauce
- Mix all the ingredients (minced parsley, minced cilantro/coriander, dried oregano, red wine vinegar, red chili flakes, salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, oil, and water) in a large bowl and let the sauce sit for about 5-10 minutes.
- Give it a taste after 5-10 minutes and adjust the seasonings to your preference. You can add more garlic if you’re a garlic lover or more chili flakes for a touch more heat.
Optional: While traditionally the herbs are finely chopped/minced, you could use an immersion blender, a small blender, or a food processor to blend the sauce for a smoother consistency. I prefer the more traditional chopped version, but it’s up to you which one to choose.
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