Chimichurri Sauce | The Rising Spoon

Monday, May 14, 2018

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is a bright and tangy sauce featuring simple & healthy ingredients like parsley, oregano, garlic, vinegar, and oil. Drizzle it on savory foods for a pop of intense herbaceous flavor. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need a fast, easy & inexpensive sauce for meal planning or parties! {gluten-free, paleo, vegan & whole30}

Easy Chimichurri Sauce Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo & Vegan)

We're gearing up for grilling/cookout/picnic season, which means everyone has BBQ recipes, marinades, fruit salads, iced tea, cold brew coffee, and more on the brain. But, before you start slathering barbecue sauce and basil pesto on everything, I want to introduce you to a different sauce (that I'm obsessed with and is just as good)--chimichurri

What is Chimichurri Sauce? 


It's an oil-based herb sauce made with fresh parsley, oregano, garlic, vinegar, crushed red pepper, oil + salt & pepper. The dominating flavors are parsley, garlic & vinegar (depending on how much you like to add of the latter for extra tang). It originates from Argentina and Uruguay, where they use it on cooked meats (like thinly sliced steak) or as a condiment at meals. 

Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients

FYI: You might have seen or tasted versions made with half parsley and half cilantro. This is an American take on chimichurri, as cilantro is hard to find in Argentina. I've tried it with cilantro and think it's yummy, but for today's blog post I wanted to share the Argentinian-style sauce with just parsley & oregano. 

If this is your first time making chimichurri, I think you're better off leaving out the cilantro, especially if you're cooking for a crowd. A good chunk of the population thinks cilantro tastes like soap (it's a genetic thing) so you might not want to risk them hating your food. :P 

If you and your friends looooooove cilantro, then go try this cilantro chimichurri sauce. Make the whole salad & lemony beans, too. It's so good!

What is Chimichurri Sauce Like?

Think of it like a slightly chunkier, looser pesto (in terms of texture), with a bright, tangy, herbal, slightly spicy flavor from the combo of fresh parsley, oregano, and garlic, and vinegar. I find it super refreshing! You can also adjust all the ingredients to your personal taste and it's packed with healthy ingredients, so what's not to love?

Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan)

What Do You Put Chimichurri Sauce On? 

Once you make a batch of chimichurri sauce, you'll want to drizzle, dip, and slather it on all the things. No kidding. But just for starters, here's a list of some ideas that I personally love and/or want to try soon:

  • grilled or pan-seared steak (thinly slice first then drizzle over pieces)
  • roasted or grilled chicken thighs, breasts, legs, or quarters
  • pork chops or loins
  • pan-seared salmon
  • sauteed or grilled shrimp
  • roasted quartered potatoes & onions (mix in after cooking)
  • raw or blistered heirloom tomatoes
  • on a hot or cold sandwich as a condiment
  • stir it into cooked rice, quinoa, or couscous
  • sauteed or grilled zucchini
  • scrambled or fried eggs
  • a big leafy salad
  • pasta salad 
  • use as a dip with crusty bread 

Chimichurri Sauce (Argentinian-Style)

How to Make Chimichurri Sauce


You might be wondering, do I need a food processor or blender for this recipe? The answer is NO.

Those tools are just for convenience and using them actually increases the chance that you'll over-blend the chimichurri sauce. So, make it with or without those tools. It's your call.

All you really need are the recipe ingredients, a cutting board, a sharp knife, and a bowl for mixing the sauce.

What happens when you over-blend the ingredients?

First of all, it's not the end of the world! (Chimichurri purists may think so.)

Second, you'll end up with a smooth, uniform texture similar to a creamy salad dressing because the oil has emulsified and the non-liquid ingredients are tiny. If this happens, the chimichurri will still taste delicious, it'll just have a different texture (which is part of the experience, in my opinion, but that's okay).

I have an inexpensive blender that seems to have a mind of its own, which gives me inconsistent results. This time around (when I shot the pictures for the recipe) the chimichurri turned out great; however, a few days later when I made another batch for pan-seared salmon (recipe coming soon) the blender hated me and emulsified the oil. I was still able to get bigger chunks of parsley & oregano, but the liquid turned a creamy, bright green instead of staying oily. Le sigh.

To avoid this completely, simply chop all your ingredients by hand so you can control their size without affecting the oil. This is actually how they do it in Argentina (or use dried herbs). I'm probably going to start doing it by hand so I can control the outcome, but if you want to give a blender or food processor a shot for your first go, more power to ya.

Easy Chimichurri Sauce (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Whole30, Vegan)

Adjusting Chimichurri Flavors


What happens if your chimichurri turns out too vinegary, acidic, oily, spicy, salty, etc.? Adjust it! That's the beauty of this recipe. Add the basic ingredients, let it sit for about 10-15 minutes to do its thing, taste it, then fiddle with the ratios, adding a bit more of one thing or another to get the flavors just how you like them.

I typically add a bit more vinegar & oil to mine, depending on how much parsley ends up in a batch (the size of your leaves and the individual bundle may impact this).

Also, the types/quality of ingredients can have an impact on the overall balance.

For the oil, it's important to choose one that's not strong, otherwise, it will overpower the other ingredients. I typically use a light-tasting olive oil or avocado oil (or a mixture of both). So, this is not the time for a strong-tasting extra virgin olive oil. Save it for something else.

As for vinegar, red wine vinegar is the most popular for chimichurri, but I personally find it a bit overpowering, so I typically use a milder vinegar like white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar. However, I would NOT recommend balsamic vinegar. That would just ruin the flavor, in my opinion.

Chimichurri Sauce; Easy Chimichurri Sauce
Sauce
Argentinian
Yield: 3/4 cup (approximately)

Chimichurri Sauce

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 10 MINStotal time: 20 mins
Chimichurri is a bright and tangy sauce featuring simple & healthy ingredients like parsley, oregano, garlic, vinegar, and oil. Drizzle it on savory foods for a pop of intense herbaceous flavor. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need a fast, easy & inexpensive sauce for meal planning or parties! {gluten-free, paleo, vegan & whole30}

ingredients:


  • 2 cups of flat-leaf parsley leaves (about 1 bundle), packed
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed & peeled
  • 1/4 cup of fresh oregano leaves (or 3-4 tsp of dried oregano)
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar (like red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar - not balsamic)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (I use the latter amount but like spicy stuff & could even add more)
  • 1/2 cup of light-flavored olive oil or avocado oil

instructions:

Method #1 (By Hand):
  1. Finely chop or mince (depending on how chunky you want the sauce) the parsley, oregano, and garlic. Add these to a small bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes so the ingredients saturate into the oil, give it a taste, and add more oil, vinegar, crushed red pepper, or salt if needed. 
Method #2 (Blender or Food Processor):
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse lightly (in 2-3 second bursts), scraping down the sides, until the herbs & garlic are in small chunks, but the oil isn't emulsified (it's okay if that happens).  If needed, add an extra 1/4 cup of oil to the blender/processor to help it blend easier. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes so the ingredients saturate into the oil, give it a taste, and add more oil, vinegar, crushed red pepper, or salt if needed. 
Serving & Storage:
  1. Drizzle the sauce over cooked (or cooking) meats, fish, or vegetables or use as a dip or condiment alongside your favorite foods. Store leftover sauce in a tightly covered container in the fridge and if using again as a condiment, bring it to room temperature first before serving. Use within a week or so (if it lasts that long). 
Created using The Recipes Generator


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Chimichurri is a bright and tangy sauce featuring simple & healthy ingredients such as parsley, oregano, garlic, vinegar, and oil. Drizzle it on savory foods like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and bread for a pop of intense herbaceous flavor. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need a fast, easy & inexpensive sauce for meal planning or parties!

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