Once you learn how to make chimichurri herb sauce, your "basic" meat, poultry, seafood, and veggie dinners will never be the same again.
What's the difference between chimichurri sauce and pesto?
The two green herb sauces do look alike, but once you learn how to make chimichurri sauce, you'll understand that it's very different from classic Italian pesto.
- First of all, they use different herbs. While pesto calls for any combination of herbs (but favors fresh basil), chimichurri gets its signature flavor from parsley and oregano.
- Second, their textures are different. Pesto is ground to a very fine, creamy looking paste, but the herbs in chimichurri are chopped more coarsely, resulting in a sauce that looks more like green salsa or a chunky herb oil.
- Third, because they hail from different countries (and continents), they've got different flavor profiles. Both include fresh herbs, garlic, and oil, but chimichurri, which has South American origins, also includes a kick of dried chile flakes and tanginess from red wine vinegar. Pesto, which has Italian origins, keeps it more mellow with hard aged cheese, nuts, salt, and pepper.
How do you use it?
Make a batch of chimichurri sauce, and you can flavor-bomb your meals all week long. Here are some ideas to get you inspired:
- Serve it as a sauce for grilled or broiled meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables.
- Toss it with cold cooked pasta and vegetables for an easy pasta salad.
- Drizzle it over homemade vegetable pizza.
- Spoon some over scrambled eggs.
- Use it as a dipping sauce for sliced baguette or crusty bread.
- Swap it in as a condiment for burgers, hot dogs, or tacos.
- Marinate steak, chicken, or shrimp in it before cooking.
- Food processor
- 1 tightly packed cup fresh parsley
- 3 tightly packed tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 3 to 5 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, optional, depending on your spice preference (or use dried urfa pepper flakes for a non-spicy, though inauthentic, version)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine the parsley, oregano, garlic, vinegar, red chile flakes, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a food processor. Pulse until everything is chopped but still has some texture.
- Pour in the olive oil and process until the oil is fully incorporated and the herbs are finely chopped.
- Taste and add more salt and/or pepper as desired.
- Store the chimichurri sauce in an airtight container; refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.