This hardworking cilantro chimichurri works as a marinade, a finishing sauce for grilled meats and vegetables, and the best dipping sauce for crostini and plantain chips (mariquitas). Really, I use this cilantro chimichurri sauce on just about everything… on a salad, over pasta or rice, and in a sandwich… ooh or on pizza! Everything.
A batch of chimichurri sauce does not last at my house unless my son makes it and bans my hubby and me from consuming it in one sitting. He uses it as his go-to marinade and doesn’t want to see us devour it so he has no marinade, blah, blah, blah. Just pass me the bread and walk away.
My Meat Cute With Chimichurri
I tried Argentinian chimichurri sauce for the first time at Los Ranchos, a popular Nicaraguan steakhouse in Miami. That’s where I first had churrasco steak. They had this chimichurri sauce on the table, and I put just a tiny bit on my steak. I was young and suspicious of new things. After one taste, I was slathering that sauce on the steak.
I’ve tried buying the sauce, but it’s not as good as homemade chimichurri sauce. The freshness of the herbs is critical. So, you may be asking how long does chimichurri last? You can keep it for about a week if it lasts that long! It doesn’t at mine. One batch will give you enough marinade for 2-3 times unless you decide to add it to other veggies or for dipping.
How To Make Chimichurri Sauce
Chimichurri is originally from Argentina and Uruguay, but it’s popular all over Latin America. The traditional sauce is made with a lot of fresh chopped parsley and olive oil and smaller amounts of garlic, oregano, and vinegar. But there are many variations out there that mix other herbs with the parsley, such as basil or cilantro. I’ve even found recipes for chimichurri sauce in Southern BBQ cookbooks!
My version uses parsley and cilantro and, instead of vinegar, I use lemon juice. I like the flavor of lemon better. I like to add a little smoked paprika and cumin (this spice combo is terrific!). My son’s version uses basil instead of cilantro and sticks with the red wine vinegar. It’s also fantastic that way. I just happen to love cilantro a little more.
How To Keep Your Chimichurri From Being Bitter
Parsley has a bit of a bitter taste. While a little bit of a bitter taste is part of it’s charm and is a good balance for meats, you don’t want your chimichurri to be too bitter. So how do you avoid that? First of all, make sure there are no stems, as they can be bitter tasting. Also, wash the cilantro and parsley thoroughly to remove all the dirt and grit.
I know a food processor is easier, but it’s best to hand chop the herbs instead of using a food processor. My son worked at a fine restaurant and they would not use a food processor to make their popular chimichurri sauce. He says the blades tend to bruise the leaves and make the sauce bitter.
Lastly, I go easy on the garlic and lemon juice. You can always add a little bit more but you can’t remove it!
My Favorite Ways To Enjoy Chimichurri
I’ve already told you I would add cilantro chimichurri to just about everything but shakes. Once you make this sauce, you’ll want to slather it on so many things, too. Here’s a list to get you started.
- Use it as a marinade for grilled steaks, fish, or chicken
- Use it as a table sauce for grilled steaks, fish, or chicken, including sausages (that’s one of the ways Argentines like to use it). Or better yet, slice the meat and add it as a delicious and eye-catching garnish.
- Add it to grilled vegetables. You can make a grilled veggie salad with this sauce.
- Use it as a salad dressing or drizzle it over a rice bowl
- Use it as a dipping sauce for veggies, crostini, crackers, or plantain chips
- Drizzle it on pizza or pasta
- Mix it with rice and make chimichurri rice
- Spread it on sandwiches
These are just a few of the ways you can use the sauce. Let me know if you find a few new ways to enjoy it ??Print
This hardworking cilantro chimichurri works as a marinade, a finishing sauce for grilled meats and vegetables, and the best dipping sauce for crostini and plantain chips (mariquitas). Really, I use this Argentinian chimichurri sauce on just about anything… on a salad, over pasta and rice, and in a sandwich… ooh or on pizza! Everything.
1 cup parsley
1/3 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pick the leaves from the parsley, enough for 1 cup firmly packed
- Pick the leaves from the cilantro, enough for 1/3 cup firmly packed
- Finely chop 2 tablespoons of red onion
- Juice 1 lemon
- Crush enough garlic for 1 teaspoon (about 2 cloves)
Chopping: Hand chop by bundling the herbs together and cutting finely.
Mix: Add the chopped herbs, onions, garlic and spices in a bowl. Add about ¼ cup of the olive oil and stir. Add more olive oil a tablespoon at a time until the herbs are covered, but not swimming in oil (about 7 tablespoons). Add 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice, to taste.
Adjust seasonings to taste. You can use this sauce right away, but it’s even better if you let it sit for a few hours. If you’re going to let it sit, wait to adjust seasoning until you’re ready to serve.
You can store in the fridge for up to a week. The olive oil will congeal in the cold, so let it come to room temperature before using.
Make sure to only use the leaves of the cilantro and parsley and not the stems, these will make the sauce bitter. Also, hand chopping the herbs will keep your sauce from tasting bitter. The food processor, while easier, also tends to bruise the leaves and make your sauce mushy.
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