Chimichurri sauce is the king of marinades and condiments! Parsley is ground together with oil and vinegar and lots of garlic. It is SO easy to make and requires no cooking. A staple for South American churrasco (grilled meat), it’s great with beef (like this Flank steak), pork, chicken, or your morning eggs.
We went camping near Lake Tahoe last week with my parents and my brother, it was so fun! My parents were celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary, so we asked them to tell us about their wedding day.
My mom told us her wedding colors were blue and purple. (“So, bruise colors?” -my brother) It was the 70s and pastels were IN, guys.
They did their reception on the cheap and decided to assemble their own finger sandwiches rather than cater. She went to the local bakery and asked them to bake her sandwich bread…in her wedding colors.
I had to stop her. So, you walked into a bakery and asked them to bake you BLUE AND PURPLE loaves of bread, and no one questioned this?? Where was your mother? Why didn’t anyone tell you no one wants to eat bruise-colored sandwiches??
Well apparently the bakers were too polite to talk sense into her, so blue and purple finger sandwiches they served. Tuna sandwiches, to boot.
Then my dad mentioned that there were no wedding registries back then, and they received about 30 sets of towels. We’re all sitting around the picnic table at the campsite, and my mom piped up, “Yeah, this was one of them!” and holds up the hand towel she’s using.
“So let me get this straight. You’ve been using this hand towel for FORTY-FIVE YEARS?”
“Well, no, like Dad said, we got a lot of towels, so it’s possible we didn’t pull this set out for a few years…”
So there you have it my friends. Now you know basically everything there is to know about my origins. My brother thought it was hilarious that the 45 year old hand towel happened to match their wedding colors, and my mom explained to him that her colors were PASTEL blue and purple. Okay Mom.
But how can you argue with this adorableness? And adorableness that’s lasted 45 years? You can’t. Also, note my mom stuffing her face with cake in the photo on the right. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Enough about my hilarious parents. Let’s move on to the star of the show today: CHIMICHURRI SAUCE. Say it with me now, it’s a fun word to say. Have you tried it before? If not, GET READY! It’s one of my favorite condiments.
What is Chimichurri Sauce?
Chimichurri sauce is a magical condiment that’s used all the time in Argentina and many other South American countries. It’s a sauce made of parsley, olive oil, garlic, and red wine vinegar. Sounds ho-hum, right? WRONG. Guys, I don’t know what it is about the blend of humble parsley and garlic and oil, but the result is magical.
You might be thinking, isn’t parsley just a filler herb? Won’t it taste like I’m chewing on rabbit food? NOPE. Chimichurri brings out all of parsley’s hidden glory.
If you know anything about Argentina, (or Brazil, or Uruguay) you know they are famous for churrasco, or grilled meat. (Have you ever been to a restaurant like Fogo de Chao or Tucanos? If you can’t make it south of the border anytime soon, go to one of these churrascarias instead. HEAVEN.) Chimichurri is a condiment used to both marinate and accompany grilled meats in South America.
How to Make Chimichurri Sauce
It could not be easier. You don’t even have to cook anything. Just dump everything into a food processor or blender and whir until modern technology has mulched it into something magical without you having to even lift a finger. Don’t go too crazy, it’s not meant to be pureed completely like pesto. You want to see individual chunks of garlic, parsley, etc.
In fact, traditionally it was all just chopped and mixed together by hand, but I’m sure salsa used to be made by hand too (along with everything), and I’m not going to stop making Blender Restaurant Salsa anytime soon. Ain’t nobody got time for hand mincing these days. If you handed a blender to an Argentinian mom hand mulching chimichurri 150 years ago, do you think she would turn up her nose and say, no thanks, that’s not authentic. Heck no!
Use about a cup of parsley. Look, this fits into a cup, right? Don’t stress about it too much. One bunch from your average grocery store will do ya just fine. And that’s fresh oregano on the right. Dried oregano works too if you’re penny pinching.
What to eat with Chimichurri sauce
On Friday I will be posting about how to grill and oven broil Flank steak. Flank steak paired with chimichurri is one of my favorite meals/appetizers of all time. But there are so many things you can do with chimichurri. Once you have some hanging out in your fridge, you won’t be able to stop adding a little bit here and there to anything and everything. Here are some ideas:
- marinate with and serve as a condiment alongside:
-any kind of steak
- dip your French fries in it (with a little mayo maybe. YUM)
- Top garlic bread with chimichurri
- Toss with small potatoes and roast
- Toss with grilled or roasted veggies (before and/or after grilling)
- Mix into some meatballs (this sounds so good) and serve as a sauce with
- Toss with a salad
- Spread it on some bread to make a killer sandwich (mayo would be good here too)
- Add a bit to your scrambled eggs
- Toss with pasta, warm or cold
- Appetizer idea: toothpick a mozzarella ball and cherry tomato and drizzle with chimichurri
- Mix with tuna salad and sandwich it as usual (hold the purple and blue bread, plz) or spoon into the center of an avocado
Really the possibilities are endless! Chimichurri will keep in the fridge for at least a couple weeks. It’s basically salad dressing, so however long you normally keep homemade salad dressing is how long you should keep it. Mine usually never lasts long. When I make chimichurri I go in a phase where I add it to everything until it’s gone!
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More sauces, dips, and marinades you will love!
How to Cook Flank Steak (Grilled or Oven Broiled) << My favorite meat to make with chimichurri
Tzatziki Sauce Recipe with Toasted Za’atar Pita >> This has got to be one of my favorite appetizers!
How to Cook Tri-Tip << marinate and serve this Tri Tip with today’s chimichurri. OMG SO GOOD.
Gyro Style Shredded Beef << Instant Pot for the win. All-day flavor in a fraction of the time.
5 Minute Restaurant Style Salsa << love this stuff.
Easy No Cook Pizza Sauce << I always use this when we do homemade pizza. So easy!
Restaurant Style Olive Oil and Balsamic Bread Dip << bread dipped in oil and vinegar is the best part of some restaurants.
Simply Amazing Grilled Chicken Marinade << Use this grilled chicken method but use chimichurri for the marinade. YUM!
Nana’s Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs and “Barb”-ecue Sauce << A huge family favorite!
Pan Seared Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella << this would be so good with chimichurri spooned over the top!
Green Goddess Dip from Lemons for Lulu
Garlic Herb Compound Butter For Steak from Spend with Pennies
Roasted Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil from Brown Eyed Baker
How to Make Easy Chimichurri Sauce
- 1 bunch parsley*, about 1 cup, packed
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, OR 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, OR 1 small red pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons cumin, optional**
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup good quality olive oil
- Wash the parsley and trim the stems. I usually leave it in the bundle it came in from the store and work my knife away from the twist tie. Get all the leaves off, then take a minute to remove any really thick stems remaining. Some thin stems are A-okay. You want about a cup of packed parsley, but it's ok if it's not exact.
- Crush 2 cloves of garlic with the side of a chef's knife. Peel off the skin (it's easy once the garlic is crushed). If you know you love garlic, toss in 1 or 2 more cloves, otherwise wait until you've tasted the chimichurri before adding more.
- If using fresh oregano, tear off leaves until you have 1/4 cup. I love the flavor of fresh herbs, but 2 tablespoons of dried oregano really does work great in this recipe if you don't have fresh oregano.
- If using a fresh red pepper, remove the stem and seeds, and slice into strips. (1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper also works well. See how versatile this recipe is!)
- Add parsley, 2-4 cloves garlic, oregano, and fresh red pepper (OR 1/2 teaspoon crushed flakes) to a food processor or blender.
- Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and 2 teaspoons cumin, if you're using it.
- Add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 3/4 cup olive oil.
- Use the pulse button on your machine to pulse the mixture in 1 second intervals. You want everything to get chopped but don't go so far that it's completely pulverized. (If you don't have a blender or food processor, you can also just mince everything really fine and mulch it by hand with the vinegar, adding the oil slowly while whisking so that it emulsifies.)
- Taste the chimichurri and add more garlic, salt/pepper, or whatever you feel it might be missing.
- Enjoy with your favorite grilled meat! Chimichurri makes an AMAZING marinade, so I will often make a batch of this and use a little bit of it to marinate the meat, and save the rest to spoon over the meat when serving. (My favorite is Flank Steak. Click here for the recipe!)
Hi! There was no link to a pesto recipe for the weight loss soup. Would this sauce be an appropriate topping? Thanks for your help!
Hi Fallon! I used store bought pesto as a topping for the Weight Loss Soup. You could absolutely add in some of this chimichurri though! that would be delicious! Great idea.
This sauce is SO delicious and so simple! Got my flank steak marinating in it right now, can’t wait to try them together tomorrow night!!
Ooh I’m excited for you Chyann! I hope your meal is amazing tomorrow!! So glad you are loving the sauce 🖤 thanks for commenting!
It was good to read your article on Chimichurri sauce.
I have been making it for over 10 years now. Our recipes are almost identical except for the Cumin. Will give it a try with my next batch.I used to make up batches to sell at our local farmers market and it was always sold out.
When my son and his wife come for lunch o Sundays I always make sure there is a jar of Chimichurri on the table or I am in trouble. They eat it on anything.
Thanks for the list of uses for it, some I have never heard ofans am eager to try.
I am ready for that chimichurri sauce on my steak, thank you.
This is amazing! I omitted the red pepper, juiced a lime and added red wine vinegar to equal 1/4 cup and I also zested the lime. We were dipping everything in this! Veggies, pita bread, crackers and we also had enough left to drizzle over the grilled steak! :)
Love the lime addition Lori, great idea! I bet it was so good. Thank you for reviewing!!
Love the story AND the chimichurri recipe. Thank you for posting. Your blog is so entertaining and your recipes are wonderful.
You are so sweet Melissa! Thank you so much! It makes me so happy to hear that :) Thank you so much for commenting!
I’ve never made flank steak and would love to try along with your chimichurri sauce/marinade. Is it possible to substitute unseasoned rice vinegar/white vinegar for the red wine vinegar? My husband has an extreme sensitivity to sulfites and the two I mentioned are on his “approved” list. Thank you!
Hey Ellen! Red wine vinegar is indeed the traditional ingredient for chimichurri, I haven’t seen a recipe that calls for a different acid. That said, I still think you are going to get a killer sauce if you use rice or white vinegar! Maybe try using white vinegar and a splash of red wine (not much) just for flavor. Even if you skip the wine I promise you’re going to get an amazing version of chimichurri that will go great with your flank steak! Enjoy!!
Awe, I love those wedding pictures!! This sauce is phenomenal, I could literally eat it with everything!
Aren’t they so cute?? Classic 70s :) And I’m with you Tanya, pass me a spoon! Chimichurri all day!!
Karen, how did you not know this story about the bread?!?! That’s been a subject of conversation (and poking fun) for years, at least for me. Haha! And that towel has been in use my entire existence, so at least 38 years. The best part of this whole story is that she doesn’t think it matched her wedding colors. “It was PASTEL, Karen…” Bahahahha. Love you mom & dad!!!
I feel like I had vaguely heard the story before but didn’t know any details. It was in the back of my mind as like family lore and maybe legend, but I clearly needed a firsthand retelling ;) I love that you recognize the towel. Of course I do to. I wonder what weird things in our houses our kids will remember as always being there.
Yeah, I’m quite sure that my Mom saw absolutely nothing wrong with my lovely pastel bread – you mentioned that nuts don’t fall too far from trees? Oh wait, you were nice and said apples… Hey – at least by the time your wedding rolled around, I’d learned a few things – namely, let others make all fashion decisions!
Ha!! I said apples! And no, if you remember, you made Eric’s bow tie for our wedding, which we think is very funny now looking back on it ;) Who sews a bow tie???
Hahaha how is this story just now being told!? This is amazing. I also find it funny that you ask where her mother was to stop her. Haha you really think the most colorful person in the world would stop them!? Haha
I’m excited to try this, also cumin makes so many things even more amazing!
THAT IS SO TRUE!! haha Grandma is the most colorful woman in the world, you’ve got a good point. Let me know if you try the Chimichurri! I think you’ll like it Misty!