Culinary Arts

Healthy, Quick, and Easy Chimichurri Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Feb 1, 2019 • 2 min read

As the ultimate condiment for an Argentinian asado (barbecue), the word chimichurri has been interpreted to mean “a mix of things in no special order.” Food historians think it originated as an easy sauce for gauchos to flavor meat cooked over open fires.

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What Is Chimichurri?

Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce made with fresh herbs and varying degrees of oil and acid. It is a member of the salsa verde family that hails from Argentina and Uruguay. Chimichurri, with its tangy vinegar and raw garlic, is the perfect foil for the rich grilled meats that dominate the country’s cuisine. Chimichurri can be either green or red.

What Does Chimichurri Taste Like?

Chimichurri has a bright, aromatic heat from chiles and garlic. The acidity from fresh green herbs and vinegar helps to cut through the richness of many different cuts of meat.

What Is Chimichurri Made Of?

Chimichurri is composed of finely-chopped herbs—a classic combination is fresh parsley, cilantro, and oregano—extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, shallot (or finely-chopped red onion), and red pepper flakes. Red chimichurri sauce contains red bell pepper and tomato.

Tips for Making Chimichurri

  1. Let the shallots, garlic, and vinegar marinate for 10 minutes or so. In addition to giving everything a light pickle, this vinegar marinade will soften any harsh raw notes in the onion.
  2. Blend the sauce in a food processor for a finer texture. While not necessary to pull off a great chimichurri, a food processor will boost the texture just enough to stand up against a grilled protein. You’re still looking for a loose sauce, so don’t leave the processor running the whole time: pulse to combine the herbs with the marinated garlic and shallot in vinegar, scraping down the sides as needed, then slowly add oil until combined. Season to taste, and set aside.

Is Chimichurri a Sauce?

Chimichurri is a flexible sauce that pairs well with meat, fish, or vegetables. Spoon it across a barbecued steak, asado-style, or a crispy whole grilled fish; slather it on slices of Italian bread for a herb-laced garlic toast, or use it to garnish fresh hummus for a gluten-free side.

Is Chimichurri a Marinade?

Chimichurri also serves as a marinade for grilled meats. Simply place meat into a glass or ceramic dish, cover with the chimichurri and store in the fridge at least 3 hours or overnight. Just remember to set some sauce aside for serving—you shouldn’t reuse the marinade after it’s worked its magic.

Easy Traditional Chimichurri Recipe

Ingredient Checklist

Total Time 15 min | Prep Time 15 min | Serving 1 Tablespoon, Serves 2 Cups

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¾ tsp red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  1. Combine garlic, shallot, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and salt in a medium bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the fresh herbs, then, using a fork, slowly whisk in olive oil.
  3. Season with salt.

For best results, let final sauce sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour for flavors to meld.

Store in the refrigerator and use up to one week.