This fresh cilantro chimichurri sauce recipe is the perfect accompaniment to meats, salads and roasted vegetables. It's vibrant in color and flavor and can be whipped up in no time.
Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce made of fresh herbs. This versatile sauce originates from Argentina and Uruguay. Traditionally an authentic chimichurri recipe is made from fresh parsley. This cilantro version brings a new twist to a delicious classic.
Find the ingredient amounts for this simple sauce listed in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is a rundown of what fresh ingredients you will need.
- Fresh cilantro (coriander). The stalks and the leaves can be used.
- Fresh oregano. Fresh is best but if you don't have that, you can use a little dried oregano instead.
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh red chili (or red pepper flakes.)
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice and lemon zest. This isn't traditional in a chimichurri but I love the freshness a little lemon gives.
- Black pepper to taste
See the recipe card for quantities.
This chimichurri is very easy and fast to make, but it's best when made a couple of hours ahead of time. This gives the flavors some time to infuse in the oil.
Finely chop the fresh herbs, mince the garlic, zest the lemon and chop the chili. Add this to a bowl with salt, oil and lemon juice.
Stir everything together to combine. For best results, cover and let the chimichurri sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours to infuse before serving.
It's best to chop everything by hand in a chimichurri rather than use a tool like a food processor. This gives some texture throughout the sauce.
This cilantro chimichurri recipe can be tweaked to bring in different levels of heat and flavor.
- Mild or spicy - Tailor it to the spice level you want by adding different red chili pepper variations. Some have more heat than others.
- Add more herbs - Parsley is an obvious choice if you want to make it more traditional, but you could also add in fresh basil, rosemary or mint to give more variation. A mint chimichurri is delicious with lamb
- Bulk it out - add a little more green and body with chopped kale or spinach. A little sundried tomatoes in there or chopped red onion add extra flavor and texture.
- Another citrus - Swap them lemon for lime juice and lime zest, or use orange or grapefruit.
- Change the vinegar - If you don't have red wine vinegar you can use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar too
- Add extra texture. Finely walnuts, almonds or pine nuts bring extra texture.
Freshly made chimichurri sauce will last 4-5 days in an airtight container like a mason jar, in the refrigerator. However it is best served on the day it is made. It can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
Freeze the leftover chimichurri in an ice cube tray to freeze individual sauce servings. Once it has frozen in the molds, pop them out and store them in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Uses for chimichurri
There are endless ways and possibilities for homemade chimichurri sauce
- Dollop the flavorful chimichurri sauce over meat dishes like grilled meats like flank steak, skirt steak, flat iron or rib eye.
- Serve this green sauce with chicken, fish or prawns
- Use it as a salad dressing
- Drizzle it over roasted vegetables
- Toss it with lentils or couscous
- 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stalks (a packed ¾ cup when chopped)
- 2 Tbsps chopped fresh oregano leaves (or ¾ teaspoon dried oregano)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 small red chili, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Finely chop the fresh herbs. Add the chopped herbs to a bowl along with minced garlic, and finely grated lemon zest.
- Add in finely chopped chili, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Stir everything together and add more salt and pepper to taste.
- For best results, cover and let the chimichurri sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours to infuse before serving.
- It's best to chop everything by hand in a chimichurri rather than use a tool like a food processor. This gives some texture throughout the sauce.