How to Make Chimichurri: A Step-by-Step Guide with Recipes and Variations

I. Introduction

If you’ve ever had a juicy steak or grilled veggies with a zesty green sauce drizzled over it, then you’ve probably tasted chimichurri. This herbaceous sauce is a staple condiment in many South American countries, particularly Argentina, where it’s served with barbecued meats. But chimichurri isn’t just limited to beef. It’s also delicious with chicken, fish, potatoes, bread, eggs, and more.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to make chimichurri from scratch with easy-to-follow instructions. We’ll also explore the rich history and variations of chimichurri, as well as its health benefits and recipe hacks. So get ready to impress your taste buds and your guests with this tangy and versatile sauce!

II. A step-by-step guide on how to make chimichurri

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s go over the ingredients you’ll need to make a basic chimichurri sauce:

  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional for a spicy kick)

Once you have all the ingredients, follow these steps to make your chimichurri:

  1. Wash and dry the parsley leaves.
  2. Finely chop the parsley leaves with a knife, food processor, or mortar and pestle. You can also leave some stems for added flavor.
  3. In a bowl, combine the chopped parsley, minced garlic, and dried oregano.
  4. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) to the bowl. Stir until well combined.
  5. Taste the chimichurri and adjust the seasoning as needed. You can add more salt, vinegar, or pepper to your liking.
  6. Transfer the chimichurri to a glass jar or bottle and refrigerate until ready to use. You can store chimichurri in the fridge for up to a week.

Your chimichurri sauce is ready! You can use it as a marinade, dipping sauce, salad dressing, or topping for grilled meats, veggies, or potatoes. But if you want to get creative, here are some variations and substitutions you can try:

  • Use cilantro instead of parsley or a combination of both for a different flavor profile.
  • Swap the red wine vinegar for white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice if you prefer acidic tang.
  • Add other herbs like thyme, basil, or mint for a more complex taste.
  • Use different oils like avocado, canola, or sesame oil for a unique twist.
  • Play around with the amount of garlic, salt, and pepper to suit your taste buds.

III. The history and variations of chimichurri

The origins of chimichurri are somewhat disputed, but most sources agree that it originated in Argentina in the 19th century, when cattle ranchers (gauchos) used it as a condiment for their grilled meat. Some say that the name “chimichurri” comes from the Basque word “tximitxurri,” which means “a mixture of several things in no particular order.”

Chimichurri soon became popular across South America, where different countries and regions developed their own variations of the sauce. For example:

  • In Uruguay, chimichurri is often made with parsley, vinegar, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, but it can also include tomato, onion, or bell pepper.
  • In Chile, chimichurri is called “pebre,” and it’s usually made with cilantro, onion, garlic, oil, and vinegar.
  • In Peru, chimichurri is a creamy sauce made with mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and parsley.
  • In Mexico, chimichurri is more like a marinade for meat, made with lime juice, garlic, oregano, and chili powder.

Despite its variations, chimichurri remains a beloved sauce in many South American households and restaurants. You can adapt the recipe to suit your taste preferences or celebrate its diversity by trying different versions from around the world.

IV. The best foods to pair with chimichurri

Chimichurri isn’t just a one-trick pony. It can enhance the flavor of many dishes, such as:

  • Grilled or roasted meats, such as beef, chicken, pork, lamb, or shrimp. Coat your meats in chimichurri before cooking or serve it on the side.
  • Roasted or grilled veggies, such as potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, or carrots. Toss your veggies with chimichurri or use it as a dip.
  • Bread or crackers. Spread chimichurri on your favorite bread or crackers for a delicious snack or appetizer.
  • Salads. Use chimichurri as a dressing for your greens or grains, such as quinoa, rice, or pasta, to add a burst of flavor.
  • Sandwiches or wraps. Spread chimichurri on your bread or wrap before adding your ingredients for a refreshing kick.

Here are some recipe suggestions for each dish:

  • Grilled steak with chimichurri marinade: Marinate your steak in chimichurri for at least an hour before grilling or searing it.
  • Roasted potatoes with chimichurri dressing: Toss your roasted potatoes with chimichurri and some crumbled feta cheese for a satisfying side dish.
  • Grilled shrimp with chimichurri dip: Skewer your shrimp and grill them, then serve them with chimichurri on the side for some extra zing.
  • Quinoa salad with chimichurri dressing: Cook some quinoa and mix it with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, and a generous amount of chimichurri dressing.
  • Chicken wrap with chimichurri spread: Take a tortilla wrap and spread some chimichurri on it, then add sliced grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, and tomato for a quick and tasty lunch.

V. Chimichurri recipe hacks

Chimichurri is a versatile sauce that can be used in many unexpected ways. Here are some recipe hacks to inspire your creativity:

  • Chimichurri marinade: Mix some chimichurri with soy sauce, honey, and lime juice to create a flavorful marinade for grilled meat or tofu.
  • Chimichurri pizza: Use chimichurri as a pizza sauce instead of tomato sauce, and top it with cheese, veggies, and your favorite protein.
  • Chimichurri butter: Mix some softened butter with chimichurri to create a compound butter that you can spread on bread or melt over steaks or veggies.
  • Chimichurri aioli: Mix some mayonnaise or Greek yogurt with chimichurri to create a creamy and tangy dipping sauce for fries or veggies.
  • Chimichurri eggs: Use chimichurri as a topping for scrambled eggs, omelets, or eggs Benedict for a breakfast with a kick.

Here are some recipes for each hack:

Chimichurri Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup chimichurri sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Pour the marinade over your protein of choice and let it marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Grill, bake, or sear your protein until cooked through and enjoy!

Chimichurri Pizza:

  • 1 prepared pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup chimichurri sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onions
  • 1/2 cup cooked sausage or bacon (optional)
  • Preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C).
  • Roll out the pizza dough onto a baking sheet or pizza stone.
  • Spread the chimichurri sauce over the dough.
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheese, mushrooms, onions, and cooked sausage or bacon (if using) over the sauce.
  • Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven, slice, and serve hot.

Chimichurri Butter:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup chimichurri sauce
  • Mix the softened butter and chimichurri sauce together in a bowl until well combined.
  • Spoon the butter mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a log shape.
  • Refrigerate the butter log until firm, at least 2 hours.
  • Slice the butter log into rounds and serve with bread, steak, or veggies.

Chimichurri Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chimichurri sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
  • Refrigerate the aioli for at least 1 hour before serving.
  • Use the aioli as a dipping sauce for fries, sweet potato wedges, or raw veggies.

Chimichurri Eggs:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chimichurri sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, crack the eggs into the skillet and cook them to your desired doneness.
  • Drizzle the chimichurri sauce over the eggs and let it warm up for a few seconds.
  • Use a spatula to slide the eggs onto a plate and enjoy.

VI. The health benefits of chimichurri

Chimichurri is not only delicious but also nutritious. The ingredients in chimichurri offer numerous health benefits:

  • Parsley is rich in vitamins A, C, K, and folate, and it can help with digestion, inflammation, and detoxification.
  • Ginger and garlic are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, and they can boost your immune system and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and improve your skin and hair quality.
  • Red wine vinegar can help stabilize blood sugar levels, aid digestion, and improve bone health.

Compared to other sauces and dressings that are high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, chimichurri is a healthier and more flavorful alternative. Just be mindful of the portion size, as chimichurri can be high in calories due to its oil content.


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