This fresh cilantro chimichurri sauce recipe perfectly accompanies meats, salads, and roasted vegetables. It's vibrant in color with so much flavor and can be whipped up quickly.
Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce made of fresh herbs. This versatile sauce originates from Argentina and Uruguay in South America. 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 key ingredient is. Use the stalks and the leaves. It brings the most beautiful vibrant green color.
- Fresh oregano. Fresh is best, but you can use a little dried oregano instead if you don't have that.
- Fresh garlic cloves - Raw garlic brings extra spice and amazing flavor.
- Fresh red chili (or red pepper flakes.)
- Red wine vinegar - Tangy vinegar brings a little bite.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. This isn't used in traditional chimichurri sauce, but I love the freshness lemon brings.
- Black pepper to taste
See the recipe card for quantities.
This flavorful sauce is easy and fast to make, but it's best when made a couple of hours ahead. 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 with a sharp knife. Add this to a medium 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.
You could use the help of a food processor for this, but I think it's best to chop everything by hand. 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 - Italian parsley is an obvious choice if you want to make it a classic sauce, but you could also add fresh basil, rosemary, or mint to add more variation. A mint chimichurri is a great addition to lamb
- Bulk it out - add a little more green and body with chopped kale or spinach. Sundried tomatoes or chopped red onion add extra flavor and texture.
- Another citrus - Swap the lemon for lime juice and 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. Fine chopped walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts bring extra texture.
Freshly made chimichurri sauce will last 4-5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator, like a sealed mason jar. 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 this cilantro sauce.
- 1 bunch cilantro/coriander, leaves and stalks (a packed ¾ cup when chopped)
- 2 Tablespoons 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.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 374mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g