Chimichurri – the cilantro pesto for everything

27 11 2007

Chimichurri (pronounced phonetically – c’mon, roll the r’s) is a sauce or marinade for meat typically attributed to Argentinian cuisine. I say ‘sauce or marinade,’ but its consistency is really more like a pesto. The cool thing about chimichurri is that you can make it with almost anything once you get the idea. I’ve tried a few different recipes but I’ll share one with you here that I have adapted from Steve Raichlen, BBQ expert.


  • 1 cup fresh parsley (flat leaf or curly, packed)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (packed)
  • 1 cup fresh mint (loose)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 3 tbls. white vinegar
  • Juice from 1 fresh lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 serrano pepper (optional, or use jalapeño)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Water as needed

Okay, this is the hard part: put all the ingredients except for the water into a blender and blend. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. You may need to add water as you go to give the chimichurri some consistency. The lime juice, vinegar, and oil should be just about enough, so add water only if you need to. You want a finely blended mix that has the consistency of a pesto or chutney. The more water it has in it, the runnier and messier it is when you serve it. Taste it as it blends and adjust the ingredients to your liking. If you like garlic, by all means add more. Hotter? Add more pepper. And so on.

Serve the chimichurri over any meat. I have not found a combination yet that I did not like. In fact, it even went well with grilled Portobello mushrooms.

Traditional chimichurri sauce consists strictly of parsley as the green element, and adds other spices like oregano, cumin, and paprika. This is just fine as well. Once you’ve made this the first time, you can alter the recipe to your liking. For example, ditch the cilantro, onion, and garlic, and add kiwi and papaya (I don’t know, I just made that up). That’s the neat thing about this marinade/sauce. Once you understand some simple basics of how things taste together you can just make your own.

How about this mix: pine nuts, basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan, salt & pepper. Hey, isn’t that pesto? Why, yes it is! Interesting, huh?

Give me your recipes, I’d love to check them out.




One response

6 03 2008
Boudro’s on the Riverwalk « The Dish on Food

[…] side dish caught my attention: the fire fries with fried jalapenos and plantains served with chimichurri sauce. My 10-12 oz. steak arrived heavily blackened and medium-rare on top of my subbed sides and a […]

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