There is no singular “best” chimichurri sauce—much like Mexican salsas, you can find different interpretations of this South American condiment all across Argentina and Uruguay. A mess of fresh herbs and olive oil, it’s thought to have been brought over from the Basque region of Spain by immigrants settling in Argentina in the 19th century. Lore says that the name chimichurri might derive from a phonetic spelling of the Basque word tximitxurri, which can be loosely translated to mean a bunch of things mixed together in no particular order.
The versatile sauce traditionally pairs well with grilled meats but can bring a burst of flavor to any meal. We've even been known to add chimichurri to everything from tacos to a freshly made salad or drizzled over grilled veggies. You can't go wrong.
Here's what you need to know to whip up a batch of chimichurri in minutes.
Chimichurri contains a wide variety of flavors and depending on who you ask, a wide variety of ingredients: floral richness from best quality olive oil; zing from some sort of acid, like vinegar or freshly-squeezed citrus; bite from raw garlic or finely minced shallots; fire from dried pepper flakes or minced chilis; pungent salinity from anchovies, capers, or a hefty pinch of fancy salt.
Chimichurri does not need to be an exact recipe—it’s actually better when it’s your recipe. Add a bit more of this or a bit less of that to make a chimichurri that pleases your personal palate.
Here's what we recommend to start:
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small chili pepper, finely minced (optional)
- 2 Tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ⅔ cup flavorful olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
How to Make Chimichurri
Traditionally, chimichurri is made by hand, not with a food processor. A food processor will create a sauce that’s a bit more of a blended paste; doing it by hand results in a luscious, oil-based condiment that drips off your food in rich, herbaceous, unctuous slicks. It takes a bit more effort, but it’s well worth it.
Trim the bottoms off the parsley and cilantro. Use a chef's knife with a rocking motion to finely mince the herbs, stems and all. Add the oregano leaves and capers to the pile and mince into the rest of the herbs, then move them all to a mixing bowl. Stir in shallot, garlic, chili (if using), vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, then allow to rest for at least 15 minutes — preferably longer.
Chimichurri can be stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar for up to three days.