How to Make Chimichurri: A Flavorful Argentine Sauce


Chimichurri is a vibrant and versatile sauce that originates from Argentina. It is commonly used as a condiment for grilled meats, but its tangy and herbaceous flavors can enhance a wide range of dishes. In this article, we will explore the traditional recipe for chimichurri, its history, and some variations that you can try. Let’s dive in!

The Origins of Chimichurri

Chimichurri has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century in Argentina. The exact origin of its name is still debated, but it is believed to have been derived from the English word “Jimmy” and the Irish name “Curry.” During the British invasion of the Rio de la Plata region, British sailors were said to have brought a sauce similar to chimichurri, which was then adapted by the locals.

Originally, chimichurri was made with dried herbs, but over time, fresh herbs became the preferred choice. The sauce gained popularity as a marinade and accompaniment for asado, the traditional Argentine barbecue. Today, chimichurri is not only a staple in Argentine cuisine but has also gained international recognition for its bold flavors.

The Traditional Chimichurri Recipe

While there are countless variations of chimichurri, the traditional recipe consists of a few key ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare chimichurri, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Some recipes call for blending the ingredients in a food processor for a smoother consistency, but traditionally, chimichurri is made by hand. Allow the sauce to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

Variations of Chimichurri

While the traditional chimichurri recipe is delicious on its own, there are several variations that you can experiment with to add your own twist to the sauce. Here are a few popular variations:

1. Green Chimichurri

Green chimichurri is a vibrant and refreshing variation that incorporates additional green herbs. In addition to the traditional parsley and oregano, you can add cilantro, mint, or basil to the mix. This variation pairs exceptionally well with grilled fish or roasted vegetables.

2. Smoky Chimichurri

If you enjoy a smoky flavor, try adding a touch of smoked paprika or chipotle powder to your chimichurri. This variation complements grilled meats, especially beef, and adds a delightful depth of flavor.

3. Chimichurri Rojo

Chimichurri rojo, or red chimichurri, is a spicier version that incorporates red bell peppers or roasted red peppers into the sauce. The peppers add a subtle sweetness and a vibrant red color to the chimichurri. This variation is perfect for those who prefer a little heat in their dishes.

Using Chimichurri in Your Cooking

Chimichurri is an incredibly versatile sauce that can elevate a wide range of dishes. Here are some creative ways to incorporate chimichurri into your cooking:

1. Grilled Meats

Chimichurri is most commonly used as a condiment for grilled meats, such as steak, chicken, or pork. Simply drizzle the sauce over the cooked meat or use it as a marinade before grilling for an extra burst of flavor.

2. Roasted Vegetables

Tossing roasted vegetables with chimichurri can transform a simple side dish into a showstopper. The herbaceous flavors of the sauce complement the natural sweetness of the vegetables, creating a delightful combination.

3. Sandwiches and Wraps

Spread chimichurri on your favorite sandwich or wrap for a zesty and aromatic twist. It pairs well with grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, or even as a dressing for a vegetarian wrap.

4. Seafood

Chimichurri is not limited to meats; it also works wonders with seafood. Use it as a dipping sauce for grilled shrimp or drizzle it over a seared piece of fish for a burst of freshness.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does chimichurri last?

Chimichurri can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. However, for the best flavor, it is recommended to consume it within a few days.

2. Can I freeze chimichurri?

Yes, you can freeze chimichurri for future use. Simply transfer the sauce into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the chimichurri cubes into a freezer bag or container. This way, you can easily thaw and use small portions whenever needed.

3. Is chimichurri spicy?

The level of spiciness in chimichurri can be adjusted according to personal preference. The traditional recipe includes red pepper flakes, which add a mild heat. However, you can increase or decrease the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your taste.

4. Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh?

While fresh herbs are preferred for their vibrant flavors, you can use dried herbs if fresh ones are not available. However, keep in mind that the flavor may not be as pronounced, so you may need to adjust the quantities accordingly.

5. Is chimichurri gluten-free?

Yes, chimichurri is naturally gluten-free as it does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. However, it is always important to check the labels of store-bought chimichurri or any additional ingredients you may use to ensure they are gluten-free.

In Summary

Chimichurri is a versatile and flavorful sauce that adds a burst of freshness to any dish. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or experiment with variations, chimichurri is sure to impress your taste buds. From grilled meats to roasted vegetables, sandwiches to seafood, the possibilities are endless. So, why not give chimich



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