A few weeks ago, I became a first-time herb mom (yes, they are still alive!). Owning (and keeping alive) herbs, along with a recent interview I had about composting and waste prevention, led me to finding new ways and recipes to make use of my tiny balcony garden.
First, a disclaimer: I’m not a great cook by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t consider myself very creative in the kitchen and I generally buy all my sauces in pre-made bottles that I can stick in the side of my refrigerator and promptly forget about. But – like I said – I’m trying my best. This chimichurri sauce is a nice way to both kick my cooking up a notch (seriously, it makes everything taste fancier) and it helps me utilize my herbs without wasting them, which is a total win/win for me.
The herbs that I bought in July are not only alive at this point, but they are starting to become a mini jungle that’s slowly taking over my balcony. When registered dietitian Taylor Wolfram suggested making chimichurri, I figured it couldn’t hurt to trim my herbs a bit and try it out – worst case, I thought, it’s a disaster, and I can reclaim my balcony space.
Chimichurri is a very common Argentinian condiment that can be used as a sauce or a marinade. It’s made with herbs, olive oil and garlic, so it’s fairly mild and has a nice, tangy flavor to it. Chimichurri is also a really fun and impressive word to say out loud, for whatever that’s worth (read: a lot).
It turns out making chimichurri at home is super delicious and pretty much fool-proof (trust me, I’ve practically tried to mess it up several times to no avail). What I like most about chimichurri is that the herbs I choose to add to it vary, so I am never really measuring or needing specific amounts of any herb to make it work.
I also love how versatile it is as a topping. I originally thought chimichurri is only meant to pair with red meat, but I have come to discover it tastes good on just about anything (see: sandwiches, salads, eggs, roasted potatoes, chicken, garlic bread, tacos, etc. – oh, the possibilities!)
If you have excess herbs, like me, or just want to try your hand at making a simple and delicious DIY sauce, here’s what you’ll need to make chimichurri at home.
- 1 cup of olive oil
- ~2 cups of herbs
- I mainly use basil as my main herb (~1 cup or more, because it grows so quickly) and fill in the rest with a variety of the other herbs I have on hand, based almost solely on how much they need to be trimmed down. That’s generally equal parts parsley, rosemary, oregano and sage for the other cup.
- Many recipes also call for cilantro
- Traditional chimichurri is generally made with parsley leaves and some oregano, I just happen to have a lot of basil on hand and like the taste!
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar (I usually just eyeball it and pour some in, again, it’s a very forgiving recipe)
- Optional (I usually add these if I have them around):
- ¼ cup or so of onion or shallot
- A squirt of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Simply put all of the ingredients in a blender (or, for me, a nutribullet) and blend it until it’s nice and smooth. I generally make it before I prep whatever else I plan to eat it with so it has time (~30 minutes or so) to give the flavor some time to sit.
And voila! Just like that, you can trick your friends into thinking you are a semi-fancy chef with secret kitchen skills.
If you try it yourself, let me know what you think (and what you eat it on! #chimichurrieverything!)