Recipes / Everyday Eats & Sweets

Authentic Chimichurri the Way an Argentine Makes It

Authentic chimichurri the way an Argentine makes it

I can’t get enough of chimichurri.

After trying it for the first time in an Argentinian restaurant almost 20 years ago, I found myself slathering the tangy condiment on nearly everything I ordered, from bread to potatoes, churrasco to empanadas.

I started buying my favorite version of it from a local carnicería and for years I ate the bottled stuff, even though it’s silly easy to make.

Now that I have a garden where I grow half the ingredients in this sauce, there’s no excuse not to make my own chimichurri.

Every Argentine I’ve met has his own way of making it — whether it’s flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley, hand-chopped or food-processed. Sometimes there’s a fresh chile added. Sometimes a spoonful of shallots.

But however it’s concocted, one thing is for certain: The stars of this sauce are parsley and garlic.

Chimichurri has been bastardized a number of ways in American cuisine, even so far as being called “Argentinian pesto” or the “ketchup of Argentina” — which any Argentine will adamantly tell you is not true.

But this recipe is pure, authentic Argentina.

(Actually, authentic chimichurri uses dried oregano, but fresh herbs are too good for me to pass up.)

Parsley, garlic, and oregano for making chimichurri

The bold, garlicky sauce famous to the Land of Silver is traditionally drizzled over meats in Argentinian asado (barbecue) and is sometimes used as a marinade.

I also like to spread it over roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes, mix it into homemade vinaigrette, or serve it as a dipping sauce for bread.

After you make yourself a jar from my chimichurri recipe, you’ll find plenty of other uses for it, too.

Giant of Italy parsley for making chimichurri

Chimichurri

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups packed parsley, minced
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 to 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

I like to use my Giant of Italy parsley for making chimichurri. The sprigs are huge and the leaves are so easy to pull off the stems. Whichever parsley you use, make sure it’s the freshest you can find.

I chop everything by hand as I like a chunky texture, but you can also add the fresh herbs to a food processor, pulse until fine, then add the red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.

Mince the parsley
Finely chopped parsley, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes
Combine all of the chimichurri ingredients in a bowl

Use more or less olive oil as needed, depending on how much parsley you end up with. Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.

Add just enough olive oil to make a sauce that's not too thick and not too runny
Stir the chimichurri until well blended

Decant the sauce into your container of choice and cover with a lid.

Let the chimichurri do its thing overnight, out on the counter, as the flavor will intensify the longer it sits.

Perfectly aged chimichurri is a deep army green and I’ve been known to squirrel away a jar for a week or more before I even open it.

Let the chimichurri sit at room temperature overnight for the flavors to develop
The best chimichurri is a deep army green, so don't be afraid to let the sauce age

My favorite has always been the sauce that sits in a metal tin on the table at an Argentinian restaurant, all brown and murky looking, and you have no idea how long it’s been there or when it was last refilled but it tastes amazing… That’s the look you’re trying to achieve here!

Yield: 2 cups

Chimichurri

Authentic chimichurri the way an Argentine makes it

Chimichurri is often bastardized in American recipes, but this snappy, garlicky sauce is exactly what you'd find in Argentinian cooking and it tastes amazing!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed parsley, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the parsley, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and red wine vinegar.
  2. Add just enough olive oil to make a chunky sauce that's not too thick and not too runny.
  3. Stir the ingredients until well blended.
  4. Decant the sauce into the container of your choice and cover with a lid.
  5. Let the chimichurri sit at room temperature overnight for the flavors to develop. The longer it sits out on the counter, the more the flavor intensifies. Refrigerate after 1 to 2 days. (The olive oil will congeal when chilled, but this doesn't affect the flavor or texture.) Bring the chimichurri to room temperature before using or serving.

Notes

Don't worry about trying to keep your chimichurri bright green and "fresh" looking.

My favorite chimichurri has always been the well-aged sauce that sits in a metal tin on the table at an Argentinian restaurant, all brown and murky looking, and you have no idea how long it's been there or when it was last refilled but it tastes amazing... That's the look you're trying to achieve here!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 635Total Fat: 68gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 57gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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This post updated from an article that originally appeared on April 3, 2013.

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »