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Fresh & Spicy Chimichurri Sauce with Cilantro

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This spicy chimichurri sauce with cilantro is fresh, zesty, and laced with a kick! Quality olive oil, tangy red wine vinegar, and fresh herbs & spices make this chimichurri sauce the perfect herby condiment for your grilled meats.

This is a shallow white bowl filled with spicy chimichurri sauce with cilantro and a lime on the side.

Chimichurri is a green sauce and Argentinian condiment made with finely chopped fresh parsley, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This versatile sauce brings a bright, fresh, & herby flavor to grilled meats. 

There’s some debate as to the origin of the sauce, but it’s thought to be traced back to a 19th-century Irish immigrant who was missing his Worcestershire sauce from home and had to get crafty to find something to jazz up his food.

I must say, this man is a genius! The first time I had chimichurri, my world was changed. It completely elevates even the most basic meals with freshness and bite. Now it’s a regular staple in our home during the spring & summer months.

Authentic chimichurri recipes don’t usually include cilantro. However, many modern recipes include it, and I love added cilantro because the first chimichurri recipe I ever tried (by Skinnytaste) had it, and it was incredible. Now when I eat chimichurri made only with parsley, it tastes like something is missing. 

Cilantro just beautifully rounds out the flavors of this Argentinian condiment and I highly recommend including it! If you are one of those cilantro haters, then you can easily replace the quantity of cilantro with more parsley.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This spicy chimichurri sauce is fresh and zesty– the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats on a hot summer day.

Making the Perfect Chimichurri

The key to a perfect chimichurri is to use fresh ingredients you can get, and then hand-chop everything–avoid the urge to use the food processor! Using the food processor can easily lead to overprocessing & bruising the herbs, turning them bitter. Olive oil is also sensitive to mechanical agitation, which can release bitter polyphenols. 

If you’ve made chimichurri before and had it taste slightly off, it was probably from over-processing. Hand chopping will lead to more consistently delicious results!

This is a large white shallow bowl filled with the spicy chimichurri sauce.

Ingredients

You just need a handful of fresh, simple ingredients to make this spicy chimichurri sauce recipe.

  • Parsley – I recommend using Italian flat leaf parsley because it is richer in flavor than curly parsley.
  • Cilantro – A fresh, thick bunch of cilantro will do the trick!
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves are essential for a beautifully pungent bite.
  • Red Onion – Red onion is the best type of onion for raw dishes, such as this chimichurri. If you want something with less bit, you can substitute a shallot.
  • Jalapeno​ – Use 1 to 2 jalapenos to add a robust bite to this sauce.
  • Oregano – If you have access to fresh oregano at your grocery store (or in your garden), use it liberally! Otherwise, use a teaspoon of dried oregano.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The rich, mellow flavors of olive oil are perfect for chimichurri. If you prefer a more neutral-tasting oil, you can use avocado oil.
  • Red Wine Vinegar – Red wine vinegar adds a delightful tang.
  • Lime Juice – I love the fresh flavor of lime juice, but lemon juice can also be used.
  • Spices​ – Sea salt, black pepper, and red chili flakes balance out the flavors and add some additional bite.
This is a wooden cutting board with parsley, cilantro, red onion, garlic, jalapeño, olive oil, red wine, lime juice, and spices.

Instructions

Throwing this delicious herbaceous sauce together couldn’t be simpler!

This is a white bowl with the chopped herbs, garlic, onion, and pepper.

1. Chop Herbs & Veggies

Chop your cilantro (leaves & stems) and parsley (just the leaves) with a sharp knife and toss into a mixing bowl. Make sure you chop them finely. I recommend doing this by hand–a food processor can easily turn your herbs bitter. De-seed the jalapenos and dice them, along with half of a small red onion, into small pieces. Mince the garlic. If using fresh oregano, chop that as well. Add all these ingredients into the mixing bowl with the herbs.

This is a white mixing bowl with wooden spoon stirring together the ingredients for the chimichurri.

2. Mix with Oil & Vinegar

Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lime juice to the bowl of herbs & veggies. Add the salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.

Quick Tips

Hand-chop everything for this spicy sauce! Avoid the urge to use a food processor. It’s very easy to over-process mechanically which will activate bitter compounds in the herbs and oil.

Substitutions & Variations

The best chimichurri recipe is a matter of personal preference. This recipe can be played with to highlight your favorite flavors.

  • Don’t like cilantro? You can use a full bunch of flat-leaf parsley and leave the cilantro out.
  • Want it even spicier? You could use serrano peppers instead of jalapeno (you’re brave!)
  • For a sweeter tang, use apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar.
  • If you don’t have lime juice, use lemon instead.
  • To lessen the bite of the onion, you can use a shallot.
  • If you want a thinner sauce, add more olive oil.

Serving Suggestions

You can use this delicious chimichurri in so many ways. 

A small amount goes a long way with this sauce. However, it’s filled with fresh, nutritious ingredients so if you want to go to town on it, I don’t blame you!

Green chimichurri sauce is commonly served with red meat, but we also love it with chicken! Try it with these chicken recipes:

Serve it on brats, burgers, flank steak, pork chops–this homemade chimichurri sauce is so versatile and it can go with almost anything. This delicious sauce can even be a great marinade for chicken breast and tender steaks.

It’s also amazing on potatoes!

This is a small white plate with homemade hand cut fries covered in chimichurri sauce with cilantro and lime in the background.

Nutritional Information

This recipe makes 8 servings. For one serving of this recipe, the nutritional info is as follows:

  • Calories: 130
  • Protein: 0.4 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram

Recipe Notes & Storage

Store extra sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. If the oil hardens in the refrigerator, take the chimichurri sauce out a couple of hours prior to serving to allow it to warm back up to room temperature so you can remix it.

FAQ

Why is my chimichurri sauce bitter?

Bitter chimichurri sauce is caused by overprocessing the herbs and olive oil. I recommend making this sauce by hand rather than using a food processor or blender.

How can I make this chimichurri sauce less spicy?

You can leave out the red pepper flakes and jalapenos for a fresh sauce with no kick.

What can I use instead of red wine vinegar?

I love apple cider vinegar in chimichurri, too. You can also use white wine vinegar.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Please leave a comment and review! It means the world!

This is a shallow white bowl filled with spicy chimichurri sauce with cilantro and a lime on the side.
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Spicy Chimichurri Sauce with Cilantro

This vibrant & fresh spicy chimichurri sauce is the perfect accompaniment for grilled meat and roasted potatoes.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Argentinian
Keyword: chicken with chimichurri, grilling condiment, herb sauce, spicy chimichurri
Servings: 8
Calories: 130kcal
Author: Holly Lee
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1-2 jalapenos, de-seeded & finely diced depending on how spicy you want it
  • 1/2 small red onion finely diced
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil more to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1-2 tbsp fresh
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes more to taste

Instructions

  • Finely chop the cilantro (leaves & stems) and the parlsey leaves. Add to a mixing bowl along with the chopped & de-seeded jalapenos, diced red onion, and minced garlic.
  • Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, oregano, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to the bowl. Stir to combine.

Notes

Store chimichurri sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The oil may harden after a prolonged period in the fridge. Remove from the fridge an hour or two before serving to melt & re-mix.

Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 378IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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