The most versatile sauce you’ll make this summer (recipe for chimichurri)

When it comes to grilling, my modus operandi is simple: use good quality products – of which there are many hanging out around the markets these days – and coat them liberally with a persuasive sauce, marinade, or condiment.

Are you familiar with chimichurri? This Argentinian dressing is one of my favorites, and boasts the freshest of flavors thanks to the marriage of simple garden herbs (parsley and oregano) garlic, jalapeño, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.

Vibrant and fragrant, this sauce is my go-to summer seasoning and makes a frequent appearance at my dinner table in the warm-weather months.

Chimichurri Sauce 2

Extremely versatile, this topping can be used for so much more than a meat marinade. While I certainly don’t discount that idea as it turns an ordinary piece of protein into something rather spectacular, I’ve  also been known to use it to:

  • combine with mayonnaise for a sauce to smear over my sandwiches
  • toss with barbecued veggies, like asparagus, mushrooms, red peppers, and potatoes
  • brush it over fish kebabs and quick-cooking chicken cutlets
  • use as a dipping sauce for grilled bread
  • mix with cooked pasta, sliced barbecued steak or chicken, fresh corn kernels, sliced zucchini, tiny tomatoes, and chopped peppers for an Argentinian-inspired pasta salad.

In fact, this one sauce works for all meats, most produce, and can be turned into the easiest dip you might make this year.

Chimichurri Sauce 3

There are plenty of variations on this flexible condiment, allowing you to play around with the ingredients as they suit you. I’m partial to adding a pinch of smoked paprika to my concoction – I find it easier on a child’s palate than the warmth of the more commonly used cayenne or crushed red pepper – but if you don’t have that available don’t let it be a deal-breaker on trying the recipe.

If you prefer lemon to vinegar, give that a try; if it’s Thai chili peppers you fancy, then please feel free to use those in place of the suggested jalapeño. Consider swapping the oregano for thyme or rosemary, and alternatively try one of my personal favorite modifications: replace half of the parsley with fresh cilantro.

Just start with this basic version, and gussy it up as you see fit.


This sauce benefits from some time to rest so make it at least 30 minutes in advance of using, if time permits. It can be stored in the fridge for up to one week, but bring it to room temperature before using as a dressing or finishing sauce as the flavours will be muted if served cold.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Argentinian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 1359kcal
Author: Jan


  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley stems removed
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper deseeded and chopped
  • 2/3 cup good-quality olive oil
  • 1/4 cup good-quality red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika


  • Combine the parsley, oregano, garlic, and jalapeño in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 8-12 times or until the ingredients are minced.
  • Transfer herbs to a small bowl and add the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and smoked paprika. Adjust seasoning if desired.
  • To use as a meat marinade, divide the sauce into two portions using half as a marinade, and the other half as a dressing when the meat is cooked.


Calories: 1359kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 145g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Sodium: 2373mg | Potassium: 564mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 5885IU | Vitamin C: 102.7mg | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 9.4mg


Tell me, what is your favorite marinade for summer grilling?

About Jan

Jan Scott is a Canadian food writer, party planner, and mom of two active tween boys. She is the home cook and creative behind Family Bites, a blog inspired by the simple recipes and party ideas she’s put to the test on her family. Prior to making the transition to freelance writer, Jan spent five years as a party planner for a private catering company, but shifted to working from home in order to spend more time with her growing family.

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  1. This sounds awesome!! I love that I can put it on pretty much everything!

  2. I haven’t tried this before, but based on the list of ingredients it looks to die for! It sounds like it would be delicious as a salad dressing. I love using fresh herbs in salad dressings.

  3. I absolutely ADORE chimichurri! One of my family’s summer highlights is when the parsley is ready to be snipped from the garden and turned into this favorite. We had a friend from Argentina who made this for us one night for dinner. Not only did he show us to eat it on the steak, but to use it on bread as well. His version was a bit simpler with just parsley, garlic, oil and vinegar and salt and pepper – but it is absolutely divine! Maybe this year I’ll throw some of my oregano in with it. 🙂

  4. Love chimichurri! It’s fantastic on steak! Great recipe!

  5. hi! i recently found out i have a lot of food allergies and i’ve been looking for a sauce to use to replace a lot of other sauces (anything from BBQ to spaghetti sauce). this looks fantastic and would be perfect, except for the jalepeño (allergies). has anybody tried this without the jalepeno? I’m sure it wouldn’t be as good … but is it edible? 😉

  6. 5 stars
    chimichurri is such a great sauce. I love it with chicken and rice. That perfect blend of hot spice and fresh oregano. So good on the BBQ as well. I’ve also added 1 fresh lemon and add thai peppers 🙂

  7. Chimichurri is one of my favorite sauces- flavorful, a little bit spicy, and great in just about anything. Yum!

  8. I’ve never had chimichurri before and by the list of ingredients, I’m sure to love it!!

  9. Just a question: often in recipes I’ll see “good-quality”. For those who don’t know the food industry like their spouse, but more like a good friend – what does “good quality” mean exactly and how can I tell the difference? As my budget each month does not allow for many splurges over $20, does good quality = most expensive? Or is is locale? Brand? Please help! 🙂 Thank you!

  10. So, I’ve been staring at the large batch of parsley in my fridge (last week’s CSA) and the oregano plant my mom planted in my front yard … looks like I now have a delicious solution! Thank you.

  11. Oh, I love chimchurri 🙂 this sounds and looks fantastic!

  12. My favorite restaurant has a steak sandwich with a chimichurri sauce and I love it! So good to know I can now recreate at home!

  13. Hi Jan, Carole’s Chatter is collecting recipes for sauces today. This is a good one. I do hope you pop over and link in. This is the link . Cheers

  14. This looks like a terrific dish! Great use of red wine vinegar. We love all kind of wine.

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