Authentic chimichurri is a delicately herbaceous, tangy, and vibrant sauce perfect for steak dinners or all vegetarian meals. It’s naturally gluten-free, vegan, and effortless to make—prepare big batches for family get-togethers or smaller portions for same-day and intimate dinners.
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What is a homemade chimichurri?
Green chimichurri is an uncooked sauce with fresh ingredients, including fresh parsley or cilantro, red pepper, chili, fresh oregano, garlic, red wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. It can be chopped with a knife or food processor – the best chimichurri recipe is simply easy to make and can truly elevate any dish; and can be used as a salad dressing, marinade, dipping sauce, or table condiment.
Traditionally, authentic chimichurri sauce recipes are paired with fatty steaks because the acidity breaks through the fattiness of a delicious churrasco, as is common in Argentina and other countries in South America.
Quick tips if this is your first time making chimichurri:
Follow these tips to extend the shelf life
- Avoid keeping the chimichurri in warm temperatures or direct sunlight. It can accelerate the breakdown of the parsley (or cilantro) and fresh garlic.
- Remove excess water from the fresh parsley after cleaning and rinsing. Pat the herbs dry before making a batch of chimichurri sauce. Excess water will dilute the sauce, and when refrigerating or freezing, the ingredients will lose their potency, and the water will help accelerate that process.
- For the best results, always keep chimichurri in a cool place or at room temperature when you’re ready to use. However, when you have leftovers, I recommend storing them in the refrigerator immediately to slow down the breakdown.
Top Storage Tips:
- Use an air-tight container like a mason jar or a similar one. The air-tight container will preserve the chimichurri the best, and If you don’t have an air-tight container, a glass container would be my top second pick. I love to upcycle glass jars to cut waste; if I have a pickle jar or leftover jar that originally had cornichons, I’ll wash the jars in the dishwasher and reuse them to store sauces. I have found many of these jars to be incredibly excellent quality.
- Store the remaining sauce in the refrigerator immediately after use to maintain the fresh stage. Green herbs go through phases, and the fresh stage of green herbs is when they’re at their best. As the fresh cilantro or parsley deteriorate, they lose their color, ultimately turning brown and losing flavor.
- You should consider freezing the remaining chimichurri if you know you won’t consume it within the next few weeks. I break this down here. A quick tip for freezing individual portions, you can use an ice cube tray/ice cubes or silicone tray for easy storage and even easier for thawing small portions for use in particular recipes or for quick marinades.
Ok, now you’ve made a big batch of chimichurri, here’s a list of foods that pair perfectly with an excellent Argentinian chimichurri sauce:
- Steak or red meats – this is obvious, as mentioned above, but this is at the top of my list. Churrasco, rib eye, and skirt steaks are perfect and traditional cuts with the ideal marbling. Chimichurri is an incredible steak sauce – try this delicious steak taco recipe.
- Empanadas, either veggie, cheese, steak, or chicken. Use the chimichurri as a dip or drizzle it on the empanada.
- Air fryer chicken thighs, use the chimichurri as a marinade, or drizzle some over-air frying the chicken.
- Arañitas de platano, or crispy plantain fritters- create a dipping sauce for these deliciously crispy plantains.
- Simply delicious chimichurri shrimp with wild Argentinean shrimp.
If you have a big batch and want to use the sauce to make another flavorful sauce or find different ways to enjoy the chimichurri sauce, try this creamy, tangy chimichurri sauce that is incredibly delicious with any protein or atop a rice bowl.
Turn the chimichurri into a garlicky chimichurri pesto by adding pine nuts and serving with pasta.
Chimichurri isn’t only a bright green color; there are recipes for red chimichurri that have not only all the green herbs but have roasted red bell peppers, red pepper flakes, and cumin. It’s the perfect accompaniment for a flank steak or grilling because of its deep earthiness and bright colors. It’s the real deal garlicky sauce, perfect for outdoor cooking.
How long does chimichurri last in the fridge?
The ideal length for perfect freshness is seven days. However, it can be stored in the fridge for up to two-three weeks. In other words, for the first seven days, you’ll have an incredibly fresh sauce, which will lose its flavor and richness daily. After seven days, the taste of chimichurri changes, and the greens begin to lose their freshness.
The flavor profile will evolve as the vinegar breaks down the greens. But, on the other hand, the flavors come together incredibly well, and it’s still incredible and perfect as a marinade as it gets closer to the end of that 2-3 week window.
The vinegar preserves the chimichurri well and also breaks it down well. As time progresses, the red chili pepper flakes will be ok over time. However, the vinegar will break down the flat-leaf parsley and fresh garlic the fastest, and the freshness of the herbs is affected over time. And the bold flavor the chimichurri is known for will slowly diminish over time, and the bright color of the greens will deepen and eventually turn brown.