Along with suntans, splashing in the river, and extra-long days, one of the true joys of summer is the abundance of produce. Whether it be from our home gardens or farmer’s market haul, the bounty of herbs, fruits, and vegetables overflow this time of year, and many of us are trying to find new, delicious ways to use these goodies. This is where homemade sauces can be our summertime kitchen superheroes. Making sauces from scratch, using in-season produce can help use local foods in creative ways, adding new flavors, textures, and even nutrients that store-bought sauces and spreads can’t compete with. There are a few sauces I consider to be must-haves for summer cooking, which can be made with local ingredients this time of year and take even the simplest dishes to the next level, and one of these sauces is my Herbaceous Chimichurri.
Chimichurri is an olive-oil- and herb-based sauce, hailing from Argentina, that has a consistency similar to pesto. While basil-rich pesto tends to be the darling sauce in the summer, I much prefer chimichurri. Its brightness and intense flavor bring so much to any dish, and I find it to be even more versatile than pesto. I love this recipe as a way to use up fresh herbs that need to find a use ASAP. I even include the stems of the herbs here, as they are packed with flavor and fiber, leaving as little waste behind as possible. Chimichurri is ideal served drizzled over grilled steak, smoked chicken, juicy corn on the cob and any roasted or grilled vegetable you can imagine.
The recipe below makes about two cups, but feel free to multiply the batch and freeze it to capture the flavor of summer all year long. Don’t get too caught up in the amounts here; use what you have on hand and adjust the spices to your liking—you can’t go wrong using up all of that garden-fresh goodness!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Makes about 2 cups
- 6 scallions (can sub green garlic, garlic scapes, or even ramps when in season), chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems included, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems included, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 to 1 jalapeño pepper, diced (adjust to your heat preference)
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. fresh oregano (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
- 2 tbsp. fresh basil (or 1 Tbs. dried)
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil—use a good quality, extra virgin olive oil.
1. In a blender or food processor, pulse together all ingredients, except for the olive oil, a few times to break up the large pieces.
2. With the blender running, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture comes together into a smooth paste. If you prefer a thicker sauce, use about 1/2 cup of olive oil, and increase this up to ¾ cup if you prefer a thinner sauce.
3. Transfer to a jar for storage and refrigerate until ready to use. This sauce will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge, or it can be frozen for longer-term storage in a freezer-safe container or ice cube trays.
Laura Poeis a Registered Dietitian and traditional foods instructor. She homesteads in Wisconsin where she regular contributes to Edible Madison. Connect with Laura atLaura Poe, RD, for private practice appointments (distance consults available), upcoming classes, newsletter subscriptions, and more. Her nutrient-dense recipes can be found on Laura’s blog,Brine & Broth, and you can see what she has been cooking and creating on her Instagram @brineandbroth. Read all of Laura’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS postshere.
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