This Spicy Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce with Jalapeños is a delicious addition to your chicken, steak, or cauliflower meal. With lime juice and smoked paprika, traditional chimichurri sauce gets a delicious upgrade! Chimichurri recipes are a delicious way to impress your dinner guests, and this is an easy Chimichurri sauce to begin with.
What’s in Chimichurri Sauce?
Any good chimichurri sauce is going to have a few basic ingredients–fresh cilantro and fresh parsley, citrus juice, garlic, and oregano are staples of this recipe. The variation is going to be how much parsley vs. cilantro and if it’s spicy or not. Though many recipes use lemon juice for this sauce, I prefer to use lime juice in mine.
In our home, we love garlic, cilantro, and jalapeños, so I’ve always incorporated lots of these ingredients into our family’s Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce recipe.
What is Chimichurri?
The exact origins of the sauce remain a bit of a mystery, but many say it was first created by an Argentinean man who was in Britain and missed his home cooking. Over the years, chimichurri has changed a bit but it remains a popular sauce in Mexican restaurants and steakhouses in the United States.
Ingredients in this Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce Recipe:
- fresh parsley and cilantro sprigs, finely chopped
- minced garlic
- shallots (or red onion)
- avocado or olive oil
- jalapeño pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes
- dried oregano (or use fresh oregano if you have it!)
- smoked paprika
- salt and pepper, to taste
How to make Chimichurri Sauce:
If you have a food processor or a blender, you can all all of the ingredients to it instead of dicing and chopping the ingredients below.
Note: This sauce is spicy! I’d recommend reducing the amount of jalapeño and red pepper flakes you use the first time you make it–you can always add more later ;)
1) Dice cilantro and parsley leaves and sprigs finely. Dice shallots and jalapeños into very small pieces. If you’re not wanting a lot of spice, you’re welcome to omit the jalapeño pepper.
2) Add garlic, oil, crushed red pepper, oregano, paprika, and salt and pepper (the last two ingredients are optional). Add the juice of one lime, about 2 T. If you’d like less fat and calories in your sauce, use less oil. It’ll be a bit drier but delicious for topping your favorite dishes like grilled meat. If you’re using the chimichurri sauce as a marinade, add more oil or add some chicken broth–chicken broth will help you marinate with less calories.
3) Mix together all of the ingredients, and allow to sit in the fridge or on the counter for an hour or so before using.
How long will Chimichurri Sauce last in the fridge?
I’d keep this sauce in the fridge for a few days at most. Though the ingredients don’t necessarily go bad, it can become a bit bitter after a few days. The parsley is usually to blame for the bitter taste, and with all of the ingredients together in the fridge, it tends to get worse.
Can Chimichurri Sauce be frozen?
I haven’t frozen Chimichurri Sauce because the batches are small and we never have extra! I’ve heard from several sources that Chimichurri sauce can be easily frozen–I’d recommend freezing it in ice cube trays or zipper bags that have been laid flat.
How does Chimichurri Sauce taste?
I’m not a huge fan of sauces, but since this is less liquid and not really creamy it’s one that I really enjoy. It’s definitely got a strong cilantro taste, and the jalapeño and red pepper flakes give it a bite! This Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce with Jalapeños is quite spicy and has a strong garlic and cilantro flavor.
What do I use Chimichurri Sauce for?
There are so many delicious ways to use Chimichurri sauce! Some of my favorite ways to use this delicious green sauce are on thinly sliced and grilled steak, fajitas, chicken, and cauliflower steaks. You could serve it as a topping on nachos, on a Mexican-inspired pizza, or add a bit of oil to it and use it as a marinade for any meat or vegetables.
Many people use Chimichurri in these unique ways–and though I’ve never tried them before, I can’t say they’re bad ideas. They sound delicious to me!
- Chimichurri Rice
- Chimichurri Butter
- Chimichurri Mayo
- Chimichurri Aioli
Curly, Italian, or Flat Leaf Parsley–what kind do I use?
I prefer to use flat leaf parsley for this Chimichurri recipe. I’m not normally a fan of parsley, but I love the unique flavor that it adds to this Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce.
Is this Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce healthy?
This is a pretty healthy recipe as long as you stick to a serving or two. Chimichurri contains oil, and though we all need oil there is definitely a thing as too much. If you’re making this sauce as a marinade, you can choose to add some chicken or vegetable broth to help spread the flavor without adding oil. If you’re looking to use this recipe as a topping, you can leave some of the oil out.
I used 1/3 cup of oil in this recipe, and the recipe makes about 1/2 cup of Chimichurri. That’s enough to use to top or marinate a few steaks.
If you love healthy Mexican food, I have a few delicious recipes for you to try:
- Southwest Egg Roll in a Bowl Recipe
- Carne Asada (this would be delicious with Chimichurri on it!)
- Healthy Chorizo and Eggs
- Shredded Mexican Chicken Tacos
21 Day Fix info: For the Fix, you’d count this by how many oil teaspoons you use. For example, as written below one serving is 2.6 teaspoons (I’d round that up to 3). If you’d like to use less teaspoons, read above about how to use this as a marinade with less oil, or how to use it as a topping with less oil.
Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints: For WW, this recipe as written is 4 Freestyle SmartPoints. You can reduce this by using less oil.
Trim Healthy Mama:
This is a THM-S recipe.
Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce with Jalapeños
- 1/2 cup parsley fresh
- 3/4 cup cilantro fresh
- 1 tbsp garlic fresh
- 2 tbsp shallots or onions, minced
- 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
- 1/4 jalapeno to taste
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 lime juiced
Optional: salt and pepper to taste
- You can dice/chop the ingredients for this recipe by hand, or just add them to a food processor or blender!
- Dice cilantro and parsley leaves and sprigs finely. Dice shallots and jalapeños into very small pieces. If you're not wanting a lot of spice, you're welcome to omit the jalapeño pepper.
- Add garlic, oil, crushed red pepper, oregano, paprika, and salt and pepper (the last two ingredients are optional). Add the juice of one lime, about 2T. If you'd like less fat and calories in your sauce, use less oil. It'll be a bit drier but delicious for topping your favorite dishes like grilled meat. If you're using the chimichurri sauce as a marinade, add more oil or add some chicken broth–chicken broth will help you marinate with less calories.
- Mix together all of the ingredients, and allow to sit in the fridge or on the counter for an hour or so before using.