Can you make chimichurri with cilantro? Absolutely! This cilantro chimichurri (no parsley) is a delicious way to give a plain steak and salad meal a flavor boost. You’ll love how easy fresh chimichurri sauce is to make, and that it’s naturally vegan, keto, low carb, and gluten free. Get the best chimichurri recipe with cilantro, chimichurri nutrition information, and much more!
This chimichurri sauce with cilantro is one of my favorite summer garden recipes. I think once you try homemade chimichurri with cilantro, there’s no going back to chimichurri from the store. (Our apologies to Goya chimichurri steak sauce and others.)
There’s just something about this creamy cilantro chimichurri recipe that finishes the meal. You can put it on practically anything (I have lots of suggestions below) and it’s SO GOOD.
But before we go any further, if you are from certain countries, you may recognize this as coriander chimichurri. In the US, “cilantro” refers to the leaves and stems of the plant that produces coriander seeds. In other countries, the leaves and stems are called “coriander” and the seeds are “coriander seeds.”
Just want to make sure we’re all on the same page. 🙂
- 🌱 What is chimichurri sauce made of?
- ❓ Why is it called chimichurri?
- ⭐ Cilantro Chimichurri Benefits
- 🥣 Cilantro Chimichurri Ingredients
- 🔪 How to Make Cilantro Chimichurri
- 🌡️ Can you freeze chimichurri sauce?
- 😋 What to Eat with Chimichurri
- 🥩 Best Steak for Chimichurri
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 📋 Calories in Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Ways to Use Cilantro
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
🌱 What is chimichurri sauce made of?
Chimichurri is a rich condiment made of fresh parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, and a generous helping of olive oil. It is common to the cuisines of Argentina and Uruguay, where it is typically served over grilled meat. I’ve also seen it served in a Brazilian steak house.
Does chimichurri have coriander? Authentic chimichurri recipes use parsley instead of cilantro (AKA coriander).
Cilantro is a substitute for parsley in chimichurri. You can use fresh parsley instead if you’d prefer a more traditional recipe.
❓ Why is it called chimichurri?
There is some debate regarding where the name “chimichurri” originally came from. Here are four theories (source):
- It may have been named for a possible inventor, an Irish immigrant named Jimmy McCurry. His name sounds like “chimichurri” with Argentinian pronunciation.
- A second theory is that during the British invasion of Rio de la Plata, Argentinians translated British captive soldiers saying “give me the curry” (to ask for condiments) into the word chimichurri.
- Yet another explanation is that the sauce originated from Basque tximitxurri. This is an herb sauce which also has olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and pepper.
- Finally, the word “chimichurri” may come from the Quecha, an indigenous population from Argentina. It was used by that population as a generic term to refer to a variety of strong sauces.
Is salsa verde the same as chimichurri?
No. Though salsa verde and chimichurri are similar, they are not the same thing. Salsa verde is from the Mediterranean and typically contains anchovies and capers in addition to herbs, garlic olive oil, and vinegar. Chimichurri is from Argentina and skips the capers and anchovies.
There’s also a Mexican version of salsa verde that uses tomatillos and is even more dissimilar to chimichurri.
⭐ Cilantro Chimichurri Benefits
Why make chimichurri? Here are some benefits of chimichurri:
- Easy Chimichurri: This chimichurri sauce recipe whips up in under 5 minutes in a food processor. It’s a simple no cook recipe.
- Healthy fats: Though chimichurri sauce is from Argentina, it meshes well with the Mediterranean diet pattern. It’s packed with healthy monounsaturated fats from olive oil.
- Special diets: Speaking of special diets, this keto chimichurri is also vegan, gluten free, and low carb. Though it’s traditionally used on steak, you can use it on veggies, grains, or plant proteins as well. Additionally, it’s an easy recipe to modify to fit your needs. For example...
- Low FODMAP chimichurri: You can make this chimichurri low FODMAPs by omitting the garlic and shallot. Garlic-infused olive oil may be permissible to use on low FODMAP diets to get that garlicky flavor.
- Delicious: Forget the steak sauce, chimichurri might be the best condiment for steak. It’s very tasty, has no sugar, and helps you eat more greens.
🥣 Cilantro Chimichurri Ingredients
Here are the ingredients for chimichurri with cilantro:
- Fresh cilantro
- Olive oil
- Fresh oregano
- Shallot (can substitute one tablespoon chopped red onion)
- Garlic cloves
- Red wine vinegar
Specific quantities of ingredients are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
The taste of cilantro tends to be polarizing. Some have a genetic predisposition to find that the herb tastes soapy, while others love it.
Luckily, it’s easy to make chimichurri without cilantro if you’d prefer. Chimichurri is like pesto in that the recipe is flexible and can work with a variety of greens. (Remember the carrot greens pesto?)
Here are some other ingredients you can use to make chimichurri:
- Leafy carrot tops
You could add some mint to chimichurri but I would not make the whole thing with mint. Cilantro lime chimichurri is another idea for a variation on the recipe below. Use lime juice in place of the red wine vinegar and add a little lime zest as well.
🔪 How to Make Cilantro Chimichurri
Let’s talk about how to prepare chimichurri! Begin by chopping the cilantro, oregano, jalapeno, garlic, and shallot. This will help everything come together faster.
Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. You are not looking to make a smooth paste.
Allow the chimichurri sauce to sit for 15 minutes to one hour to give the flavors time to meld. (This is the perfect time to grill a steak to serve with the chimichurri!)
That’s really all there is to it.
There is some disagreement about whether chimichurri is best made in the food processor or by chopping everything by hand. I always use a food processor since I do not have the best knife skills. It’s also a time-saver.
However, if you’d rather hand-chop everything, I’d say go for it! Use this recipe as a starting point for your own culinary masterpiece.
🌡️ Can you freeze chimichurri sauce?
How long does chimichurri last? You can keep leftover chimichurri in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Chimichurri also freezes well.
To freeze chimichurri, put it in ice cube trays and let freeze. After the cubes have frozen, you can store them in a freezer bag with the air pressed out. Now you have individual portions of chimichurri sauce that are ready to thaw when you want them.
😋 What to Eat with Chimichurri
What does chimichurri sauce go with? Beef with chimichurri sauce (specifically steak) is probably the most common application. You can also use chimichurri as a grilling sauce, chimichurri salad dressing, or make a cilantro chimichurri marinade.
Here are some other ways to serve chimichurri. Try making:
- Chimichurri pasta
- Chimichurri rice
- Serve chimichurri over potatoes
- Chimichurri pizza
- Have it with lamb
- Chimichurri wings
- Chimichurri tofu
- Enjoy with eggs
- Chimichurri prawns
- Chicken chimichurri
- Fish with chimichurri sauce (such as salmon)
- Serve over grilled shrimp
🥩 Best Steak for Chimichurri
You can serve this chimichurri over your favorite cut of steak, though flank steak and skirt steak are classic options. I went with grilled flank steak seasoned with Montreal steak seasoning. Flank and skirt steak are both lean cuts of beef, perfect for balancing this olive oil-rich sauce.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Chimichurri sauce is loaded with olive oil and thus extremely energy-dense, providing 166 calories per 2T portion. And yet, I am putting this one at level 1. Wondering why?
It’s going to seem counterintuitive since chimichurri has so much added oil, but it’s really easy to piece together a light meal with this sauce. If you’re serving it with a lean cut of beef (skirt or flank steak), just add a side salad for a filling low-calorie meal.
Here’s the breakdown of my low-carb, lchf, and keto-friendly meal:
- 4 ounces lean steak: 185 calories
- 2 tablespoons chimichurri sauce: 166 calories
- 2 cups salad greens: 15 calories
- Low-oil salad dressing, 2 tablespoons: 60 calories
Yes, for under 500 calories you get a protein-packed, high-volume meal that provides healthy fats from the chimichurri sauce. It’s delicious, satisfying, and may help you with your weight management goals!
Chimichurri reminds me a bit of pesto (both have lots of herbs and olive oil). However, pesto tends to be served with a giant serving of pasta (and possibly minimal protein). The dish with the pesto will likely be higher in energy and less filling than the chimichurri over lean beef.
(And of course, the levels are a bit arbitrary and should only be used as a loose guide if you have a weight management goal. They’re not firm rules about what to eat or not.)
📋 Calories in Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce
One serving of cilantro chimichurri sauce has 166 calories, 1.2 grams net carbs, and 0.9 grams protein. This is for one-sixth of the recipe without protein or side dishes.
Chimichurri should not be bitter. If it is, it is either due to overmixing the oil, or bitter ingredients. Blanching the greens before using in chimichurri recipes may help remove some bitterness.
Chimichurri often includes jalapeno for a bit of heat. You can remove the seeds from the jalapeno if you’d like the chimichurri less spicy. You can also omit the jalapeno entirely. To make super spicy chimichurri, add red pepper flakes.
If you’re making chimichurri without cilantro, parsley is my top pick for a substitute. I prefer Italian flat leaf parsley for chimichurri, but curly parsley can be used as well. It’s really a matter of personal taste.
To make chimichurri low calorie, you should cut back on the oil. You will save 120 calories for each tablespoon of oil you omit. You can experiment with other liquids (water, broth, vinegar, etc.) to help the chimichurri blend well.
To make air fryer chimichurri skirt steak, first make my air fryer flank steak recipe. (Yes, this recipe works with skirt steak too!) After air frying and slicing the steak thinly, you can serve it with the chimichurri sauce recipe below.
Gremolata is an Italian condiment made of parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Chimichurri has Argentinian origins and uses other ingredients with the parsley (such as vinegar, olive oil, and pepper).
👩🏻🍳 Other Ways to Use Cilantro
Looking for other cilantro recipes? Try these delicious recipes that use cilantro:
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries with Cilantro-Lime Dipping Sauce
- Peach and Pineapple Salsa
- Pulled Pork Bowls (Keto, Low Carb)
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 1 small shallot
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt, to taste
- Chop the cilantro, oregano, jalapeno, garlic, and shallot with a knife. This will help everything come together faster.
- Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. You are not looking to make a smooth paste.
- Allow the chimichurri sauce to rest for 15 minutes to one hour to give the flavors time to meld. Enjoy!
- 4 ounces lean steak: 185 calories
- 2 tablespoons chimichurri sauce: 166 calories
- 2 cups salad greens: 15 calories
- 2 tablespoons low-oil salad dressing: 60 calories