Call it the little black dress of the kitchen. Green herb sauce goes by many names in many cultures, but at the end of the day, it’s one of the most versatile sauces that will elevate even your most humble foods.
The Chanel of the green sauce world is the French sauce verte, traditionally flavored with parsley, chives, chervil, shallots, garlic, lemon, capers and anchovies. The Italian version salsa verde is very similar. When we venture down to South America, we find the Argentinian chimichurri and Latin American mojo and salsa verde versions, which are centered on cilantro, onion, lime juice and chile. Then venture east to Morocco and the Middle East and we find chermoula, a blend of cilantro, mint or parsley, garlic, spices, and chile.
The lesson is that there’s a reason nearly every major food culture has their own version of this sauce – it makes practically everything taste fantastic. Meats, veggies, pastas, you name it. And lucky for us, we can make it easily with a food processor (or a sharp knife) and just about any mix of green herbs, olive oil, briny flavors, spices, nuts and acid. Experiment with classic pairings or create your own. Just remember to taste as you go and use your judgment – these flavors are strong!
Green Herb Sauce
Yield: Makes about 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 min
Ingredients & Loose Proportions
Green Herbs: 1-2 cups, loosely packed
- Parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, chervil, chives
Olive Oil: 3 Tbs. Add a splash of water if you need more liquid
Aromatics: 1-2 Tbs
- Shallots, garlic, onion
Acid: 1 Tbs
- Lemon, lime, orange, mustard
Briny Flavors (Optional): 2 Tbs
- Capers, anchovies, green olives
Spices (Optional): 1 tsp or to taste
- Cumin, paprika, coriander, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper
Nuts (Optional – creates texture and is great to pair with pasta or green beans): ½ cup
- Sliced almonds, pine nuts
Just throw it all in a food processor or mince finely with a knife. Season with salt and pepper after tasting – the briny ingredients add a lot of salt on their own.
Meat and Poutry: Serve in a little bowl next to some grilled steaks or roasted chicken
Pasta, Spaghetti Squash or Zucchini Ribbons: Toss with sauce and throw in some halved cherry tomatoes
Seafood: Serve as a dipping sauce for grilled shrimp or drizzle over any white fish
Veggies: Dress up green beans or zucchini (nuts will taste great for these versions), or toss with steamed new potatoes or roasted cauliflower