Green Sauce – No Recipe Needed

Pesto, Chimichurri, Salsa Verde, Zhoug, and Chermoula are all forms of green sauce.  My cookbook includes recipes for pesto, zhoug, and salsa verde.  But you don’t really need a precise recipe for each of these green sauces.  Ever adaptable, you can use what you have on hand to make something tasty to top a grilled steak, fish or chicken, dress up roasted veggies or eggs.  Slather some on a sandwich or burger to add some yummy deliciousness or make a scrumptious plate of pasta.  Brighten up leftover soup or beans with a spoonful of green sauce or use it as a marinade or salad dressing.  Green sauce is the perfect thing to keep in the refrigerator to perk up those standard recipes you might be getting bored with. 

The basic formula for a green sauce includes tender herbs or greens, aromatics, something salty, something spicy, acid, and olive oil.  The amounts are not precise.  You might have a cup or two or greens, or a bunch and it could be one herb or a combination.   Throw it in the food processor with some garlic or shallots.  For spiciness, fresh chilies, cayenne, or red pepper flakes.  Start with a fourth of a cup of olive oil and adjust at the end to make it as thin as you want.  Add a tablespoon of acid at first, then increase to taste. Pulse it, taste it, and adjust it to your liking.  Keep tasting it as you go and add small amounts of ingredients including some salt until it tastes good to you.  Throw in some pecorino, feta or Parmigiano cheese for both a fatty and salty element.  Voila!!  Green sauce.  Remember, there are no green sauce rules – only what tastes good to you.

Potatoes and Green Beans with Arugula Pesto

Not ready to improvise your own green sauce?  I have included a recipe for Chimichurri or check out the recipes for Pesto, Salsa Verde, and Zhoug in the Mama, how do you make… cookbook. 


Chimichurri is an Argentine sauce that is usually eaten with steak. It can be used as a sauce or as a marinade. Cilantro is not traditional in Argentina, but you will see it added to most recipes and I include it in mine. Chimichurri is the most beautiful of the “green sauces” due to its vibrant, emerald green color, which it keeps for several days. The consistency varies from coarsely chopped to puréed smooth and somewhere in between. Make it as spicy as you like. Add more vinegar if you prefer a more acidic sauce. Substitute mint for the cilantro for serving with lamb. Spoon it over just about anything to brighten and spice it up including fish, chicken, vegetables, and eggs. It makes a great sandwich spread and holds well, too!
Author Rosalie D’Amico


  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 small shallot or ¼ peeled red onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • ½ to 1 Fresno or jalapeno chili or 1 serrano chili, seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Coarsely chop the cilantro, parsley, shallot or onion, garlic and chilies.
  • Add to the food processor bowl and pulse 4 or 5 times.
  • Add the salt, vinegar and olive oil and process to desired consistency.