Your secret weapon to take any dish to the next level and make any meal a celebration!
This chimichurri style fresh herb sauce will take any savory dish from ‘meh’ to ‘wow!’ From eggs and avocado toast to grilled veggies, steaks, chicken, seafood and so much more! A mix of fresh herbs, predominantly flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil, and mint, come together with garlic, sweet onion, extra virgin olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Punched up with a bit of red chile pepper to give your taste buds reason to perk up!
Ready in 10 minutes or less, it’s my go-to condiment to make dishes pop with bright fresh flavors. (It’s also the secret sauce for many caterers!) And the recipe is so versatile you can adapt it to your tastes and whatever ingredients you have on hand.
Guaranteed you’ll keep a jar of this fresh herb sauce in your refrigerator as your secret weapon to amp up any dish!
The Wine That Pairs With Everything!
The sauce that goes with everything, needs a wine that’s equally versatile. A wine that pairs with everything! That’s how I describe the super approachable and easy drinking CK Mondavi and Family wines.
As a CK Mondavi and Family Ambassador since 2016, I’ve been so proud to collaborate with this family-owned and operated American winery. In 2021, they’re celebrating their 75th Anniversary crafting wines perfect to share with family and friends to make every day feel like a celebration. This post is published as part of our partnership. However, all opinions and the recipe are my own.
I hope you’re inspired to #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip, and trip at a time!
Jump to Recipe
Travel Inspiration: South America, Italy, and Morocco
Every recipe I share comes with a bit of travel inspiration. Especially now that we’re keeping our travel dreams alive via our taste buds. This fresh herb sauce is no different. Depending on what I’m serving it with, it might take me to South America, Italy, or Morocco. A flavorful journey!
Almost every country around the world has a fresh green sauce to call its own. Whether it’s Argentina and Uruguay’s famous chimichurri topping a ‘parrillada’ of grilled meats. Or Italy’s parsley, garlic, and lemon-based gremolata zesty herb sauce on Osso Bucco or fish. And Morocco’s chermoula, made predominantly of cilantro, mint, and toasted spices, perfect on eggplant and roasted meats.
This easy fresh herb sauce takes a bit of inspiration from each of those countries and can easily be adapted based on where you want your taste buds to take you!
How To Make This Easy Fresh Herb Sauce?
First, don’t be afraid to eyeball it!
I don’t measure. Use the quantities in this recipe as a guide and adjust to your preferences.
Start with a couple of finely diced garlic cloves, chop a quarter or half of a sweet onion, and finely chop a bunch of herbs. Add half of finely diced fresh red chile pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes based on how spicy you want it. Then add a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and enough olive oil to cover everything to get a loose consistency. If you want it chunkier, use less oil. Finish with coarse salt and cracked pepper to taste.
The beauty of this easy recipe is that you can adjust to your taste preferences.
Use the ingredients you have at home.
I always have fresh flat-leaf parsley and cilantro at home. Then I add whatever else I have on hand. Basil and/or mint, onions, garlic, shallots, chili pepper, red wine vinegar, or lemon juice. You can’t go wrong.
If you’re missing some of the herbs or don’t have fresh chili pepper or fresh oregano, don’t worry. Parsley and cilantro are the predominant herbs but how much of each will be based on what you have available.
Chop By Hand!
Embrace chopping by hand instead of using the food processor. For this fresh herb sauce, you want a loose oil-based consistency where you can discern each ingredient, not a creamy blended paste. The food processor can easily overdo it.
Fresh Herbs Are The Key Ingredient.
Flat-leaf parsley is the predominant herb, followed by cilantro and then a handful of basil and mint for a bit of flavor contrast depth of flavor. You can use any combination of herbs in various quantities. If you like more cilantro, add more. Hate cilantro? skip it. If you don’t have basil or mint, don’t worry. Have fun with the flavor profiles.
Bring The Heat!
If you want a more piquant bite, add more garlic and onions. Want more heat? use a whole chili pepper. If you don’t, skip the fresh peppers and simply add a small pinch of red pepper flakes. Be sure to finely dice the garlic and peppers. Adjust depending on what you’re serving your sauce with. A steak can take more heat than grilled shrimp, for example.
Use Good Olive Oil.
High quality extra virgin olive oil is important. Adjust the quantity of oil based on how lose you want it. If you’re using it as a marinade or to dip bread, you’ll want more oil.
Add a Touch of Acid.
The vinegar adds some brightness and balance to the oil. If you want a more acidic flavor, add more vinegar. You can also substitute the red wine vinegar for freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest, similar to a gremolata. I don’t recommend using apple cider vinegar, balsamic or white vinegar.
I never make this fresh herb sauce exactly the same, but it’s always delicious! Once you make it a few times, you’ll come up with your own version. Have fun and play with the ingredients to suit your tastes.
How To Use This Fresh Herb Sauce?
This uncooked fresh herb sauce is tangy and garlicky. It can be used to top anything that comes off the grill. However, it can also be used as a marinade, to baste meats and veggies before grilling, as a dipping sauce for crusty bread, or as a finishing sauce drizzled on top of almost everything. It adds a pop of color and bright flavors. Especially on grilled or pan-seared meats, seafood, fish, chicken, vegetables and so much more.
If you’re looking for ways to eat clean, this healthy sauce is made with good for you ingredients. It brings the flavors and not the calories!
It Goes on EVERYTHING!
You’ll love this herb sauce on grilled ribeye, New York strips, or skirt steak. Chicken, shrimp skewers, scallops, fish, whether it’s a strong-flavored fish like salmon and trout or a mild white fish like grouper or sea bass.
Everyone will eat their grilled veggies – especially red and yellow peppers, zucchini, asparagus and thick slices of red onion with a dollop of this herb sauce.
Top a bright Caprese salad of vine ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
Spread it on toasted Italian bread like a Tuscan boule or crusty baguette for an easy appetizer. You’ll wonder why you ate bread with anything else.
What can you serve this fresh herb sauce with?
Seriously, you’ll be amazed at how many dishes this fresh herb sauce will take from ho-hum to wow!
- Burgers: Spread it on chargrilled burger patties and sliders.
- Potatoes: toss roasted potatoes, fold it into mashed potatoes, top your baked potato, and make a warm potato salad.
- Eggs: drizzle on scrambled eggs, omelettes, poached soft eggs, sunny side up eggs and deviled eggs.
- Avocado: top your Avo toast or avocado half.
- Tuna: Mix with canned tuna for a great salad or sandwich.
- Pasta salad: use as a light and tangy dressing for a vegetable pasta salad
- Sandwiches: mix with mayonnaise for added flavor pop on deli sandwiches.
- Pizza: drizzle over a veggie pizza for a zesty finish
- Vegetables: drizzle over any roasted or grilled veggies
- Kebabs: brush it onto chicken, pork or beef and veggie kebabs after grilling.
- Buddha Bowls: add as a condiment over sweet potatoes or quinoa.
- Soups: a dollop is perfect to brighten the flavor of chicken or vegetable soups.
- Steamed Mussels and Clams: add to the simmering liquid and serve with grilled bread.
- Corn on the Cobb: drizzle on corn instead of butter
How To Store This Fresh Herb Sauce?
This herb sauce is best made and enjoyed fresh but it will keep in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. (If it lasts that long!) The herbs will lose their vibrancy but the oil will become more infused with flavor. Simply bring it back to room temperature before serving.
The Wine That Pairs With Everything!
How does one wine pair with everything? Easy!
CK Mondavi & Family have a wine varietal for you. Just pick your favorite!
The label will tell you a bit about the wine. If you want a “Rich and Velvety” red, choose the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot is “Silky and Smooth” and the Red Blend is “Soft & Flavorful”. These will all hold up yet not overpower any of the dishes I made with this fresh herb sauce.
If you prefer white wines, choose a “Bright and Fresh” Chardonnay, a “Crisp and Refreshing” Sauvignon Blanc, or a “Fresh and Crisp” Pinot Grigio. The labels printed with thermochromic ink also tell you when the wine is chilled to the proper temperature for serving. The label brightens at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
I loved sipping the Pinot Grigio while dipping thick toasted pieces of Tuscan loaf into the garlicky herb sauce and alternating between bites of luscious fresh mozzarella and vine ripe tomatoes.
One of the main reasons why I’ve been an ambassador for CK Mondavi Family Wines since 2016 is because their wines provide exceptional quality and are so affordable. At $6.99 per bottle, you won’t think twice about opening a bottle and making any meal a celebration. They are easy-drinking, paired with food, or on their own.
CK Mondavi Celebrates 75 Years of Enduring Family Traditions!
For four generations, the Mondavi family has crafted wines that pair with delicious, homemade meals inspiring everyone to gather around the table.
Based in the Napa Valley for nearly 75 years, CK Mondavi and Family wines are produced by the iconic C. Mondavi & Family with an uncompromising commitment to quality. Delivering wines that offer exceptional value, they focus on sustainable farming techniques and winemaking practices that are typical of far more expensive selections.
The family-owned and operated winery sources all of its grapes from California, including the family’s 1,850 acres of estate vineyards, along with growers who have partnered with the family for generations. CK Mondavi and Family wines are the first and only to be 100% “Made in USA Certified®,” and are trusted to be consistently reliable from year to year.
CK Mondavi and Family wines are available at select retailers nationwide. Use their store locator to find one near you. If your favorite wine store doesn’t carry it, ask them to order it for you!
Best Fresh Herb Sauce To Elevate Every Dish Recipe:
This chimichurri style fresh herb sauce elevates every dish! Using a combination of fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, and mint for bright and vibrant flavors. Onion, garlic, and red chili pepper give it a nice kick but you can adjust the quantities of each ingredient to suit your tastes. This sauce is so versatile it goes on every savory dish you can think of from grilled meats and veggies to eggs, salads, and more.
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (use good quality EVOO)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or fresh lemon juice)
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (tender stems included)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro (tender stems included)
- Handful of finely chopped basil and / or mint leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves (finely minced)
- ½ small sweet onion (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 2 pinches – optional
- ½ – 1 small red chili pepper (deseeded and finely chopped)
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Rinse herbs in cold water to remove any dirt. Shake water off the leaves and pat dry with a paper towel.
Cut the rough ends off the flat leaf parsley and cilantro stems. Chop the stems finely and then chop the leaves a bit more coarsely. You can also pull the leaves and remove the stems but I like to have little waste.
Finely chop a handful of basil and/or mint leaves. Remove stems.
Finely mince garlic cloves, onion and chili pepper (if using).
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for at least 5-10 minutes before serving to allow the oil to infuse with all the wonderful flavors. Prepare this sauce first before you prepare the dish you’re serving it with.
Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Can keep in the refrigerator for a week or two. Chances are you’ll use it all before then.
Use to baste meats and vegetables while grilling and as a finishing sauce to top everything you wish to give a kick of flavor. A tablespoon or two is great on grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, white fish, salmon, tuna, grilled veggies and more.
- Fresh herb sauce can be prepared overnight and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Adjust the amount of each ingredient to suit your tastes and based on what ingredients you have available. Start with small quantities of each ingredient and add more based on your taste preferences. Everyone has their own version of this sauce they will love.
- Flat-leaf parsley is the predominant herb, followed by cilantro and then a handful of basil and mint for a bit of flavor contrast. You can use any combination of herbs in various quantities. If you like more cilantro, add more. If you don’t have basil or mint, don’t worry. Have fun with the flavor profiles.
- If you like it a bit brighter and acidic, add more vinegar.
- If you want more bite, add more garlic and onions. Start with 2 cloves of garlic and add more as you go.
- If you like it spicy, add more peppers and red pepper flakes. If you don’t want it spicy, skip the red chili pepper and just add a small pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Add more oil to make it a looser sauce or if you’re using it as a marinade.
- You can substitute the red wine vinegar for freshly squeezed lemon juice if you prefer the taste. Don’t recommend using apple cider vinegar, balsamic or white vinegar.
I hope you’re inspired to celebrate life with family and friends and cross fun things off your someday list – while following all safety precautions and staying socially distanced during these stressful times. Go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip, and trip a time.
Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with C.K. Mondavi and Family Wines. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! To learn more about my guidelines, check out my disclosure policy. Cheers!