Flavorful Chimichurri Sauce

One of the biggest challenges people face with eating healthy is that most of the foods that are associated with healthy eating are bland and boring.  When trying to count your calories for the day, we are pointed in the direction of chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli.  Not the most flavorful.

My favorite part about eating healthy is taking the foods that most of us perceive as boring and infusing them with flavor.  This can be a challenge.  Our go-to strategy for adding flavor to bland ingredients is usually dousing them in a sauce.  Whether it is barbecue, mayonnaise or even just ketchup, these ingredients are filled with added sugars and excessive amounts of sodium. 

My strategy against this is two pronged— for one, I try to use the freshest ingredients I can.  Think bright herbs and spices.  For this I seek out fresh parsley, basil, garlic and onion rather than turning to the dried stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, dried spices are a HUGE help in the kitchen but it just depends on the herb or spice.  Things like paprika, ground chilies, cumin or curry powder are great in their dried form and will last much longer.  From this you may notice my general rule of thumb: for herbs, go fresh, for chilies and seeds, go dried or ground.

Second, when making a sauce I try to limit myself to 5 or 6 ingredients.  This makes it much easier to translate into your calorie and macro calculations.  For an ingredient like this chimichurri sauce, the main ingredient to watch out for is using too much olive oil.  The fresh herbs, garlic and lemon juice won’t be adding much in terms of calories.

Chimichurri originated in Argentina, but there are similar “sauces” made ll around the world.  An Italian pesto or herbal salsa verde are just two examples.  These fresh sauces have been used for centuries to lend flavor to grilled meat and vegetables as well as pastas and other dishes.

Perhaps the greatest part about this style sauce is how easy they are to make.  Once we have sourced the ingredients we need (which shouldn’t be too hard, as we limited ourselves to only 5-6 ingredients), the rest is as easy as strategically throwing it all into a food processor and blending it until smooth.

I start with the garlic and a pinch of salt, the salt will help to break down the garlic.  Run the processor for 10-15 seconds until the garlic has broken down.  Now add the herbs.  I would recommend cutting the thickest parts of the stems only and utilizing the rest (if you like to make your own soups, save the leftover stems in the freezer for broth!).  If the bowl of your food processor is too small you can always add them one handful at a time.  Once the herbs have broken down add the lemon juice and red wine vinegar.  Now add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time until the sauce begins to hold together.

If you try this sauce out a really like it, you can also use it as a spread or dipping sauce.  Before adding the olive oil, add a tablespoon of mustard.  Most people don’t know it but mustard acts as a great low-calorie emulsifier substitute for eggs and oil.  Try it out on your a sandwich or grilled chicken or steak!

See the full recipe here!

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