how to make an herby green sauce | kelly’s kitchen

Happy Fourth of July everyone! Welcome back to Kelly’s Kitchen, I am happy you’re here this week. I have an easy one today. Today’s recipe focuses on an herby green sauce, specifically two condiments with endless possibilities for swaps and substitutes. I’m talking about chimichurri and gremolata. Chimichurri and gremolata are similar – they both contain chopped parsley and minced garlic. They both are uncooked sauces, typically served with meat dishes. 

Two Popular Green Sauces

Gremolata is a Milanese condiment which consists of chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic. It is the traditional accompaniment to ossobuco alla milanese and goes well with other rich meat dishes. 

Chimichurri hails from Argentina and Uruguay. It is olive oil-based and otherwise contains finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, red wine vinegar and oregano. Chimichurri is served alongside grilled meats. 

You can easily see how the ingredients from both can be intermixed to create something new and different. I do this all the time. I usually have some version in a jar in the fridge. It’s the perfect condiment for anything calling for an herby brightness. We put it on steak; it’s great on turkey sandwiches. While it goes so well with rich meat dishes, it’s also fabulous on roasted vegetables and dressing a salad. 

How to Make Herby Green Sauce

Today we are making a cross between chimichurri and gremolata to dress a grilled tri-tip steak. This is a great way to serve thinly sliced steak and be done, but we are going to warm up a few tortillas and have informal steak tacos. 

For the green sauce we are making today, I am taking the citrus cue from gremolata and adding lime zest and a little lime juice. We have our garlic, and I am going to finely dice a red Fresno chile for a little heat. What makes this more chimichurri-style than gremolata is that it’s olive oil based. 


First, let’s finely chop the parsley. If I wasn’t going to use what I had on hand, I might have used cilantro instead of parsley – which would be perfect for tacos. One bunch of parsley is enough, and don’t be afraid to use the stems. We are chopping this so finely that the stems won’t be an issue. 

Then, I diced my Fresno chile and added it to my chopped parsley. I am skipping a bowl and using a opens in a new window4 cup Pyrex to mix it all up.

Using a microplane, I zested one lime. I also used my opens in a new windowmicroplane to grate my garlic clove, but you can use a opens in a new windowgarlic press, or just finely chop it. I used one clove of garlic. Just zest the lime and grate the garlic straight into the Pyrex. 

Then drizzle olive oil until you get a consistency that you like. I might have about three tablespoons here. 

Mix it all together well and add the juice from half of your zested lime. I tossed in a generous pinch of Kosher salt and a few cranks of fresh black pepper. Mix it up and taste it. Add more of whatever you feel it needs: more salt, more pepper, more lime juice (acid), olive oil (fat) more garlic… This mixture can sit in a jar in the fridge, ready to add to any dish you like. Just let it come to room temperature to loosen up the olive oil before you use it.

Like I mentioned at the top, we are topping a grilled tri-tip with our sauce and layering slices of steak in soft warm tortillas. 

We sliced the steak thinly, against the grain, and poured on the green sauce.

I used my opens in a new windowtortilla warmer to microwave a few street-taco-size tortillas. These particular tortillas are a hybrid of flour and corn, but straight corn or flour would be great as well. 

We topped it off with some roughly diced white onion and that was it! So simple and so delicious!


Today’s post is all about intuitive cooking and green sauces are an easy way to experiment with herby flavor combinations to add complexity, and brightness to any dish. In 2016, one of my favorite chefs, Samin Nosrat wrote an article for the New York Times called opens in a new windowFive Sauces for the Modern Cook. In it, she introduces the five new “mother sauces” for any cook to master. It should be no surprise that one of them is a green, herby salsa. 

Samin Nosrat is the author of opens in a new windowSalt, Fat, Acid, Heat. She is an advocate for intuitive cooking and her book explains the roles salt, fat, acid, and heat play in cooking. Once you understand how each element works, you don’t need recipes to be a good cook because you can gain an intuition about how to use these four main elements.  

Thank you again for joining me today. I hope you use this post as a jumping off point for your own experimentation with herby green sauce. If you’re looking for a last minute recipe to make today, check out my recipe for Fried Chicken or for a fresh summer salad, try Ceviche. Have a safe and happy Independence Day, everyone! Don’t forget you can find me on opens in a new windowInstagram and opens in a new windowFacebook too! Take care, be well, xo Kelly

Equipment, Utensils and Inspiration in Today’s Post


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  1. Sylvia Espinoza wrote:

    Happy Indpendence Day, Kelly! Happy Birthday, America! Today’s recipe is great for its appearance and texture, along with flavors I love. That it can go with food ranging from meats to salads draws me in! Definitely trying this one out. Update: The Old Smokey has provided us delicious split chicken halves, garlic sausage, and more fajitas! That smoke rising up in the air with such great aromas is a gift in and of itself. The goal of a brisket is still pending, as is of making your Enchilada Casserole using fajitas. Somehow they go fast! Need to buy extras next time. Second update: Made the French omelette with Herb/Garlic Boursoin (sp?) yesterday! Actually made two. First one with two eggs for hubby to test. He liked it very much. I thoroughly enjoyed mine using one egg…am not much of an egg eater. Made the recipe using a little bit of heavy cream to whip the eggs, and Kerrygold Butter to cook, as I worked from memory. Later reread your recipe. Hmmm. Heavy Cream wasn’t in there! Had a good laugh. Thanks again for the information you always provide and easy instructions. Loving your Saturday morning blog, your recipes, and you!~

    Posted 7.4.20
    • Good Morning Sylvia, Wonderful updates! I love that you did the omelette from memory, that you whipped in cream and that you and your husband enjoyed it! It makes me so happy to hear about everything you’re trying. I too love the aroma of the smoker, it’s so nice, especially when Alex uses cherry wood. I think you will like having some herby green sauce in your fridge, it would go well on the omelette too! It’s so nice to hear from you today, take care and have a glorious Fourth! xo Kelly

      Posted 7.4.20
  2. Julie Greene wrote:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thank you for your wonderful tutorials. I always learn so much from your weekly posts. It’s like reading a well written cook book, no, even better. I’m embarrassed to say my husband is a much more intuitive cook than I am. Your posts have helped me to become a little more inventive. We will save some of today’s steak and try these tacos.

    Happy 4th of July!


    Posted 7.4.20
    • Hi Julie, Thank you so much! It’s fun to get inventive in the kitchen, I am happy you’re enjoying that. This sauce would be great with your leftover steak! Let me know how you like it. Happy Fourth of July! xo Kelly

      Posted 7.4.20
  3. Terry wrote:

    We are BBQing today a Chuck underblade roast boneless (like tri tip) I will give this a shot. It sounds so good.

    Posted 7.4.20
    • Hi Mom, I think you’ll really like it. It’s so versatile. Talk soon, xo Kelly

      Posted 7.4.20
  4. Deborah wrote:

    I look forward to your posts each week, Kelly. I will definitely be making this soon!

    Posted 7.4.20
    • Thank you Deborah! I think you will like how versatile the sauce is. It’s also great to make some up if you have fresh herbs about to turn and you don’t have a plan for them. The sauce will keep in the fridge for about a week if you use olive oil as a base. Thanks for reading today, have a great weekend! xo Kelly

      Posted 7.4.20
    • Mary wrote:

      This sauce should go well with our leftover beef brisket that we smoked today, Maybe as a taco or fajita. The tortilla warmer looks interesting. How do you heat everything when you use it? Love your recipes.

      Posted 7.4.20
      • Hi Mary, this sauce will go beautifully with your leftover brisket! I love my tortilla warmer. it’s the only way to microwave tortillas without them getting dried out and hard (like bread does in the microwave). Basically, I pop about 5-8 tortillas in a stack in the warmer and microwave for about 20-30 seconds. they come out soft and warm every time. Let me know if you make the sauce for your brisket, be well and have a great weekend. xo, Kelly

        Posted 7.4.20
  5. Kelly wrote:

    This looks so good; I definitely want to try it! This actually seems similar to a pesto sauce made with basil or the cilantro sauce we get with our arepa at a local Venezuelan restaurant.

    Posted 7.4.20
    • Hi Kelly, yes for sure! This sauce is very very similar to pesto. I love to make this sauce with cilantro too, it really adds a deep savory flavor to anything it tops. Thanks so much for tuning in today! Take Care, xo Kelly

      Posted 7.4.20
  6. Madeline Garcia wrote:

    Did I miss something? I don’t see an ingredient or portion listing?

    Posted 7.4.20
    • Hello Madeline, You didn’t miss the recipe card as I did not include one in the post. In the prose, I outlined what I used to make the sauce, with the intention of it being being merely a jumping off point, so to speak, for one to experiment and play with what they have in the fridge to create their own version. For your reference, I made the sauce with:
      1 bunch of parsley, chopped
      1 garlic clove, minced
      1 Fresno pepper, diced
      Zest of 1 Lime
      Juice of half a lime
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      Pinch of salt and pepper

      I hope you try the sauce or something like it, thank you so much for reading the post! Take Care, xo Kelly

      Posted 7.5.20
  7. Suzanne Smith wrote:

    That looks great. I make variations on that theme, and it’s always a win, I think. I agree that it’s versatile enough to put on veggies, etc, too. And it’s healthy. I thought of you today as I made a big batch of coleslaw! 😉

    Happy 4th!

    Posted 7.4.20
    • Hi Suzanne! I made a big batch of coleslaw for the Fourth too! Thank you so much for reading the post yesterday, it’s always nice to hear from you. xo, Kelly

      Posted 7.5.20
  8. Ann wrote:

    Perfect timing! I have a bunch of cilantro that I need to use up. I will make this!

    Posted 7.5.20
    • Hi Ann, that’s perfect! This sauce is delicious with cilantro and a great way to use up your herbs! Thanks so much for tuning in to read the post. enjoy your weekend, take care! xo, Kelly

      Posted 7.5.20

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