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Chimichurri Pasta

$9.39 Recipe/$2.35 Serving

Chimichurri pasta is quick, easy, and so flavorful! Break out of your normal pasta routine and try chimichurri sauce pasta instead! It’s bright, herby and packed with flavor! You are not going to believe how delicious this easy pasta recipe is.

Chimichurri pasta in a white bowl with limes in the background.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Quick and easy – Chimichurri pasta is ready in about 15 minutes and is so simple to prepare.
  • Fun twist on a classic dish – Pasta is such a great quick and easy weeknight meal, but it can get boring to serve the same recipe on repeat. Instead of the typical sauces like tomato sauce or pesto, chimichurri sauce is made with fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley and lime juice giving this pasta dinner a Mexican/Southwestern flair.
  • Customizable – You can use whatever veggies you have on hand to make this chimichurri pasta! Add more protein with canned beans or your favorite protein (chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon), etc. Make your own chimichurri or buy store-bought.
  • Unique and flavorful! This healthy chimichurri pasta has such a unique flavor, it would make it perfect to serve at cookouts or potlucks too! Chimichurri is typically served with beef, chicken, or seafood, so this recipe would be a great side dish for anything you make on the grill or serve at a potluck!
Ingredients to make chimichurri pasta salad in ramekins on marble counter.
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Ingredients

Chimichurri sauce

  • Fresh herbs: Flat leaf parsley and cilantro – traditional chimichurri is typically made with just flat leaf parsley, but I really enjoy the flavor when you add cilantro, so my go-to chimichurri recipe has both flat leaf parsley and cilantro. If you don’t love cilantro, just use all flat leaf parsley.
  • Lime juice – lime juice helps to add a bright flavor and helps to elevate the sauce. The lime juice also provides acid to help balance out the olive oil.
  • Olive oil – olive oil helps to make this sauce thick and emulsified so it will easily coat the pasta and the veggies. 
  • Fresh garlic – fresh garlic helps to really add lots of flavor and a spicy punch to the sauce. If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can simply omit it from the recipe.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder, ground cumin and red pepper flakes – these spices help to bring umami and a smokiness to the recipe. The red pepper flakes help to add heat (but not be overwhelmingly spicy).

Chimichurri pasta

  • Olive oil – olive oil is used to sauté the veggies. You can also use avocado oil, coconut oil or ghee as well.
  • Veggies: Red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper and tomatoes – these vegetables help to add lots of color and texture to the recipe. I love the combination of red onion, squash, and bell pepper in Mexican, Southwest and South American inspired dishes (check out my Mexican Vegetables post if you love this combination too). You can also use white onions and different color bell peppers.
  • Spices: Salt and garlic powder – these help to ensure that the vegetables are well seasoned before adding the sauce. If you are using a store-bought chimichurri sauce, you may want to taste it first. If it’s overly salty you can omit or reduce the salt and garlic powder until after you stir everything together to ensure the dish isn’t over seasoned.
  • Pasta and pasta water – use whatever your favorite pasta is for this recipe. I like to use a chickpea or lentil based pasta in vegan pasta dishes as these pastas are higher in protein and fiber, which can help make this dish more filling. The chickpea pasta that I used in this recipe comes in an 8 oz. box, so if you are using traditional boxes of pasta, you may only need half a box or need more chimichurri sauce to get the same taste and flavors.

How to make chimichurri pasta

Start by bringing a large pot of water with a large pinch of salt up to a boil.

While the water is coming up to a boil, make your chimichurri sauce by combining all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender. If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can also finely chop the herbs and make a chunkier sauce by blending everything in a bowl on the herbs are finely chopped.

Chimichurri sauce after blending in the food processor.

Chop the vegetables into bite size pieces

  • Thinly slice the onions then cut the onions into bite size pieces.
  • Cut the zucchini and squash into half moon shapes. To do this cut the top and bottom off the squash/zucchini. Then cut the squash in half length wise, this will allow you to reset the squash halves flat on the cutting board. Thinly slice the half of the squash into ¼ inch pieces.
  • Chop the bell pepper into bite size pieces.
  • Cut the cherry/grape tomatoes in half or quarters depending on the size.
Chopped veggies on a wooden cutting board.

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat while you are chopping the vegetables. Once hot, add the olive oil and the onions. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes.

Red onions in a skillet, before and after cooking.

Once the onions have cooked 2-3 minutes, move them to the side of the skillet and add the zucchini and squash pieces. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stir occasionally after the allowing to cook for 2-3 minutes undisturbed. Stir in the red bell pepper and tomatoes and turn off the heat.

Zucchini and squash being added to cooked onion in a skillet.

Once the water has come to a boil, add the pasta to a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Note that the water will likely come to a boil while the veggies are cooking.

Once the pasta is done cooking, reserve about ½ cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.

Pasta water in a measuring cup and drained pasta in a mesh strainer.

Add the cooked pasta and chimichurri sauce to the skillet with the vegetables. Stir well.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water as needed until you reach the desired consistency of the sauce.

Before and after stirring in pasta and chimichurri sauce to veggies in skillet.
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Top tips

  • Make your own or buy store-bought to save time! You can make your own chimichurri sauce in a food processor or high-speed blender or buy it in stores. Trader Joe’s now has a great chimichurri sauce that I love to use in a pinch.
  • Serve hot, room temperature or cold! This chimichurri pasta can be served hot or cold making it perfect for cookouts or potlucks!
  • Be sure to reserve 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining. This water has the starches from the pasta and helps the chimichurri stick once stirred in with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Time saving tip: To save time on this recipe, prep the vegetables ahead of time. Cut the onion, zucchini, squash, red bell pepper and tomatoes up in advance and store them in the fridge up to 3 days in advance of making this pasta.
  • Freeze extra chimichurri sauce for later! If you have a large bunch of parsley and cilantro on hand and want to make extra sauce, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
Spoon scooping out a serving of chimichurri pasta from a skillet.

Other additions

  • More veggies: Artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers
  • Spice: Jalapeno (fresh or pickled), red pepper flakes
  • Add crunch: Walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds
  • Creaminess: Can of white beans or black beans
  • Protein: Chicken (shredded, cubed, sliced), shrimp, salmon, beef, tofu (you may require more chimichurri sauce if you are adding in cooked protein to help ensure the entire dish is well flavored).

Common questions

What is chimichurri?

Chimichurri is a sauce that originated in Argentina. It’s typically used as a dipping sauce for proteins (beef, chicken fish) but can also be used as a marinade for protein or vegetables. Typically chimichurri is a combination of parsley, red wine vinegar, and olive oil with a few added spices. Chimichurri sauce is a fresh herby sauce that can also be used in unconventional ways like on pasta or on rice.

Can you use chimichurri sauce on pasta?

Yes! Chimichurri sauce is the perfect way to change up your typical pasta routine! This sauce does not have to be cooked ahead and can be added directly to hot pasta (like pesto) and is ready to enjoy!

Fork in a bowl of chimichurri pasta

Can you make chimichurri pasta salad?

Yes! You can use this same recipe to make chimichurri pasta salad. Simply make the recipe as written then store it in the fridge for 4-6 hours to cool before serving.

Storing leftovers

  • Fridge: You can store leftover chimichurri pasta in the fridge for 3-4 days. Note that the chimichurri sauce will be the brightest and most vibrant green on the first day. The sauce will slowly start to lose the vibrance as it sits, but the flavor will still be good. You can enjoy leftovers hot or cold. Reheat in the microwave (1-2 minutes) or on the stove over low heat in a skillet for 5-10 minutes until warmed through.
  • Freezer: I would not recommend freezing leftovers of this dish unless you omit the zucchini and the squash. Zucchini and squash get very mushy when frozen and defrosted. If you know you want to freeze leftovers, use more bell peppers and omit the squash and you can freeze this chimichurri pasta for up to 3 months in a well-sealed freezer safe bag or container.
Chimichurri pasta in a skillet, wooden spoon on the side.

Substitutions

  • Fresh herbs: Flat leaf parsley and cilantro: You can make the chimichurri sauce with all parsley or all cilantro if needed.
  • Lime juice: the lime juice helps to balance out the flavors and also helps to add brightness to the sauce. You can also use red wine vinegar in place of the lime juice. Many chimichurri recipes call for just red wine vinegar so it’s a very traditional ingredient.
  • Olive oil: you can use avocado oil in place of the olive oil if needed.
  • Fresh garlic: if you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, you can simply omit it from the recipe.
  • Spices: Do not omit the salt, the flavors will never be as bright as they could be without salt. If you don’t have garlic powder, use more fresh garlic. If you don’t have ground cumin, you can simply omit it. The red pepper flakes can be substituted with cayenne pepper, start with just 1/8 teaspoon or less and add more as you desire.
  • Veggies: You can use any combination of vegetables as you like. Omit anything you don’t have or don’t like. Add different vegetables if you prefer.
  • Pasta: you could also make this recipe with cooked rice, orzo or even cooked potatoes cut into bite size pieces. If you want to make this chimichurri pasta low carb, you can use cooked spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, carrot noodles, hearts of palm pasta or my favorite low carb noodles, spiralized daikon radish noodles.

If you love this recipe, you should try

Chimichurri Rice

Spicy White Bean Stew

Pesto Pasta Salad with Sundried Tomatoes

Zucchini Mushroom Pasta

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Chimichurri pasta in a white bowl with a wooden spoon.

Chimichurri Pasta

$9.39 Recipe/$2.35 Serving
Chimichurri pasta is such delicious quick and easy recipe. This healthy chimichurri pasta is a great way to change up your typical pasta dinner! Vegan, gluten free and dairy free this chimichurri sauce pasta is packed with veggies and so bright and flavorful.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chimichurri pasta, chimichurri pasta salad
Prep Time: 2 mins
Cook Time: 13 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley - $0.50
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro - $0.50
  • 2 medium limes, juiced - $0.66
  • 2 tbsp olive oil - $0.44
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced - $0.12
  • 1/2 tsp salt - $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin - $0.05
  • 1 tsp garlic powder - $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes - $0.03
  • 1-2 tbsp water (as needed) - $0.00

Chimichurri Pasta

  • 8 oz pasta - $2.99
  • 1 tbsp olive oil - $0.22
  • 1 medium red onion - $0.33
  • 1 medium zucchini - $1.00
  • 1 medium summer squash (yellow squash) - $1.00
  • 1 medium red bell pepper - $1.29
  • 1 tsp garlic powder - $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt - $0.03

Instructions

  • Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.
  • While the water is boiling, chop the vegetables. Thinly slice the onion, then cut the slices in half. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into half moon shapes by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, then cutting each half into 1/4 inch pieces. Cut the bell pepper into bite size pieces and cut the tomatoes in half or quarters as needed.
  • Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil and the onions. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Once onions have started to soften, push them to the side of the skillet and add zucchini and squash. Cook 6-8 minutes until soft. Stir in onions after 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the bell pepper and tomatoes to the skillet and turn off the heat. Stir well.
  • When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions. (This will likely occur while veggies are cooking).
  • Make the chimichurri sauce by combining all the ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed.
  • When pasta is done cooking, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.
  • Add the cooked drained pasta and chimichurri sauce to the skillet with the cooked veggies. Stir well and serve hot, room temperature or cold.

Notes

Top tips:
  • You can make your own chimichurri sauce in a food processor or high-speed blender or buy it in stores. Trader Joe’s now has a great chimichurri sauce that I love to use in a pinch.
  • This chimichurri pasta can be served hot or cold. It’s almost like pasta salad when served cold.
  • Be sure to reserve 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta. This water has the starches from the pasta and helps the chimichurri stick to the pasta.
  • Time saving tip: To save time on this recipe, prep the vegetables ahead of time. Cut the onion, zucchini, squash, red bell pepper and tomatoes up in advance and store them in the fridge up to 3 days in advance of making this pasta.
  • If you have a large bunch of parsley and cilantro on hand and want to make extra chimichurri sauce, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
Storing leftovers
Fridge: You can store leftover chimichurri pasta in the fridge for 3-4 days. Note that the chimichurri sauce will be the brightest and most vibrant green on the first day. The sauce will slowly start to lose the vibrance as it sits, but the flavor will still be good. You can enjoy leftovers hot or cold. Reheat in the microwave (1-2 minutes) or on the stove over low heat in a skillet for 5-10 minutes until warmed through.
Freezer: You can freeze pasta and chimichurri sauce, but I would not recommend freezing leftovers of this dish unless you omit the zucchini and the squash. Zucchini and squash get very mushy when frozen and defrosted. If you know you want to freeze leftovers, use more bell peppers and omit the squash and you can freeze this chimichurri pasta for up to 3 months in a well-sealed freezer safe bag or container.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
353
Fat
 
12
g
Carbohydrates
 
47
g
Fiber
 
9
g
Sugar
 
6
g
Protein
 
17
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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