Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce (Whole30, Vegan)

Cilantro chimichurri sauce is going to become one of your favorite condiments!

This healthy herby sauce is ready in just 5 minutes and can bring so much flavor to any dish! Serve over protein, veggies, eggs, potatoes or stirred into rice or quinoa for a flavorful side dish.

Glass jar filled with whole30 chimichurri sauce.
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Reasons to love this recipe

  • Cilantro chimichurri is much like pesto; it takes the meal up to the next level in flavor. You can quickly improve the taste of any meal with chimichurri, as it’s that “extra step” that everyone will be talking about! What’s even better is that it’s so easy to make and ready in just 5 minutes!
  • Never let your fresh herbs go to waste again. Have you ever bought cilantro and flat leaf parsley for recipes and found that you had so much leftover with no idea how to use it? Make chimichurri next time! Once you try this you will purposefully be buying extra cilantro and flat leaf parsley so you can always have this on hand. Naturally dairy free, gluten free, vegan, Whole30 and can be made keto friendly, this cilantro chimichurri goes with everything!
  • Chimichurri is just a few basic ingredients that you can find at any grocery store. This base recipe is quite thick, so it’s great for dipping fries in or stirring into rice, quinoa, into potatoes or used as a marinade.
Ingredients to make cilantro chimichurri sauce.


  • Cilantro
  • Flat leaf parsley
  • Lime juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Red onion
  • Pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes

How to make cilantro chimichurri sauce

  1. To a food processor add the cilantro and parsley, lime juice and olive oil. You can even add the cilantro and parsley stems if they are not thick. Process on high 30 seconds to 1 minute until the greens are broken down.

    Food processor filled with cilantro and parsley.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process on high at least 1 minute. You will likely have to stop and scrape down the food processor once or twice. Make sure everything is well combined and finely chopped. This will be a thick sauce, not smooth and creamy.

    Step 2 to making chimichurri, add the onion, spices and pumpkin seeds.
  3. If you want to make this sauce easier to pour over things, add 2-3 tbsp. of water and process again until the sauce is thinner and easier to drizzle.

    Chimichurri sauce after blending in the food processor.
  4. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


  • Don’t waste the stems! The stems from cilantro and parsley are so flavorful and since you are blending this sauce up, they are great to add in! If your parsley or cilantro have been sitting in water for some time, trim away the bottom ends of the herbs before blending. Also quickly investigate for any thick stems (as they will be bitter).
  • Easy to adjust! This recipe can be adjusted depending on how much leftover herbs you have on hand. I often make a half batch in my mini food processor that came with my immersion blender. If you find that you don’t have quite enough herbs on hand, you can add in a handful of spinach or kale as well to help bulk up the sauce and cut through the onion and lime juice.
  • Change the consistency based on what you need it for: If you want a sauce that is a little easier to drizzle over things (like chicken, beef, tofu, veggies), you can add 2-3 tablespoons of water while it’s mixing up in the food processor. If you prefer a more dressing like consistency, add 2-3 tbsp. of olive oil after blending.

What is chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce originated from Argentina and was traditionally served as a condiment for beef. The original recipe had parsley, red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh garlic. Variations of this recipe often include other spices and herbs.

Traditional chimichurri is made with parsley and red wine vinegar. I found that adding in the cilantro and subbing lime juice for red wine vinegar takes the chimichurri to the next level!

If you want a more traditional chimichurri sauce, you will want to use more parsley in place of the cilantro and about 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. This will be very acidic but it will cut through things like heavy meats very well.

Fry being dipped in cilantro chimichurri sauce.

Cilantro chimichurri sauce common questions

How to use chimichurri

Chimichurri is a condiment from South America and can be used on so many things (just like ketchup). Chimichurri sauce is bright and herby with a slight kick of heat from the red pepper flakes.

Here are some great ways to use chimichurri:

  • As a marinade for chicken, steak, fish, shrimp, tofu
  • Pour it over grilled, roasted, or pan seared steak, chicken, shrimp, fish, beans, veggies
  • Drizzle over tacos, nachos, burritos for that extra special flair
  • Add it to avocado toast
  • Stir it in eggs or add on top of runny eggs
  • Make it a creamy dip! Stir in some yogurt, mayo or sour cream to make a creamy chimichurri sauce
  • Use it instead of ketchup to dip fries, sweet potato tots or broccoli tots
  • Mix in with rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or potatoes for a delicious side dish.
  • Use it as a dip for bread, sweet potato tots, sweet potato fries or even carrot fries!
  • Stir it into meatballs before cooking or on top of meatballs after cooking
  • Stir into soups (like this Mexican Cauliflower White Bean Soup) to take them to the next level of flavor

Ways to add more spice

The red pepper flakes make this the perfect amount of heat for me. If you like things a bit spicier you can add in:

  • Fresh or pickled jalapeno
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (making chipotle chimichurri)
  • More red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
Large bowl filled with creamy chimichurri sauce.

Other additions

As I mentioned above, traditional chimichurri often had many variations that include additional spices and herbs. You could also add these to this cilantro chimichurri recipe:

  • Fresh or dried oregano – about 4 stalks fresh or ½- 1 tsp. dried
  • Ground cumin – about ½ -1 tsp. to give the chimichurri an earthier flavor
  • Smoked paprika – about ½ – 1 tsp. to give a smoky flavor to the chimichurri
  • Kale or spinach – this doesn’t really change the flavor much but you can always add more veggies this way. If you find that the chimichurri is too acidic adding a handful of kale or spinach will quickly cut through that acid.

How to make chimichurri sauce keto

The red onion does add quite a few carbs to the chimichurri sauce. To make this recipe keto friendly, replace the red onion with green onions. You will need the whites and greens parts from 5-6 green onions. Just replace the red onion and follow the recipe as stated.

Spoonful of cilantro chimichurri sauce.

How to store cilantro chimichurri sauce

Fridge: Store leftover whole30 chimichurri sauce in the fridge in a well sealed container for up to a week.

Note: If you are using this to serve at a party or to serve guest and want it to look it’s best, make it the day of or 1 day before so that the color is the most intense for presentation.

Freezer: You can freeze leftover cilantro chimichurri for up to 1 month. I recommend you freeze in 2 tablespoon ice cubes so that you can defrost one serving at a time as needed. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer safe bag or container.


Cilantro: If you hate cilantro or don’t have any on hand, you can use all flat leaf parsley instead of cilantro. This will be closer to the authentic recipe this way.

Flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley): I prefer flat leaf parsley over curly parsley. You could also use curly parsley or all cilantro in place of the parsley. I prefer the blend but this recipe would be great with all cilantro as well.

Lime juice: As I mentioned before, the traditional recipe calls for red wine vinegar. You could use 2-3 tbsp. red wine vinegar in place of lime juice. You could also use the juice of 1-2 lemons as well.

Red onion: I prefer the taste of this chimichurri with red onion but you could also use shallots, white onion, yellow onion or green onions.

Pumpkin seeds: I use pumpkin seeds to add some body to this recipe (much like how pine nuts make pesto have a better texture). You can use whatever nut or seed you have on hand: almonds, pine nuts, cashews, walnut, sunflower seeds in place of the pumpkin seeds or decide to omit them entirely.

Garlic powder: I personally prefer to use garlic powder over fresh garlic, as I find that fresh garlic can overwhelm the other flavors in the sauce. If you love fresh garlic and would prefer to use that instead, you will need 2-3 cloves of garlic finely minced before adding to the food processor (so you don’t get big chunks in any bite).

Red pepper flakes: If you don’t have red pepper flakes or will be making this for small kids, you can omit them completely or reduce the amount in the recipe. If you want some heat but don’t have red pepper flakes, you could also use cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp) or 1-2 chipotle in adobo (from the can).

Food processor filled with Whole30 chimichurri sauce.
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Spoon in a jar of cilantro chimichurri sauce.

Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce

$4.07 recipe/$0.51 serving
Cilantro chimichurri sauce is the perfect healthy condiment! Made with easy to find ingredients and ready in 5 minutes, this vegan, Whole30, keto sauce is perfect for adding to any meal!
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Course: sauce
Cuisine: American, South American
Keyword: cilantro chimichurri sauce, cilantro parsley sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings



  • Add the cilantro and parsley to the food processor with lime juice and olive oil. Process on high 1 minute to break down the leaves and stems.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients (pumpkin seeds, red onion, salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes) and process on high at least 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the food processor at least once.
  • Check the consistency of the sauce, make sure everything is well broken up. If you want a thinner sauce, add 2-3 tbsp. water and process again until desired texture achieved.
  • Store in fridge up to 1 week or freezer for 3 months.


Other additions:
  • Fresh or dried oregano – about 4 stalks fresh or ½- 1 tsp. dried
  • Ground cumin – about ½ -1 tsp. to give the chimichurri an earthier flavor
  • Smoked paprika – about ½ – 1 tsp. to give a smoky flavor to the chimichurri
  • Kale or spinach – this doesn’t really change the flavor much but you can always add more veggies this way. If you find that the chimichurri is too acidic adding a handful of kale or spinach will quickly cut through that acid.
  • Fresh or pickled jalapeno
  • 2-3 chipotle in adobo sauce
See post for long list of substitutions. For a more authentic chimichurri replace the cilantro with parsley and the lime juice with red wine vinegar (2-3 tbsp.)

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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