Last year, we stopped by an Argentinian bistro in Toulouse, France. This was my first time eating Argentinian cuisine. Generally, there isn’t a whole lot to choose from the menu for vegetarians, because of the meat centered cuisine of Argentina. We lucked out that day, and had some delicious vegetable empanadas served with chimichurri sauce. Yum!
Chimichurri is a very popular condiment in Argentina, eaten especially with steak. It’s kind of like pesto in Italy, or ketchup here in the US. The waiter explained to me that there are many variations of this sauce in Argentina. Some recipes include cilantro and mint, others only parsley and oregano. Some cooks use vinegar, others lemon juice. I imagine that the different regions in the country also influence the ingredients and flavors. As long as really fresh herbs are used, you can’t go wrong drizzling this herbal sauce on all kinds of food …
So when I came home from the farm market with several bunches of fresh herbs last weekend, I decided to make a chimichurri sauce to serve as a topping for a lentil, quinoa and vegetable bowl. The sauce turned out incredibly delicious! The combination of parsley, cilantro and mint, with the addition of garlic, fresh lemon juice and a little chile for a little heat will surely awaken your tastebuds.
For the Beluga lentils, I simply simmered them in water, and seasoned with a little salt, some Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce and a half teaspoon of liquid smoke. They cooked up in about 45 minutes and were delicious!
For the roasted vegetables, I cut up an assortment of veggies and roasted them at 425° for about 45 minutes, using only olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. I used summer squash, green beans, red onion, golden beets, zucchini, red bell peppers and Japanese eggplants. Don’t overcrowd the vegetables on the baking sheet! I used two sheets and rotated them about half way through. Stir them up every so often, and let them get get a little blackened in spots. Mine had shrunk by almost half once they were done.
All that goodness topped with a little chimichurri, and you’ve got a symphony of flavors waking up your tastebuds!
The sauce will be rather strong and pungent if tasted alone. That’s what you want! Once it’s added to your food, it will be just right!
So, finally, here’s the Chimichurri recipe:
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup fresh cilantro ( I used the stems as well)
- 2 cups fresh Italian parsley
- a 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 small chile pepper
- sea salt
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup good quality olive oil
Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely minced and well combined.
You could also use a blender if that’s what you have.
Serve chilled, or at room temperature.
Refrigerate for up to 5 days.