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5-Minute Spicy Green Herb Sauce

5 from 5 votes

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This fresh, herby green sauce recipe with jalapeño and garlic takes just 5 minutes to make. It will add a big spark of bright flavor to just about anything you put it on!

A condiment bowl full of green herb sauce, with a spoon, sliced jalapeno pepper and herb sprigs on the side.
Fresh green sauce made with parsley and cilantro adds amazing flavor to any dish.

I’m happy to share with you one of my all-time favorite sauce recipes: Green sauce!

Fresh green sauce — also called salsa verde — is a powerful flavor building-block and takes just a few minutes to make.

This endlessly versatile condiment is what you’ll want to put on everything. I’m talking morning, noon and night on food like eggs, sandwiches, grilled meat, fish and roasted vegetables.

I like to describe green sauce as a zippy version of pesto sauce, very similar to chimichurri or Middle Eastern zhoug sauce. It’s one of a handful of essential pantry sauces that level-up the simplest dishes.

If you’re into making homemade sauces (and let’s face it — they taste SO much better and contain no preservatives or other unwanted ingredients), you’ll definitely want to try my recipe for easy-as-pie Tangy Tahini Dressing, Lemon Aioli, Quick and Easy Romesco Sauce and Homemade Harissa.

Ingredients in green herb sauce:

A bowl of fresh parsley and cilantro on a marble board, with a garlic clove, bowl of salt, white vinegar and sliced jalapeno.
Parsley, cilantro, green chili pepper, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt are all you need.
  • Fresh parsley: 1 bunch Italian or curly parsley.
  • Fresh cilantro: 1 bunch.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vinegar: You can use white or red wine vinegar, or the same amount of lemon juice
  • Garlic: Use 1 plump clove or 1-2 small ones. You don’t want to overpower the sauce with the taste of pungent raw garlic.
  • Jalapeño or serrano chili pepper: Use half of a larger jalapeño or 1 small green serrano chili. Slice it open and scrape out the seeds if you prefer less heat.
  • Salt: Start with 1/2 teaspoon salt. After processing, taste and add more if you like. Note: I use Diamond kosher salt. Use less salt if you have Morton kosher or fine table or sea salt.
A glass dish of green sauce on a white plate, with a sliced jalapeno and parsley sprigs.
Bright-tasting fresh green sauce.

How to make green sauce:

  • First, prep your herbs by quickly rinsing under cold water to remove dirt and sand. Gently pat them dry with a towel or in a salad spinner. Remove any wilted or damaged leaves. Trim off the bottom third of the stems — they can be tough and will add an unpleasant texture to the sauce. It’s fine to keep tender upper stems.
  • Put the vinegar, salt, chopped green chili and garlic in the bottom of a food processor work bowl. Pile the leaves on top and pour the olive oil over.
  • Process until the sauce is fairly smooth (a little texture is nice) and thickened. Taste and add more salt and/or vinegar to taste.
  • I use a 7-10 cup food processor, for just about every kitchen task. After trying them all, I think it’s the most versatile size. Larger work bowls (12-14 cups) don’t do a great job processing smaller mixtures. Mini food processors are a good choice too, but you might have to make the sauce 2 batches if all the herbs don’t fit in the bowl.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, make the sauce in a blender or finely chop the herbs, garlic and pepper and mix them together in a bowl with the olive oil, vinegar and salt.

Flavor variations – make it your own!

  • Throw in a couple anchovies and some fresh basil for more of an Italian-style salsa verde.
  • Add a teaspoon of toasted cumin seed and grated fresh ginger for an Indian-style chutney.
  • Use fresh lemon juice instead of vinegar.

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5-Minute Spicy Green Herb Sauce

Karen Tedesco
Packed full of chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, and jalapeño, this vibrant green sauce adds a big spark to just about anything you put it on! Use it morning, noon and night on eggs, sandwiches, grilled meat, and vegetables.
Print Pin
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Sauces
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

Makes about 3/4 cup

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½-1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 small green jalapeno or serrano chili pepper, thinly sliced (seeded if you prefer less heat)
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems trimmed off
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, stems trimmed off
  • ½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions 

  • Put the vinegar or lemon juice in a small food processor and add the salt, chili pepper and garlic. Pile the herbs on top then pour in the oil.
  • Process until the herbs are finely chopped and the sauce comes together to the consistency you prefer — loose and chunky or creamy and smooth.
  • Taste and season with additional salt and/or lemon juice if you like.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

Variations:

  • Throw in a couple anchovies and some fresh basil for more of an Italian-style salsa verde.
  • Add a teaspoon of toasted cumin seed and grated fresh ginger for an Indian-style chutney.
  • Use fresh lemon juice instead of vinegar.

Tips and Storage:

  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can make this sauce just as quickly by hand: Finely chop the herbs and stir everything together in a bowl in the order listed.
  • The sauce will keep 3 or 4 days. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 675IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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