Red chimichurri sauce is rich and flavorful, similar to traditional chimichurri, but with bold flavors of roasted red peppers and smoky paprika. It’s incredibly versatile and perfect to top grilled meats, use as a steak sauce, serve on veggies or use as a dressing. And, it’s ready in about 5 minutes. You’re going to love this recipe that’s also low-carb keto and FODMAP friendly!
I never used to be much of a sauce person, especially a steak sauce kind of gal – until now. After making my first chimichurri recipe, it was all over. And I wanted to put it on pretty much everything (and I still do). Literally, I just spoon it right in to my mouth. It’s so good and very healthy, which is a win-win, all around.
There are many different chimichurri recipes, but this variation with red peppers and deep flavor from the paprika make this sauce one to keep on hand at all times. The red peppers impart a savory and slightly sweet flavor while the smoked paprika lends a touch of earthy smokiness. I use this recipe, as well as my Mexican Chimichurri Sauce on smoked meats, like Traeger smoked flank steak. It's also delicious on pork, fish, this keto and FODMAP-friendly Carnitas and pretty much anything else. It's also totally divine as a keto chimichurri rice when mixed with homemade cauliflower rice.
What is chimichurri?
Chimichurri is an oil-based sauce, used in South American and Mexican cooking. Most sources regard this as an Argentinian recipe that features bright, aromatic ingredients such as parsley, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Traditionally, it is used as a marinade for meat and sauce for grilled meats, but it is now also used as a homemade barbeque sauce, steak sauce and even as a salad dressing.
I’ve taken the authentic chimichurri verde (green chimichurri) recipe and added some additional savory elements with bright lemon to create a chimichurri rojo (red chimichurri) recipe that will make your taste buds sing. This is definitely a recipe to add to your sauce collection.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This outstanding sauce takes a handful of ingredients and is ready in minutes
- It’s made from healthy ingredients and adds a boost of nutrition to your meal
- You can use this on pretty much everything – and you’ll want to!
- It’s so versatile, keeps well in the fridge and you can freeze it to have on hand and defrost at a moment’s notice
- You get to control the amount of spice which is a great advantage over store bought
This red version of a classic green chimichurri takes a handful of healthy ingredients:
- Fresh parsley – you can use curly or Italian flat leaf. Use the leaves only, as the stems tend to have a bitter flavor.
- Roasted red peppers – I often purchase these in a jar, but fresh roasted are always a good idea
- Extra virgin olive oil or garlic infused olive oil – if you want to make a low-FODMAP sauce, use garlic infused olive oil as a garlic substitute
- Vinegar – Red wine vinegar is my favorite, but you can also use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar
- Garlic – bold and aromatic, it brings an extra liveliness to the palate. I find that 2 cloves adds just enough garlic flavor, but you can add more for a stronger flavor. For low-FODMAP, you can eliminate this completely or use garlic infused olive oil to substitute for garlic.
- Smoked paprika – also known as pimenton, this adds a deep, rich flavor. You can also use sweet paprika if you don’t have smoked paprika, or eliminate it altogether. But it really adds an extra layer of flavor.
- Lemon juice or preserved lemon paste – a little acidity adds a brightness to the sauce and balances the richness of the oil. Using fresh lemon juice is best. Preserved lemon paste adds a lemony, salty, umami to anything it touches and is amazing in this sauce. Read more about preserved lemon paste in my preserved lemon paste ingredient spotlight.
- Salt and pepper – enhances the robust flavors and brings everything together
Place all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in your food processor and blend to desired consistency, 5-10 seconds.
Add the olive oil and pulse 3-4 times until it’s thoroughly incorporated. Or, you can stir the oil in by hand with a large spoon.
Taste and add more salt and spice if necessary.
Adding the olive oil after the other ingredients are processed will prevent it from becoming bitter. When olive oil is blended too much, it tends to take on a slightly bitter taste.
If you like a slightly chunky chimichurri, only process the ingredients until they’re coarsely chopped.
Let sit for 30-60 minutes before serving to let the flavors blend together. The sauce mellows, deepens and develops a hint of sweetness while it rests.
How to store
You can store red chimichurri in the refrigerator for up to a week in a sealed container. I prefer to use a mason jar.
Can you freeze chimichurri?
If you want to freeze some, I recommend freezing in small containers, like small mason jars. This way, you can pull out just enough for a meal or two at a time.
Try freezing in ice cube trays for single servings. When frozen, you can transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag.
How to use
There are SO many ways to use chimichurri rojo to liven up everyday meals. Here are my favorites:
- Best burger topping – adding a dollop to your burger is one of the best things ever - not kidding here...
- Top your grilled steak – this flavor powerhouse was made for red meat. Create your own fancy steakhouse at home and create some beef chimichurri! This is truly one of the best steak sauce recipes ever. I love this with smoked flank steak.
- Add to roasted or grilled meat, poultry or fish – a little bit goes a long way, but I don’t stop at just a little bit… try this with smoked leg of lamb for a truly magical culinary experience.
- Serve on top of eggs – top an omelet, scramble, poached eggs, quiche or frittata
- Make a chimichurri sandwich - use as a sandwich spread. It’s so good.
- Top roasted vegetables – or toss with your favorite roasted or grilled veggies
- Add to a hot dog – create unique and divine dawg magic
- Serve on tacos and burritos – who needs salsa? It goes really well with Instant Pot Carnitas for taco Tuesday.
- Use it as a salad dressing – drizzle a little on your salad and toss. It’s amazing for steak salad.
- Make chimichurri shrimp – sauté shrimp in this divine sauce or top grilled shrimp skewers
- Try it as a pizza base – use it like you would use basil pesto and make a chimichurri sauce pizza base
Variations and add-ins
- Replace half the parsley with cilantro – this changes the flavors a bit, but it’s so good. Cilantro chimichurri isn’t traditional, but that’s okay!
- Add pine nuts or almonds or a tablespoon of almond butter – this will make it a little thicker and slightly like a romesco sauce
- Add a little bit of mint, oregano or basil – these each have a different flavor profile and are more aromatic than parsley. Start with a small amount or they each can overpower your sauce.
- Increase the garlic or add shallot – if you can tolerate alliums, create an intense red garlic sauce by adding 2-3 additional garlic cloves or a small shallot
- Make it spicy – add Aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes or other hot peppers. Not familiar with Aleppo pepper? It's one of my favorite things. Read more in my Aleppo pepper ingredient spotlight.
- Use preserved lemon paste instead of lemon juice - never heard of it? Read all about how to make it in my Preserved Lemon Paste ingredient spotlight.
The spice level depends on how much chili pepper you decide to add, if you choose to add any at all. If you’re a fan of spice, add serrano, fresno chili, jalapeno, or Aleppo or red pepper flakes.
Yes! This may become the keto steak sauce of your dreams. It’s one of the most flavorful low-carb sauces around. Since it contains no sugar, you’ll probably want to keep this low-carb steak sauce on hand.
Yes, as long as it’s made without garlic, using garlic infused olive oil as a garlic substitute. Use this recipe as a low-FODMAP sauce for a variety of dishes, as a low-FODMAP condiment for sandwiches, burgers and more. Or, use it as a low-FODMAP dressing for salads – it’s so versatile!
Yes! In fact, it may well be considered a superfood. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, K and folate. About 10 sprigs of parsley provide the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it by giving a star rating and leaving a comment!
Other recipes you might like
Red Chimichurri (Chimichurri rojo)
- 2 cups fresh parsely (about 1 bunch, stems removed)
- 12 ounces roasted red peppers
- ½ cup olive oil (or use garlic infused olive oil for low-FODMAP)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic (or use garlic infused olive oil as a garlic substitute)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (or use sweet paprika)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Place all ingredients except for the olive oil in your food processor and blend to desired consistency, between 5-10 seconds.
- Add the olive oil and pulse 3-4 times until it’s thoroughly incorporated. Or, you can stir the oil in by hand with a large spoon.
- Taste and add more salt and spice if necessary.
Variations and add-ins
- Replace half the parsley with cilantro - for non-tradtional flavor but oh so good
- Add pine nuts, almonds or almond butter - makes it a little thicker like romesco
- Add mint, oregano, or basil - start with small amounts only to not overpower the sauce
- Increase garlic or add shallot - if you tolerate alliums
- Make it spicy - with Aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes or other hot peppers
- Use preserved lemon paste instead of lemon juice - for a lemony, salty umami
*Net carbs = carbohydrates - fiber
Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools and does not include optional ingredients unless otherwise indicated.