It’s been awhile since my last post. I missed us! 🙂 A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by self-imposed pressured to post MANY corona-appropriate recipes on the blog and be active on Instagram cause I had “all this time now” to #stayproductive. SMH I dialed it back a bit, realizing I’m fortunate to be able to stay home and self-isolate but #gimmeabreak there’s a lot going on in the world. This ain’t a retreat.
So I gave myself a break. It was good! Now I’m back and ready to share some new high impact/low effort recipes I’ve been making that I think you’ll also enjoy.
The first up is the Greenest Salsa Verde. This may be your new favorite “boring meal blocker”. Something to shake things up a bit. I started thinking about this sauce when my pre-Easter grocery delivery came with a pork tenderloin instead of lamb chops and an unusually large bunch of parsley. In lieu of my “treat yo self” Covid-19 Easter lamb dinner, I made flavorful, bright and herb-y sauce to jazz up my kinda boring pork tenderloin. It was great and soon I was using the sauce to level-up lots of other foods – avocado toast, a bland delivery quiche, frozen mixed vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, pasta.
I loved it so much that I made a 2nd batch and refined the recipe to share with you. It’s super quick and easy (no real chopping!), keeps well in the fridge and fits most diets (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free). I’ve also listed lots of substitution ideas below, which means that as long as you have fresh herbs and olive oil you should be able to give this a try!
Why It Works
This sauce is tangy, full of green flavors (not sure this is a term, but you get me), savory and salty with just a bit of heat. No one ingredient overpowers the other; it’s a team effort to lift up anything it’s added to.
For The Greenest Salsa Verde, I used nutritional yeast in place of traditional anchovies because I was going to be social distance meal sharing (aka.delivering food) with a vegetarian friend. Nutritional yeast turned out to be a great swap because it adds a great savory quality without the heft of anchovies making it an even more versatile sauce. There’s more on admiration for nutritional yeast and how you can use it here.
Another thing I love about this salsa verde is that it stores well and stays bright green in the fridge thanks to all of the olive oil. Something about drizzling on a vibrant, springy sauce just makes my meals a bit happier. I’ll take more of that these days, for sure!
But I Thought Salsa Verde Was Mexican?
It is. There are other interpretations of salsa verde or green sauce around the world. Mexican salsa verde relies on tomatillos. Italian salsa verde combines fresh green herbs, acid, olive oil and often anchovy and capers. It’s similar to chimichurri and because of the herb+olive oil combination, it might remind you a bit of pesto. IMHO it packs a much bigger punch than pesto thanks to the acid and strong savory flavors. There are many regional varieties in Italy and also this one from New Jersey. Cheers!
What If I Don’t Have..
This is a flexible recipe so let’s talk substitutes.
- Nutritional yeast – You can use 1 or 2 anchovy fillets, a squeeze of anchovy paste or leave it out all together.
- The same herbs – Go for a mix of cilantro, parsley, basil, dill and/or oregano – basically leafy green herbs work here. Keep in mind, dill and oregano are going to be much more dominate flavors than parsley or basil
- Lemon juice – Use lime, white wine vinegar or even red wine vinegar
- Lemon zest – NBD if you have to leave it out
- Capers – Try 1 or 2 green olives
- Garlic flavored olive oil – Use regular olive oil plus a peanut sized piece of garlic or a 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Yuzo Kosho – Yeah, I know this is kinda niche, but it’s a great kitchen addition. Add bit of jalapeno or serrano chili or even red pepper flakes for heat. Check out my Yuzo Kosho Roasted Chicken if you need more convincing.
The Greenest Salsa Verde
This easy herb sauce brings a fresh flavor boost to almost anything. It’s great on eggs, as a salad dressing or pasta sauce, with or veggies; basically everything but ice cream.
This recipe is very flexible and more tips for substitutions are in the post above. If you have a peppery olive oil, this is a great place to use it.
- A bunch of parsley (approx. 1 to 1.5 cups leaves and thin stems)
- ½ cup other fresh herbs (like cilantro, oregano, basil or dill but more parsley is also cool)
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp capers
- 1 Lemon (zested plus juice from ½ lemon)
- ½ tsp yuzo kosho (chili flakes or fresh jalapeno are good subs)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp garlic-flavored olive oil OR regular EVOO plus 1 garlic clove
- zester or microplane (to zest lemon)
- cutting board
- blender, food processor or immersion blender with cup
- measuring spoons & cup measure
- lemon juicer (optional)
- Pick the parsley and any other herb leaves and thin stems off the sprigs and add them to the mixing container. You’ll want 1.5 to 2 cups total. I used 1 cup parsley, ½ cup cilantro and about 1 tbs of oregano I had at the time.
- Add ½ tsp salt, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 Tbsp capers and ½ tsp yuzo kosho to the mixing container. If you are using fresh garlic, cut a small peanut sized piece from a peeled garlic clove and add it to the mixing container. Trust, a little fresh garlic goes a long way.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil to the container along with the garlic-flavored olive oil if you have it (you’ll need ¼ cup + 2 Tbsps oil in total). Zest the lemon and squeeze the juice of half of a lemon and the zest to the container. Watch out for the seeds!
- Mix everything until smooth. It should be the consistency of a loose pesto – more sauce than paste.Taste the salsa verde and adjust with a pinch more salt, extra squeeze of lemon or drizzle of olive if needed. Enjoy!
REFRIGERATOR STORAGE: I like to store salsa verde in small glass jars in the fridge. It stays greenest if you use the smallest size container that fits so there’s not much room for air on top of the sauce. When you’re ready to use it, just give it a stir. The texture will become looser as it comes to room temperature.
FREEZER STORAGE: You can also freeze sauce in containers and even in ice cube trays. That way, you can have bright green sauce at any time! Just make sure the olive oil is covering the herbs.