Three vibrant green sauce recipes you should know how to make in your sleep, because when it comes to quick, easy, healthy meals, it’s all in the sauce, the green sauce!
why you need to get to know these three green sauces
As we head into spring, our cooking evolves right along with the season and we start to crave everything GREEN! Whether you’re tossing up your first salad of the year, grilling a steak, making tacos, a bowl of pasta, or just a plate of scrambled eggs, these are the secret sauces you need to freshen it all up.
green sauce recipe #1 PESTO
Pesto simply means ‘sauce’ in Italian. A classic Italian pesto is made from basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan, lemon juice, and pine nuts, and is one of those foods, in my opinion, that just has to be made at home. The brightness of flavor compared to what you can get out of a jar is unbelievable, and it’s one of the easiest projects you can do in the kitchen.
Learn how to make basic pesto here, then get creative and change it up…
- swap in other herbs for some or all of the basil. I’ve had great luck with my chive and parsley pesto, but you can also experiment with other herbs you like, like cilantro, tarragon, or mint. Just be mindful when using very strong tasting herbs to make a blend that isn’t too overpowering.
- other hard, nutty cheeses can be used in place of the parmesan, think asiago or gruyere. If you want to keep it vegan, you can leave the cheese out altogether, too.
- pine nuts are expensive, so I often sub in walnuts or almonds for that nutty taste and texture.
- take the concept and think outside the box, some of my favorite pestos are my sun dried tomato and toasted almond pesto, and my lemony artichoke pesto. I’ve even made pesto with pistachios.
how to use pesto
- in pasta, or pasta salad, of course
- to dress roasted vegetables like green beans, potatoes, beets, eggplant, whatever you like!
- mixed into omelettes or quiche for extra flavor
- use it as a marinade
- spooned over a simple tomato salad
- dress up grilled or roasted meats
- as alternative to tomato sauce on homemade pizza
- spread on bruschetta
- thin out any pesto with extra oil and use it as a vibrant bread dipping sauce like I did with this arugula pesto sauce
green sauce recipe #2 CHIMICHURRI
Chimichurri is a classic Argentinian sauce that is similar to pesto, but with its own flavor profile that is incredibly punchy and bright. It’s the most pungent of all our 3 green sauces, and one of my all-time favorites. A classic recipe calls for garlic, shallot, parsley, cilantro, oregano, basil, oil, red wine vinegar, and chili flakes. To me, it’s that combo of the garlic, aromatic oregano, and vinegar that really makes it special.
Learn how to make chimichurri sauce here ~ some chefs feel that the only true way to made this sauce is by hand, with a sharp knife and lots of elbow grease. I prefer to use my food processor. I think it does a more thorough job and makes this amazing sauce all the more do-able whenever I get the urge.
how to use chimichurri sauce
Chimichurri can be used as a sauce, or a marinade but it makes a fabulous dip for bread, which is how I first discovered it in an Argentinian restaurant.
- traditionally chimichurri is served with steak, but you can also serve it alongside grilled chicken, pork, fish or shrimp
- think of it as a bright green, herby barbecue sauce and spoon it over anything you’ve got going on the grill
- use it as a dressing for grilled or roasted vegetables, or a bean salad
- drizzle over roasted potatoes
- spoon over tacos or fajitas
- slather it on sandwiches instead of mayo (your grilled cheese will never be the same)
- chimichurri can sub in for your regular salad dressing on a green salad
- my favorite way to use leftover chinichurri? On fried eggs, of course!
green sauce recipe #3 GREEN GODDESS
Green goddess dressing is a classic dressing dating back to the 1920’s. It’s a garlicky celebration of all kinds of fresh herbs, but green goddess particularly showcases the unique flavor of tarragon. A through line to all these green sauces is that you really need to make them at home to experience their epic flavor. While you can find lots of ‘green goddess’ dressings in a bottle, they don’t hold a candle to the fresh version.
Learn how to make green goddess here ~ you can vary the thickness of the dressing by using more or less mayo. A thicker green goddess dressing can be used as a dip for crudité.
how to use green goddess dressing
- use it as originally intended, on all kinds of leafy green salads
- as a dip for crisp veggies
- as a pasta salad dressing
- as a potato salad dressing
- in chicken salad or egg salad
- for a twist on a classic seafood salad rolls