Italian salsa verde is a tangy, bright herb packed green sauce and one of my favorite condiments. I slather it over grilled steak, drizzle it over eggs, and use it as a salad dressing. You’ll find endless uses for this easy, versatile sauce!
I. Am. So. Ready. For. Spring. Who’s with me?
Let’s celebrate spring’s impending arrival with this recipe for Italian salsa verde. This herby green sauce is basically spring on a spoon – bright, green, cheerful, and full of promise. Awesome-sauce.
Part dressing, part sauce, I slather salsa verde on steak or fish, drizzle it over eggs, toss it with vegetables, and occasionally eat it by the spoonful. There are few limits to this versatile condiment.
Italian salsa verde is stupid easy to prepare, and takes just 10 minutes. It’s friendly for every diet persuasion from vegan to paleo, so feel free to use it liberally. I do, and you should do.
What is Italian Salsa Verde?
Italian salsa verde is many things. A zingy, dairy-free pesto-ish sauce? Check. The mediterranean cousin of mexican salsa verde? Yep. A milder, but equally addictive, version of chimichurri? You betcha.
At it’s core, salsa verde is an olive oil based green sauce packed with fresh herbs, garlic, and acid with a kick of both heat and brine. It fires all of the taste buds my friends. My version is prepared with parsley, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and capers, which is a fairly close approximation of most traditional versions, with some extra zing thrown in for funsies.
Depending on how finely you chop the herbs, or how much olive oil you add, it can be used as a dipping sauce, salad dressing, and everything in between.
Italian Salsa Verde Recipe Notes
The majority of this recipe can be prepared using a food processor, and I’m so not going to judge you for using one. But since I’m a
masochist purist, I finely chop the herbs, garlic, and capers by hand. It gives me a good wrist workout, and also a little more control over the final texture. I’ll include instructions in the recipe notes for those of you with better sense than I and choose to go the food processor route.
You’ll start by finely mincing one bunch of parsley. Make sure you’re getting your hands on the freshest parsley you can buy – it’ll be bursting with flavor and aromatics, and it will make your sauce the tastiest it can be. Just say no to limp parsley. For a chunkier sauce, chop the parsley on the large side. For a thinner sauce, got for a really fine mince. I land somewhere in the middle for maximum versatility.
Transfer the parsley to a large bowl, and then mince the garlic and the capers. You want to mince both of these pretty finely so that their flavor will carry throughout the entire sauce.
Next up is a hit of acid. No, not that kind. The lemony kind! I include both lemon juice and zest. The zest lends another layer of aromatics and really adds a pop of true lemon flavor to the sauce. It’s delish, and you should do it.
I season my Italian salsa verde quite liberally with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. The portions, honestly, are going to be dictated by your palette. After you’ve added the olive oil and mixed it all together, you should taste for seasoning. Add extra bits of salt, pepper, red pepper, or all three until the sauce tastes like WOAH to you. Keep in mind that the capers already add lots of brine, so don’t go too liberal on the salt before tasting for seasoning.
And just like that, you’re done. You can serve this immediately, but the flavor is definitely going to improve as the ingredients get cozy and their flavors meld. Make your salsa verde before preparing the other portions of your meal to get the best flavor possible.
How to use Italian Salsa Verde
Drizzle it over breakfast polenta.
Slather it on grilled steak or broiled fish.
Toss it with roasted vegetables or salad greens….or both, like this roasted radish salad.
So many possibilities. So much awesome. Get mincing my friends!
Italian Salsa Verde Recipe
Italian salsa verde is a tangy, herb-packed green sauce. This versatile condiment is vegan, paleo, and whole 30. You'll put this zingy green sauce on everything!
- 1 bunch parsley minced
- 1 tbsp capers drained and minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more to taste
- sea salt to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
Chop the parsley until finely minced and place in a large bowl.
Mince the capers and garlic and add to the parsley.
Zest the lemon, then juice. Add both the juice and zest to the parsley, capers, and garlic.
Add the red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper and the olive oil to the bowl and mix until incorporated. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and/or red pepper flakes as desired. For a thinner consistency, add more olive oil.
To make this recipe in a food processor:
Add the parsley to the food processor whole and pulse 3-5 times to break it down. Add the capers and whole garlic cloves and pulse until all ingredients are chopped or minced to your desired texture.
Scrape the herb mixture from the food processor into a large bowl and proceed with Step 3.
**One serving is approximately 1 heaping tablespoon of salsa verde.
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