Salsa Verde is a brightly flavoured green sauce made with fresh herbs. It’s an excellent all-rounder that pairs as beautifully with meats as it does with vegetables! A super-versatile sauce that is excellent to have as part of your repertoire, and will serve you well forever.
This version is a variation on traditional Italian Salsa Verde, made with basil, parsley and mint, giving a lovely balance where no one herb dominates. Sharing this as an extra recipe today – as the sauce for Lamb Racks!
Salsa Verde recipe
Salsa Verde literally means “green sauce”. Different versions are found around Europe (Latin America also has its own kind of salsa verde). This herby, savoury sauce bound with olive oil is used as a fresh and tangy condiment most often served with meats or seafood.
This recipe is based on the classic Italian Salsa Verde, probably the most well-known version.
Chopped herbs form the backbone of Salsa Verde, and parsley is usually the key herb in the Italian version. A mix of other soft herbs such as basil, dill, mint can also be added for interest or to use up whatever you have on hand. For this version, I’ve gone heavy on the basil for its softer flavour and bright colour!
The savoury element comes by way of ingredients with concentrated flavour and a good saltiness: anchovies, capers, gherkins, mustard. I’ve left out anchovies for this version to mellow the sauce (but see below for a more traditional recipe).
Meanwhile, vinegar brings the tanginess while olive oil is what binds the sauce together and adds richness.
What you need for Salsa Verde
Here’s what you need to make this Salsa Verde:
Basil, parsley and mint – Fresh, soft herbs are the backbone of a salsa verde. The quantities used for this version makes for a nice balance so none of the herbs dominate and introduces a more complex flavour;
Capers and gherkins – For a salty and savoury punch, and some tang.
Red wine vinegar – Adds the sharpness to the sauce. Salsa Verde should taste bright and tangy;
Olive oil – The better quality your oil, the better the sauce!
Dijon mustard – Adds further flavour as well as helping to bring the sauce together (ie. emulsify).
How to make Salsa Verde
Making salsa verde is dead easy: Simply blitz everything using your vehicle of choice! I just use a stick blender: jam it all into the container then blend into a puree. Depending on how good your stick blender is, it shouldn’t take much longer than 10 seconds.
Mine is quite smooth, but feel free to stop blending sooner for a coarser and more rustic finish.
Traditional Italian Salsa Verde
As mentioned, this is not a strictly traditional Italian Salsa Verde. I have gone for a softer, more rounded and less pungent version which I feel is a bit more versatile, especially when used as a sauce for meats, such as the roasted Lamb Rack recipe I also shared today, served with this Salsa Verde.
If you want to make a more classic version:
Add 1/2 clove of chopped garlic
Add 1 – 2 salted anchovy fillets
Use mostly parsley for the herb
At the end of the day, there is no single or “correct” recipe for Salsa Verde and you should tweak it to your tastes! Like it more sharp? Add more vinegar. Don’t like capers? Don’t use them! Listen to your tastebuds and make your Salsa Verde your own. 😉
What to serve with Salsa Verde
Salsa Verde is the Swiss Army knife of condiments! It’s great to perk up a plainly-prepared protein or side, or to provide a tangy foil to cut through rich meats and cold cuts. Today, I am specifically sharing this recipe as a sauce for a Rosemary Garlic Rack of Lamb which I also published today.
Charry, grilled flavours work especially well with Salsa Verde: Think steaks, chops, barbecued or roasted meats, seafood or vegetables. (It’s even great with sausages – a nice change from the ketchup and mustard routine!)
But it’s equally at home dressing up plainer foods like poached chicken, fish or shellfish, or dolloped on the side of a plate of cold cuts like mortadella, ham, brawn and presswurst. I even love to serve it with eggs! Try it spooned onto some boiled egg halves, poached eggs, fried eggs, or top a pile of scrambled eggs with it for breakfast.
You can also think of Salsa Verde much like tapenade or pesto, and virtually all the same applications work. So use it as a spread on a sandwich or toast, dollop on to juicy vegetables like freshly cut tomatoes for a simple summery salad, or toss some boiled potatoes through it.
The list goes on and on, and you’ll find yourself making this brilliant sauce over and over! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Salsa Verde recipe
- 1 cup green basil , packed
- 3/4 cup parsley , flatleaf; packed
- 1/2 cup mint leaves , packed
- 2 tbsp gherkins , roughly chopped
- 1/2 tbsp capers
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 ice cube – for loosening but keeps the mixture green.
CLASSIC ITALIAN additions
- 1 – 2 anchovies
- 1/2 small garlic clove , roughly chopped
- Substitute the basil and mint with more parsley
- Blitz – Place all ingredients in a tall container and blitz into a fine puree (or to the texture you prefer) using a stick blender. You could also use a small food processor.
- Serving: See in post for extensive list. Serve with steaks, chops or roasted lamb, beef, pork, chicken and seafood (especially great with fish!). It's also excellent with legumes, cooked vegetables and even eggs. You can also use it in the same ways as a tapenade or pesto: Spread on crostini, use in sandwiches, dress salads with it, toss with pasta!
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