Oh wowza was this delicious. It all started when I had ventured to a health food and organic supermarket in the west end of Toronto, The Sweet Potato. My husband and I were so over-the-top excited that everything in the entire produce section was organic, that we may have gone a little overboard. I ended up near the end of the week with a whole bunch of organic herbs that needed a purpose, so I mixed and matched it up and created a most delicious chimichurri loaded to the brim with the nutritional powerhouses that are parsley, basil, cilantro and oregano.
I don't think we eat enough herbs. We may put a few sprigs of parsley in a salad or as a garnish. We may add some basil to a pasta, and if we're cilantro lovers, maybe a bit chopped up in our favourite Thai dish. But when do we actually consume loads of herbs?
Traditionally chimichurri comes in a red version or a green version and contains parsley, oregano, olive oil, garlic and red wine vinegar. Argentina and Uruguay both claim to be the inventors. The word chimichurri is believed to come from the Basque word tximitxurri, which loosely translates to "a mixture of several things in no particular order".
Mixing Together What We Want
So I figure that by adding in cilantro and basil, just because it's in my fridge, is simply following the Basque tradition. And from the culinary nutrition world I come from, our goal is to load in as much nutrition as possible into every bite while keeping it simple and delicious. Done, done and done!
Green Herb Power
Green herbs, especially the ones used in this recipe, are truly some of the most powerful whole foods we can consume. Beyond being rich in chlorophyll, which is to the blood as a rainbow is to a unicorn (stay with me here), they also have the powerful ability to help move heavy metals out the body. If you've ever heard of chelation therapy, this is like the edible version.
As well, cilantro is singled out for its detox powers as it can detoxify some neurotoxins such as heavy metals (e.g. mercury) and toxic chemicals (e.g. phthalates, plasticizers and insecticides). As well, studies show its ability to inhibit lead from depositing in the body.
Basil has anti-bacterial benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits and as I wrote in The UnDiet Cookbook: "According to the Oxford English Dictionary, royalty used to bathe in basil to take advantage of its medicinal properties. Basil is also used in Tamil and Ayurvedic medicine. The herb has been studied extensively and shown to reduce inflammation and to be healing for those of us with inflammatory bowel challenges."
Lastly, oregano is also a powerhouse. I know you've heard of oil of oregano, right? Well that is a concentration of the potent anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties found in the whole plant.
Time to Mix It Up
This sauce can be mixed and matched using the herbs you have in your fridge. When I whipped up this batch, I kept half to enjoy, and froze the other half. If you're sensitive to raw garlic, I recommend roasting it first or just using much less. As well, you can play with the amount of salt or omit it altogether if you just want the herbs to speak for themselves.
For two days, I put in on everything, including my one-year-old's food. He loved it too.
Yield: 1½ cups
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
- ½ cup finely chopped basil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh and finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ red pepper flakes
- Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and store overnight in the fridge to let the flavours mix.
- Serve over your favourite protein or on just about everything!