Winter Salsa Verde

dinner entree sauces seasonal eating vegetables Feb 04, 2021

Salsa Verde is a green herb sauce found in many countries with many variations. It includes fresh raw herbs, garlic, olive oil and often chili flakes or anchovies. In France it’s Sauce Verte, in Italy - Pesto, and in Argentina - Chimichurri.

It’s super flexible and simple to make. You can make your own recipe using your favorite fresh herbs. It can be made into a smooth sauce in a food processor like most pestos or the herbs can be hand-chopped for a coarser texture. I tend to do it by hand simply to avail washing a machine!

I switch herbs depending on the season. Basil, tarragon, chives, dill, and chervil are wonderful in spring and summer. Parsley, cilantro, and arugula and nice in winter. The addition of bitter arugula helps with the digestion of richer winter dishes.

Use Salsa Verde as a marinade for meat or fish or as a finishing sauce over cooked meat, vegetables, new potato salad, etc.. It makes a great dip blended with mayonnaise or thick yogurt. It’s also delicious tossed with pasta as I’ve done in the picture above. Below the Salsa Verde recipe, I mention how to make this super quick Chard & Salsa Verde pasta.

Salsa Verde 


  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed

  • 4 anchovy fillets in oil, drained or 1 to 2 Tbls anchovy paste (optional)

  • 1 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 2 to 4 cups of washed and dried fresh herbs, stems removed. Use one herb or a mixture of arugula, parsley, basil, cilantro, chives, tarragon, etc.

  • 1/ to 1 cup good quality olive oil

  • 1 to 2 tsp lemon zest (optional)


To make the sauce with a knife:

  1. Cut the garlic in half lengthwise and remove the green “sperm” or “sprout” that runs down the middle of the clove. Mince the garlic. Add a pinch of salt and using the back of your knife, mash the garlic into a paste.

  2. Mince (chop into small pieces) the capers with the anchovies (if whole) garlic, and lemon zest if using until a paste forms. You can also mash the garlic using a mortar and pestle. Place in a bowl large enough to make the sauce.

  3. Mince the herbs and add to the bowl.

  4. Whisk in the olive oil until you have the consistency you like starting with 1/2 cup. Stir well and season with salt to taste if needed.

  5. The salsa verde is best served room temperature. It freezes well. Try freezing in small portions like an ice cube tray so that you can thaw a small amount.

Pasta with Chard & Salsa Verde - serves 4 to 6

  • 1 box or bag of pasta of your choice

  • 2 bunches Swiss chard

  • 1/2 cup or more Salsa Verde

  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

  • Fresh cracked white or black pepper

To make the pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil for the pasta. Season the water with salt to taste like the sea.

  2. Remove stems from unwashed chard and reserve the stems to add to another recipe. Roll the leaves into a “cigar” and slice into thin ribbons. Place in a salad spinner or deep bowl with lots of water. Swish the chard around and allow it to float. The dirt will sink to the bottom.

  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water. When there is about six to eight minutes left, add the chard ribbons to the boiling water with the pasta. As soon as the pasta is done, drain and toss with the Salsa Verde and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese and the pepper and serve.

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