In the world of meat-eaters, chimichurri sauce and beef is a match made in heaven. Paired together, the two form a perfect culinary experience. Basic chimichurri sauce is a balance of heat (red pepper flakes), acidity (red wine vinegar), and bitterness (parsley, oregano, and cilantro) – the perfect compliment to the concentrated savory (umami) flavour of beef. It can also serve as a marinade or a dressing for any vegetables, though it pairs best with grilled meats. On the nutrition side of taste, chimichurri sauce has microbiome benefits to boast of too.
With a whopping 8 cloves of raw garlic and 1/2 a medium onion, chimichurri sauce is a feast for your intestinal bacteria. Raw garlic is the most concentrated source of fructans, a prebiotic, topping the chart at 13.6 grams (average of multiple studies) per 100 gram portion (1,2). The recipe below uses 26 grams of garlic (8 large cloves), which provides 3.5 grams of fructans. Half a medium onion in this recipe contributes an additional 1.5 grams (1,2). Though a 1/3 cup serving of this sauce provides only 1 gram of prebiotics (the recommended daily amount is 10 grams), chimichurri sauce still contributes two prebiotic food sources that are difficult to consume raw (1,3). Other than garlic butter, hummus and salad dressings with garlic, guacamole, and unpasteurized fermented garlic, culinary sources of raw garlic in North America are lacking. Recipes with raw onion are not much more abundant. Chimichurri sauce offers another option for palatable ways to consume raw garlic and onions. Since chimichurri pairs well with all grilled meat, having it as a dietary staple could make it a significant source of prebiotics in the long run. This is a win-win for our tastebuds our gut microbes.
Though classic chimichurri sauce has red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes, I prefer it with white wine vinegar even when I’m having it on beef. I also prefer fresh chilis versus red pepper flakes. Feel free to adjust my version of this sauce to make it your own – or to use what is available at from the grocery store.
Prep time: 15 mins | Yield: 6 servings | Author: Sarah Campbell
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 medium onion, minced
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 small red Serrano chili or red jalapeño, minced
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, minced
- 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Combine vinegar, onions, garlic, and salt in a small bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup. Let sit for 5-10 to meld flavours.
- Meanwhile, mince the herbs and fresh chili finely with a knife, then add to the vinegar mixture and stir.
- Whisk in the olive oil with a fork; cover and allow to site at room temperature while steaks are cooking. Serve chimichurri on steak with a salad and roasted sweet potatoes and yams on the side for a complete meal that rocks the roof in nutrition and flavour!
1 serving equals 1/3 cup
As another option (not shown in photo), consider using half of this sauce as a steak marinade. In a glass container spoon the marinade over raw steaks; ensure all steaks are coated on both sides. Cover the glass container and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Warm to room temperature before grilling. Serve the remaining half of chimichurri sauce (reserved before marinating) overtop of the grilled steaks.
Marinating meat, especially red meat, before cooking in dry heat at high temperatures reduces the formation of advanced glycated end products, compounds that promote inflammation and oxidative stress.
1. Muir J et al. Fructan and free fructose content of common Australian vegetables and fruit. J Agric Food Chem 2007;55:6619-6627.
2. Muir J et al. Measurement of short-chain carbohydrates in common Australian vegetables and fruits by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). J Agric Food Chem 2009;57:554-565.
3.International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics: Prebiotics accessed on May 17, 2017. http://isappscience.org/prebiotics/.