Salsa Verde (Peruvian Green Sauce)

This vibrant green cilantro-based sauce is simple to make and pairs well with rice, fish, chicken and other meats. It can also be used as a flavor boost for soups and sauces. I was first introduced to this sauce by my neighbor, an anthropology professor who had lived in Peru.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde Ingredients

Makes about 3/4 cup

Prep time
5 – 10 minutes

mini food processor, food processor, or blender. In the countryside of Peru, it is made in a mortar and pestle.

1 large bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stems (approx. 1 -1 1/2 cups packed)
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (approximately 2 medium limes)
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic
1 hot pepper (or more to taste) , seeds and stem removed. Jalapeños work fine.
black pepper to taste (I use 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper)
salt to taste (I prefer Kosher salt and use 1/2 teaspoon)

1. Wash and coarsely chop the cilantro leaves and stems.
2. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor or blender a few seconds until smooth. Do not over-process.
3. Taste the sauce and add hot peppers, black pepper or salt as needed.

The sauce tastes best when fresh, but can be stored for up to two weeks refrigerated in a covered container. If freezing the sauce, do not heat to thaw.


10 Responses to “ Salsa Verde (Peruvian Green Sauce) ”

  • Denice Militello

    If you love the fresh taste of cilantro, you will love this green sauce. It is so delicious on grilled shrimp or drizzled on mussels , clams or seared scallops.
    I also like to dip corn chips into it or spoon some over rare grilled steak or fajitas……..I’m getting hungry!

  • Buu Linh Topolosky

    thank you for the easy recipe! i am going to make some lomo saltado this week 😉 and this looks like it’ll go great with it.

  • Nora Benikhelef

    You will love this sauce and be hooked forever. I tried it in a Peruvian chicken place few years ago and it reminded me of my childhood.
    Those that are into a Mediterranean type of food ( Algerian, Morroccan or Tunisien) just add paprika and cumin and use it to marinate fish for baking or grilling.

  • Docter Evil

    I will harness this sauces tastieness and use it to rule the world!!! Mwa ha ha!!!

  • Olivia

    I read another recipe that called for mayonnaise? Anyone ever try it with mayo??

    Roberta’s Reply: If the recipe calls for mayonnaise, it isn’t the same sauce. I think that is a sauce called Aji. The draw back to mayo is it is very high in calories and in my opinion tends to dull the fresh lime and cilantro flavors.

  • kharol

    does anyone know of a similar sauce that uses lettuce? there’s a great Peruvian restaurant back in CA that had this type of sauce. they wouldn’t give me the recipe and there aren’t any Peruvian restaurants out here in Louisiana

    Roberta’s reply:That might be a different sauce called Aji sauce which is also delicious, but a much heavier sauce because it is often made with mayonnaise. Aji has lettuce in it too. I this green sauce version a lot because it is so flavorful but very light, although the Aji is nice treat too.

  • Clarence A

    I know its not traditional but ive been experimenting with the addition of white wine and grated parm cheese. A bolder taste but great with chips.

  • Miamimarvel

    The green sauce becomes creamer as it is blended more. Remember blended oil becomes mayonnaise. The addition of mayonnaise is done by those that want to avoid the blending process but still get the creamy mayonnaise. I rather blend.

  • reinadelmar

    In my humble opinion, mixing this sauce with a bit of good mayonnaise might make a nice sandwich spread. But I agree, it is awesome and so healthful just the way it is, there is really no need to “adulterate” it..:)

  • Barbara

    Every one Loves this Salsa,

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