Healthy Cooking: Transform fistfuls of parsley into a yummy summer sauce

Chimichurri, a simple summer sauce, makes your dinner simply delicious. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
Chimichurri, a simple summer sauce, makes your dinner simply delicious. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

Credit: Kellie Hynes

Credit: Kellie Hynes

My lockdown victory garden overflows with fresh herbs. I’ve gifted jars of pesto and bouquets of mint to everyone I’ve ever met. But I’m selfishly clinging to my flat-leaf parsley like it’s my last container of disinfecting wipes. Why? Parsley is the heart of chimichurri, the yummiest summer sauce I make. It tastes like magic, and by magic, I mean garlic and green grass. Chimichurri hails from Argentina, yet it only requires a few ingredients from your backyard or local market.

Start with two big bunches of parsley that have been relieved of their thicker stems. Toss the herbs in the bowl of a large food processor, along with a little fresh oregano and a lot of olive oil. Season it and give it a whirl. Traditionally chimichurri is hand chopped, which makes a beautiful sauce and also productively channels a lot of frustration. However, my current mood is mellow and I’m making approximately a million gallons of chimichurri in a single afternoon, so I have zero qualms about using the food processor.

You may be surprised to see a Healthy Cooking recipe that calls for a full cup of oil, no matter how heart-healthy it is. We get away with it in this recipe because we’re using most of the oil in the chimichurri marinade. Our steak will soak up all of the bright flavor, but only minimal amounts of fat. And that’s Healthy Cooking shock number two: We’re grilling red meat to accompany our chimichurri.

If you’re craving beef, flank steak is one of the healthiest cuts you can choose. It’s full of protein, B vitamins, and iron, with less fat than other steaks. In fact, flank steak is so lean, the overnight marinade is essential for cooking it up tender and juicy. If you don’t enjoy beef, chimichurri is also a perfect partner to grilled chicken, baked white fish, roasted carrots and fried eggs.

If you have bushels of parsley to spare, make as much chimichurri as you can. It will keep in the freezer for around three months, which means you can enjoy the flavors of fresh summer herbs long after the seasons have changed.

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Chimichurri Marinated Flank Steak. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
Chimichurri Marinated Flank Steak. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

Credit: Kellie Hynes

Credit: Kellie Hynes

Chimichurri Marinated Flank Steak
  • 5 ounces (about 2 bunches) flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
  • Remove the parsley and oregano stems from the leaves down and discard the stems. Place the parsley and oregano leaves, garlic, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes in the bowl of a large food processor. Run the food processor and drizzle 1/2 cup olive oil down the chute, pausing halfway to scrape down the sides, until the herbs are chopped and the ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Makes 1 cup of chimichurri.
  • Score both sides of the flank steak and place it in a glass baking dish. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup chimichurri in a small bowl. Reserve and refrigerate the remaining 1/2 cup chimichurri. Pour the marinade over the meat, making sure all of the meat is evenly coated. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Remove the steak from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Prepare the grill for direct heat. Use paper towels to wipe off the marinade and blot the flank steak dry. Discard the remaining marinade in the baking dish.
  • Grill the steak for 4 minutes per side, until the internal temperature measures 130-135 degrees for medium-rare. To serve, cut the steak crosswise against the grain, and garnish with reserved 1/2 cup chimichurri. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, including 2 tablespoons of chimichurri: 431 calories (percent of calories from fat, 64), 37 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 30 grams total fat (8 grams saturated), 111 milligrams cholesterol, 247 milligrams sodium.
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