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Pesto-Style Salsa Verde

Yield: Yields 1 cup.

This smooth herb sauce is more like a pesto than a traditional salsa verde. It’s delicious with anything grilled: fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, beef, and even vegetables. I use red chile flakes for heat and round out that heat with freshly ground black pepper.


  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. dried red chile flakes
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. white-wine vinegar

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on eight servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 220
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 210
  • Fat (g): 23
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 94
  • Carbohydrates (g): 2
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 1


  • Heat the oven to 400ºF. Spread the almonds in a pie pan and toast the almonds in the oven until lightly golden, about 8 min. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water heavily (it should taste like sea water). Add the parsley and basil leaves to the pot and blanch for 1 min. Drain the leaves and immediately transfer them to a colander under cold running water or to an ice bath. When the leaves have cooled, squeeze them dry with your hands.
  • Put the toasted almonds, the blanched parsley and basil, the cilantro, garlic, chile flakes, 1/2  tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a blender or food processor. With the machine on, gradually pour the olive oil into the feed tube and process until the mixture becomes a thick purée. The salsa verde may be made to this point a day ahead and refrigerated.
  • Return the salsa verde to room temperature, if chilled, and stir in the  vinegar just before serving to prevent discoloration.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • Chayska | 12/20/2016

    Love it! This is one of my go-to recipes for company, in which case I use it with flap meat, skirt steak, flank steak, etc. It gets rave reviews to the point that new people who come to work where I do approach me saying they've heard about my great steak and can they have the recipe. In non-company situations, I've used it on chicken as well. I like being able to make it ahead of time, adding one final ingredient (vinegar) before serving, and one of the things I like best about the sauce is how well it keeps in the fridge. I have saved it for months and still had it be super tasty, albeit the colors may not be as vibrant as when fresh.

  • jlawson | 08/22/2008

    I love serving this dish for guests, because it's impressive, yet it allows me to prepare much of the meal ahead of time so that I don't spend all of my time in the kitchen. In the past, I've occasionally had to make this with a cut of meat my butcher calls "flap meat" (he says it's often used for fajitas), because skirt has not always been available. Both cuts of meat have turned out well. I always serve this in the summer months when juicy heirloom tomatoes are available, because they are such a great partner for the salsa verde. Also, I usually have a little of the salsa verde left over. I freeze it for future use on grilled swordfish steaks, and it's divine.

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