It looks like pesto. It works like pesto. Or chimichurri.
Or any of our other favorite herb sauces to slather on everything grilled in summer–from steaks and salmon to a giant platter of grilled vegetables.
If you’re ready for a change up, it’s time to try chermoula.
A combination of fresh cilantro and parsley spiced with cumin, paprika, garlic and lemon juice blended with olive oil, it’s a classic Middle Eastern condiment with so many variations.
So, once you’ve made it following this recipe, play with the ingredients to make it your own way. Then use it every chance you get.
Chermoula with Herb Stems & Other GOod Stuff
There’s no finesse required to make chermoula. Just a whole bunch each of fresh cilantro and parsley jammed into your food processor.
Don’t toss out the herb stems, which are loaded with flavors. The food processor can handle pureeing them into a smooth paste. Just give it a little more time and a little bit of olive oil to get the job done.
Chermoula is also a great place to use up carrot tops, radish or turnip tops and tender lettuces before they wilt. Just add them into the blend and they’ll disappear into this spiced green puree.
You can make this chermoula sauce well in advance for your Labor Day cookout. Or a weeknight supper. Or a sandwich on the fly.
Grilled Vegetables with Chermoula
I’ve been making batches of chermoula regularly since spring when fresh herbs came into season. It’s terrific on grilled salmon. It so happens that seafood is the most traditional use for chermoula.
Then came the bounty of summer vegetables in my CSA. With all of our travels, there were times that the produce bins in both of my refrigerators were completely out of control.
So once again, chermoula served me well.
That’s when I started tossing anything and everything onto the grill. And really, what can you not grill? Most recently, I’ve discovered how much I enjoy grilled carrots, cauliflower, green beans and turnips.
So, for a potluck this weekend, I sliced up the zucchini and summer squash–of course–along with eggplant, onions, turnips and carrots.
The smaller items went on my new grill pan because nothing is worse than watching your carefully cooked vegetables slip through the grate. Larger slices of accommodating zucchini and summer squash went straight onto the grill.
I tossed all the grilled vegetable in a big bowl with the chermoula sauce and sea salt. Then I served the extra sauce on the side. Not only was it a generous platter to share, I had handled my CSA overload.
Better yet? Every single person at the party could eat this dish. I hope you have a party coming up soon to share this with good friends and neighbors.
Often mistaken for pesto, chermoula has a completely different flavor profile and contains no nuts. Credit for this recipe's ingredients goes to Middle Eastern cooking expert Claudia Roden. Spiced with cumin and paprika, bunches of cilantro and parsley get pureed into a lively herb sauce for serving with pretty much anything you can think of--from eggs to fish and steak to a big platter of grilled vegetables.
- 1 bunch cilantro with stems trimmed 1/2 inch
- 1 bunch fresh parsley with stems trimmed 1/2 inch
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika sweet or smoked
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- pinch cayenne
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fill the bowl of a food processor with the cilantro and parsley. Add the garlic, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, salt, cayenne and olive oil.
Turn on the machine and let it run until the ingredients blend into a coarse paste. Scrape down the bowl and continue to let it run--the stems take a little longer to puree--until it is as smooth as you like.
Taste and adjust for lemon juice, salt and cayenne to your liking. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.