Parsley, garlic and lemon are the ingredients that make up this easy gremolata recipe. This simple Italian condiment is a quick “flavor booster” to brighten up anything from grilled vegetables to seafood.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
It can turn a mediocre dish into something amazing. Use on grilled shrimp, steak, vegetables or fish to give them a boost of flavor. The bonus of this easy sauce, you likely have everything you need to make it.
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Why you should make this recipe
- Quick and easy – This simple Italian condiment comes together in under 10 minutes.
- Versatile – Use this gremolata recipe on everything from grilled fish to vegetables.
- Make ahead – You can make it a week in advance.
Easy gremolata sauce
Traditionally, gremolata is chopped by hand. If I’m making a small batch, enough for one dinner, this is the preferred method.
Chopping everything by hand allows you to control the texture of the parsley and garlic a bit better than a machine. All you need is a sharp chef’s knife and a cutting board.
If you are making a big batch of this gremolata recipe, the food processor makes quick work of it. Back in my restaurant and catering days, this was the way we made it.
It is less finessed, because you can’t control the blade as well as a knife, however, it is faster and easier. Also worth noting, if you aren’t confident with a knife yet or you have trouble with your grip, this is the way to go.
- Italian (flat-leaf) parsley – This herb does the heavy lifting in the recipe. Look for bright green parsley with leaves that aren’t drooping.
- Garlic – The other main flavor in the sauce. You’ll want fresh garlic, avoid garlic that is starting to sprout (that means it’s getting old).
- Lemon zest – We’re using the bright yellow part only, be sure to avoid the bitter pith (the white part under the skin).
- Olive oil – to make this into a sauce, and to extend the shelf life, use your olive oil of choice. If you like a fruity olive oil, I love this arbequina oil.
How to make gremolata
The parsley and garlic go into the food processor first. Pulse a few times to break them up, then pulse a bit more to get the mixture a bit finer.
Use a microplane to zest the lemon, add it to the processor. Give it a few more pulses with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a pinch of pepper. By making it into a “sauce”, this also extends the life of the gremolata.
How can I use this gremolata recipe?
There is no shortage of ways to use up this delicious sauce. Stir a spoonful into mayo to jazz up a sandwich, serve with roasted chicken and vegetables, add it to scrambled eggs or an omelet, or add to a bowl of pasta for a quick dinner.
- Side dishes – drizzle a few tablespoons of gremolata over my easy white beans and arugula or spinach artichoke pasta salad.
- Soups – swirl a spoonful into a bowl of Minestrone or Italian wedding soup.
- Main dishes – serve this sauce with roasted chicken and vegetables, lamb loin chops or baked fish.
Gremolata recipe FAQ’s
Yes! If you are making gremolata in advance, add olive oil and keep it in an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for about a week.
Absolutely. To make it last even longer, freeze it. Fill up ice cube trays for easy portions of gremolata and pop them out as needed. It’s a great time-saver and will brighten up meals for weeks.
No. It isn’t the same, but, if all you can find at your store is curly, go ahead with it. It won’t have the same oomph, as curly parsley doesn’t have as much flavor. It also traps a bit more dirt in it’s leaves, so make sure to wash it well.
Variations and substitutions
- It’s a great option for people who don’t like cilantro. Use it in place of chimichurri or a salsa verde. Add in a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- To change it up, use lime instead of lemon, add in scallions or a few basil leaves for a different flavor.
- You can omit the olive oil and use it as a “dry” condiment by sprinkling it over whatever you are serving.
Make a batch of this Italian flavor-booster and let me know how you used it!
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- 1 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley (tender stems ok, don't use the thicker part)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- zest of 1 - 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Chop parsley and garlic until almost minced.
- Zest lemon(s) and add to parsley and garlic. Gently mix to combine.
- Add olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, salt and pepper to parsley mixture.
- Stir to combine and taste. Adjust salt, add remaining lemon juice if desired.
- Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container for about a week.
To make in food processor:
- Add roughly chopped parsley, garlic and zest to the food processor and pulse until chopped.
- Add lemon juice, oil, salt & pepper.
- Pulse a few more times, until uniform but not a paste.
- Taste gremolata, adjust salt or lemon juice, if needed.
- Add a bit more oil to make it more of a sauce consistency.
This gremolata sauce recipe will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days, To make it last even longer, freeze it. Portion into ice cube trays and pop out a few tablespoons at a time to brighten the flavor of soups, vegetables and meat.
You can adjust the amount of garlic and lemon zest to suit your personal taste. If you prefer less garlic, use 1 clove instead of 2. If you like a very strong garlic flavor, choose 2 very fat cloves of garlic, or 3 smaller cloves.
Do you like it SUPER lemony? Add in extra lemon juice or lemon zest. You can tweak the quantities to make it EXACTLY as you like it.
You can also OMIT the olive oil and serve it as a dry condiment sprinkled on top of whatever you are serving.
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Serving Size:2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 38Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 266mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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