Mojo Verde (Spanish Green Sauce)

published Jul 15, 2023
summer
Mojo Verde Recipe

An herbaceous and bracingly acidic condiment that can be used to top potatoes and marinate meat.

Makes1 1/2 cup

Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

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mojo verde in a bowl
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Food Styling Debbie Wee

If living in Spain taught me one thing about food, it’s that simple yet vibrant homemade sauces are the unsung heroes of the dining table. An arsenal of quick sauce recipes that keep in the fridge all week go a long way in elevating home cooking with minimal work. This summer, this knockout recipe for mojo verde will simplify and uplift both busy weeknight dinners and languid pool-side grill-outs alike. 

What Is Mojo Verde?

Mojo verde sauce originates from the Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa. Traditionally, it’s made with cilantro, cumin, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil and pounded in a mortar and pestle. It’s herbaceous, garlicky, and bracingly acidic, and perfect for brightening up any smoked and grilled food. 

How to Make Mojo Verde

In this variation, I’ve added fresh chives for even more allium flavor and flat-leaf parsley as a nod to mojo’s Mediterranean roots. Using a food processor or blender makes light work of this magical no-cook sauce. 

Olive oil, ever-ubiquitous in Spanish gastronomy, is the true star of this recipe. Before making anything where extra-virgin olive oil is a lead actor, I recommend tasting a small spoonful to ensure it has the right balance of spicy and fruity. Unlike wine, olive oil does not age well, so I also like to taste a little when I bring it home from the store to ensure it’s not rancid. 

How to Use Mojo Verde

Mojo verde’s uses will mirror those of Argentinian chimichurri and Mexican salsa verde.

Enjoy it with jammy eggs on sourdough toast, brothy beans, boiled potatoes, and grilled proteins such as squid or chicken.

You can even spoon it into the center of a bowl of hummus so you can scoop up the two together. Or use it as a cranberry sauce alternative for your Thanksgiving table, providing that much-needed acidic component. My family loves it folded into mayonnaise or sour cream to spread on a sandwich or wrap. 

It can even be used as a marinade for chicken, pork, or beef by setting aside a 1/2 cup of mojo verde and combining it with a 1/2 cup of your favorite dry white wine. This leaves plenty of leftover sauce to serve as a condiment alongside your main course. Marinate your proteins overnight, and discard the excess marinade before cooking. 

Intensely herbal and savory, mojo verde is the sauce I’m making a fresh batch of weekly and putting on everything. It really is so perfect every time.

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Food Styling Debbie Wee

Mojo Verde Recipe

An herbaceous and bracingly acidic condiment that can be used to top potatoes and marinate meat.

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Makes 1 1/2 cup

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium bunches fresh parsley

  • 2

    medium bunches fresh cilantro

  • 1 bunch

    fresh chives

  • 3

    large or 4 small cloves garlic

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons

    sherry vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or a blender as you complete it: Coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems of 2 medium bunches fresh parsley and 2 medium bunches fresh cilantro until you have 2 packed cups of each. Coarsely chop 1 bunch fresh chives until you have 1/4 cup.

  2. Add 3 large or 4 small peeled garlic cloves, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. If using a food processor, process the mixture (if using a blender, do long pulses instead), stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl or blender jar as needed, until the garlic and herbs are very finely chopped and the texture is like pesto, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

Recipe Notes

Using as a marinade: Mix 1/2 cup mojo verde with 1/4 cup dry white wine to make a marinade for chicken, beef, or pork.

Storage: Refrigerate an airtight container for up to 5 days.