Learn to make Gremolata, a zesty Italian condiment that always adds fresh, vibrant flavor to seafood, chicken, steak, veggies, and pasta. All you need is fresh parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Bonus: customize it with more add-ins or use olive oil to transform it into a marinade!
A super simple 3-ingredient condiment with tons of bright and vibrant flavor? Sign me up!
The simplicity of this Gremolata recipe may take you by surprise but it’s precisely that! Fresh parsley, lemon zest, and garlic are blended together to create a fresh, zesty, and lively condiment. Add a spoonful to just about anything, from osso buco to lemon pasta to roasted broccoli!
The beauty of this homemade gremolata sauce is that it’s completely customizable. Take it up a notch with add-ins, like citrus zest, parmesan cheese, or red pepper flakes, or transform the herby garnish into a delicious marinade for shrimp skewers, grilled chicken, and salmon with just a small amount of olive oil. What’s not to love about gremolata?
What is gremolata?
At the core of every traditional Italian gremolata recipe is lemon zest, garlic cloves, and fresh parsley. This refreshing seasoning mixture is customarily added to osso buco, a Milanese braised veal shank dish, for a bright finishing flavor and garnish.
Nevertheless, you can use gremolata to enhance the flavor of so many recipes. It’s perfect with simple sous-vide meats, particularly rack of lamb, filet mignon, pork chops, and chicken. Mix it with olive oil and it becomes a fantastic marinade for vegetables, shrimp, and seafood.
Gremolata vs chimichurri:
What’s the difference? For one, they originated in two different regions of the world. Gremolata is from Italy and chimichurri is said to have originated in Argentina and Uruguay.
The most significant difference between the two are the ingredients. Chimichurri is similar to gremolata but made with vinegar, chili pepper flakes, and sometimes capers or anchovies for added tang and spice.
Gremolata vs. pesto:
I like to think of gremolata as lightened-up pesto! Pestos are made with herbs (usually basil), oil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s not quite as simple as gremolata but still a delicious Italian condiment nonetheless.
What do you need to make gremolata?
You won’t usually find a gremolata recipe with a long list of ingredients and this one is no different. All you need are 4 fresh and flavorful herbs and aromatics:
- Lemon zest
- Garlic cloves
- Olive oil (optional)
How to make gremolata sauce:
This sauce can be made by hand or in a food processor:
To make it by hand, you’ll first need to finely chop the parsley, zest the lemon, and mince the garlic. Combine all three in a small bowl and season with a pinch of kosher salt.
You can leave it like this to use as a condiment and as a garnish, or stir in olive oil to thin the mixture out into a marinade.
To make in a food processor, place unchopped herbs, whole garlic cloves, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse until everything is finely chopped and combined. To make the mixture into a marinade, add olive oil to the mix while pulsing.
How to use gremolata:
Gremolata is perfect on a traditional Osso Bucco but also goes well with a long list of other recipes, like:
- Steak: Add a spoonful to a Classic Steak Diane or flank steak for added garlicky goodness.
- Lamb: Instead of peanut sauce, serve these grilled lamb chops with gremolata.
- Grilled or roasted vegetables: Potatoes, asparagus, squash, zucchini, and cauliflower are great options.
- Soups and stews: Stir a spoonful of sauce into hot soups and stews, like minestrone and seafood stew.
- Risotto: Swirl it into a cooked risotto or add a dollop on top to finish it with bold flavors.
- Pasta: Toss freshly cooked pasta with olive oil and gremolata.
- Eggs: Serve with scrambled eggs and omelets.
This basic 3-ingredient recipe has plenty of room for add-ins and substitutions. Use any of these suggestions to spruce up your sauce:
- Orange, grapefruit, or lime zest
- Cilantro, basil, and mint
- Minced shallot
- Minced anchovy
- Grated parmesan
- Pine nuts
- Red pepper flakes
How long does gremolata last?
- If you made a simple mixture of herbs, garlic and zest, it’s best to serve it right away. However, if you add olive oil, it will last much longer. Pour the liquid into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Can gremolata be frozen?
- Yes! Make the gremolata with olive oil and then freeze the sauce in ice cube trays. Whenever you want to brighten up a dish, simply grab a few cubes and add them in.
If you loved this easy gremolata recipe, I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished sauce and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
More sauces and condiments:
- ¾ cup parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- 3 cloves garlic
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Finely chop the parsley, zest the lemon, and mince the garlic. Combine all three in a small bowl and season with a pinch of kosher salt.
- Place herbs, whole garlic cloves, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse until everything is finely chopped and combined. Season with a pinch of kosher salt.