salsa verde

The Last Greens for Salsa Verde

Summer is holding on. Or maybe, we are holding on to summer, not letting it go, unwilling to face the inevitable winter ahead.

The growing season extends with cooler-weather produce like beets, carrots, radishes, and herbs like parley, oregano and thyme, which enjoy the comfortable low 80s and 70s we’ve had the past few weeks. In an effort to preserve every bit of the season, we picked the last of the parsley plants {all 15 of them}, and a few big beets and carrots, and used the greens to make our version of Salsa Verde.

Nearing the end of October with early September weather makes me hope that Mother Earth forgot to schedule winter this year, and that we may just skip the bitter frosty temperatures. Another less optimistic possibility points to drought. Everything is crispy around here, {except the leftover nachos from the other night.} Leaves, grasses, bushes, shrubs, are a blow away from an instant fire hazard. We look at the sky, hands up in worship, for a drop of rain, I’ll even take snow if it’s the only option, something, anything to relive the anemic moisture levels hovering around.


I take advantage of the extended warm season and stock on homemade preserved foods from our garden and the bounty from local farmers. This salsa verde is one of my favorite additions to the bunch, as it adds the brightness of summer to any dish and to any future snowy day.

There are many variations of salsa verde or green sauce, and its history dates back centuries. Alan Davidson says in the Oxford Companion to Food, that in England “The earliest recipes or descriptions of the sauce called for a complex mixture of green herbs,” including parsley, thyme and sorrel. He also cites a German version, which mixes the blended green herbs with sour cream, yogurt or hard-boiled eggs.

salsa verde

Looking around other countries we see their own version of green sauce. Italy’s salsa verde usually calls for anchovies, capers, lemon and parsley {and most likely a lovely hand wave.} Mexico’s version has green tomatoes and peppers, together with the herbs. I would even group Cuban parsley mojo sauce in this bunch, a sauce of parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, Seville or bitter orange and oil; and the traditional Argentinian chimichurri, too.

salsa verde recipe

Even though the flavor profiles are different these are all green sauces, or salsa verde, and all use what is traditionally available in each area. For my version of the sauce, I’m using what is available in my garden and I tailor it to our taste using different elements from different sauces. We love garlic, cumin and paprika, so those go in as flavor busters to the greens. The orange and lemon juice together give a similar flavor to the Seville orange, and together with mustard help round the herbaceous green taste of the sauce. I also add water to help blend the greens and then add a mild olive oil to emulsify it all.

This sauce, and pesto, become lifesavers on busy days when I don’t have time to prepare an elaborate meal, I just boil pasta, quinoa, or bulgur, sauté vegetables and toss them all with a generous amount of sauce and have a delicious meal in minutes, without stressing out.

It’s also delicious on steamed or grilled potatoes, perfect for marinating meats or vegetables before grilling or roasting, or just slathered on toast with a fried egg on top.

~ Paula

Salsa Verde
Makes about 1 1/2 pints
I keep a stash of sauces in my freezer, in 4oz glass jars, which are easy to defrost by placing them in a bowl with warm water, or overnight in the refrigerator. Recipes like Bulgur and Lentil salad, or spring vegetable pasta, are a simple way to use this sauce, or any pesto, like a carrot green pesto

2 cups beet greens, or spinach
2 cups carrot greens
4 cups parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
The juice and zest of one orange and 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients, except oil, to the bowl of a food processor. Blend until fully chopped and incorporated.
Drizzle the oil, with the machine running until the greens are finely chopped and form a sauce.
***Store it in 4oz glass jars in the freezer for up to 6 months. Once out of the freezer, it will last a week in the refrigerator for a week. 

how to make salsa verde

beet greens and parsley

6 thoughts on “The Last Greens for Salsa Verde”

    1. Leslie! You’ll love using the greens for this sauce or the carrot green pesto. You can also sprinkled them in salads. The beet greens are great sautéed with garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes, or in soups like you’d use spinach…i’m hungry now!
      Let me know how it goes 🙂

Leave a Reply