Salsa Verde, Italian Style


Salsa verde is extremely simple to make. The end result is a sauce with a distinctly flavorful punch. This example of an Italian green sauce is but one of many versions. Green sauces can be found in cuisines around the world: Italian pesto, Indian cilantro mint chutney, Mexican salsa verde…the list goes on.

Herbs are some of the first greens available in my garden come spring. Salsa verde announces the arrival of the long season of local produce ahead. It makes a great sauce for entertaining and goes well with just about anything off the grill, like chicken, pork, steak, eggplant, zucchini, or peppers.

Feel free to combine herbs or other green leaves of your choice. Chives, chervil, cress, celery, or sorrel leaves all make tasty additions. Don’t feel you have to limit yourself to this recipe.

Salsa Verde

Makes 3/4  cups


  • 2 cups, packed, leaves flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup, packed, basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup, packed, mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and chopped*
  • 1 ounce, 2 1/2 tablespoons, salted anchovies, rinsed and prepared, chopped*
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 ounces, 1/2 cup, quality olive oil, or to taste
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


To make with a mortar and pestle, place garlic with a bit of salt in the mortar. Mash to a paste. Add the anchovies and continue to pound to a mash. Add the capers and pound to a mash. Add the greens a little at a time and pound until they form a liquid mash. Continue adding and pounding until all of the greens are incorporated and a paste has formed. Stir in the vinegar, mustard, and then the oil. Add cracked pepper and salt to taste.

In a food processor, pulse chop in the following order: garlic, anchovies, capers, mustard, vinegar, and greens. Stir in the olive oil. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.

This sauce may be made one day in advance, covered in the refrigerator.

*Salted capers and salted anchovies can be substituted with brined capers and anchovies in oil. Use the best quality that you can find.

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