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Easy Chimichurri Recipe From Costa Rica

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This Costa Rican chimichurri recipe combines fresh ripe tomatoes, white onion, cilantro and fresh lime juice to create a chunky sauce big on flavor and light on calories.

bowl of chimichurri sauce fro costa rica

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About This Costa Rican Chimichurri Recipe

This Costa Rican chimichurri sauce recipe is served with almost every meal possible in Costa Rica. It’s made from ingredients readily available year-round in Costa Rica (tomato, onion, cilantro, lime and salt) and adds a pop of flavor to almost any recipe.

Generally made fresh before serving, traditional chimichurri is as delicious on grilled meat as it is on top of nachos or fried plantains. The most important part of chimichurri, however, is the aesthetic. When created with fresh ingredients, the mix of the red tomato color and the green cilantro color dress up any dish as much visually as it does taste-wise.

lime juice with white onion, cilantro and onion chimichurri tico

At restaurants that serve bocas (small plates) many of the dishes will come with a small portion of chimichurri in a ramekin so you can add as much or as little as you like to your appetizer. In homes, there will often be a larger bowl of chimichurri that gets passed around.

This recipe is not spicy- it’s more similar to a Mexican pico de gallo than a salsa. It’s gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. Don’t confuse it with Argentine chimichurri, which uses more green fresh herbs and oil. Think fresh parsley, fresh oregano, olive oil, red wine vinegar, red onions, and red pepper flakes- much higher in saturated fat. It’s also a super easy chimichurri sauce but made in food processors. Here’s the easy recipe.

Other salsa recipes from Pura Vida Moms: 

Easy Chimichurri Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ripe red tomatoes, diced into 1/8″ cubes  (I use hothouse tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or more to taste)

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve at room temperature family-style on the table with a spoon, or atop your favorite Costa Rican recipe.

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Substitutions

This recipe is pretty simple and pretty standard. You can really use any type of tomato, I often use Roma tomatoes when I can’t get ripe hothouse tomatoes. This recipe really doesn’t work with canned tomatoes- I tried it once and it was just not good.

I also tried to use lemon juice once instead of fresh lime- no bueno. You could use the lime juice from the container like they sell in grocery stores, but the recipe just doesn’t taste the same.

Our Most Popular Costa Rican Recipes:

chimichurri sauce from costa rica with tomato, cilantro and white onion

Variations

Again- this is a traditional Costa Rican recipe and ticos are pretty staunch when it comes to traditional food. You really won’t find many variations on this traditional recipe. (I can’t think of any, in fact!)

Serving Suggestions

You can literally serve this with anything. However, there are some Costa Rican dishes that lend themselves more to a chimichurri accompaniment:

You wouldn’t serve this dish with an arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) or an arroz con camaron (shrimp and rice). It’s not traditionally served in restaurants with gallo pinto.  Not served with Costa Rican tamales really either.

chimichurri sauce from costa rica with tomato, cilantro and white onion

FAQ

What’s the difference between chimichurri and pico de gallo? – Pico de gallo will often have larger chunks of vegetables and a little less cilantro. Also, many pico de gallo recipes include jalapeno, which is not a traditional Costa Rican chimichurri ingredient.

Is this recipe healthy? – Yes! Super healthy, low fodmap food, a Blue Zone recipe, vegetarian and vegan.

Can I make this recipe ahead? – You can, and I think it stores well for up to a week. I keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Printable Recipe

Yield: 2 cups

Costa Rican Chimichurri Recipe

Lime juice with white onion, cilantro and onion chimichurri tico.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ripe red tomatoes, diced into 1/8" cubes  (I use hothouse tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or more to taste)

Instructions

    Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve at room temperature family-style on the table with a spoon, or atop your favorite Costa Rican recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 12Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 293mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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About the Author

Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

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4 Responses

  1. This is delicious! So easy and so fresh. Made it to go with some grilled chicken and we loved it. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Well, sorry to say but this is not Chimichurri, you have your sauces mixed up. This is a recipe for PICO DE GALLO!
    Get your facts straight before posting.
    Chimichurri sauce is green, made of parsley, olive oil, garlic, sometimes with cilantro, it comes from Argentina but is also popular in Costa Rica.

    1. Hi! This is Costa Rican chimichurri. We don’t eat the Argentine style in Costa Rica actually because, well, it’s Costa Rica. Also we do not eat pico de gallo in Costa Rica because that’s a Mexican dish. Each country has it’s own style of dish, and this is the Costa Rican style. Pura Vida! ~Christa

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, language and travel. I’m a Latina mom, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here.

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