Gremolata (Italian Herb Condiment)

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Gremolata is a vibrant, fresh Italian condiment that instantly elevates any dish with its zesty lemon, aromatic parsley, and garlic blend. It’s perfect for adding a burst of flavor to meats, vegetables, and pasta!


gremolata served in a white bowl with a spoon in it


 

With its zesty, herb-infused flavors, this Italian condiment compliments even the simplest of dishes. Bold garlic and lemon flavors are mixed with parsley to create an irresistible green sauce. Other delicious green dips, sauces, or dressings to try out include Green Goddess Dressing Recipe, Zhoug, Basil Pesto, and Garlic Scape Pesto.

Recipe Highlights: Gremolata

Cultural Influence: Classic Italian Condiment

Primary Cooking Technique: Chopping and Mixing

Suitable for: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

Dominant Flavor Profile: Fresh, Zesty, and Garlicky

Skill Level Required: Beginner-Friendly


Why You’ll Love this Gremolata

Burst of Freshness: Gremolata adds a vibrant, fresh flavor to any dish. With its combination of parsley, lemon, and garlic you’ll turn any protein into a refreshing flavor-packed meal.

Versatile Use: This condiment can enhance a variety of meals. From grilled meats and fish to roasted vegetables and soups, it’s a great way to elevate flavor.

Simple and Quick: With just a handful of ingredients and a few minutes of preparation, you can create a flavorful addition to your condiments menu.

Healthy and Natural: Made with fresh herbs and natural ingredients, gremolata is a healthy choice. It’s an easy way to avoid the added preservatives or artificial flavors you might find in some other dressings and condiments.


Key Ingredients

gremolata ingredients: parsley, lemon, salt, garlic, and olive oil
  • Flat leaf parsley: Fresh parsley adds a vibrant color and herbaceous flavor. To keep your parsley fresh longer, store it in a glass of water in the fridge, like a bouquet of flowers, and cover it with a plastic bag.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic provides a robust, savory kick that complements the freshness of the parsley. For an even distribution of flavor, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt to form a paste before adding it to the gremolata.
  • Lemon zest and juice: The zest and juice add a bright, citrusy tang that balances the flavors beautifully. Use a microplane to zest the lemon finely, and roll the lemon on the countertop before juicing to get the most juice out.
  • Olive oil: High-quality olive oil brings a smooth texture and rich flavor, tying all the ingredients together. Use extra virgin olive oil for its superior flavor and health benefits, and whisk it in slowly to emulsify and achieve a creamy consistency.
  • Salt: A touch of salt enhances the natural flavors and rounds out the taste of the gremolata. Opt for kosher salt for a more subtle and even seasoning compared to table salt.

How to Make Gremolata

Step 1

Add parsley, garlic, and lemon zest in the food processor and spin a few time first for a coarse chop.

pulsing parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in food processor

Step 2

After a somewhat finer chop (not too fine), empty into a bowl and add lemon juice, salt, and olive oil and mix well.

add olive oil and lemon juice to gremolata mix

Step 3

After mixing all ingredients, taste to adjust flavors. Then serve.

final gremolata in white bowl

What To Serve Gremolata With

Traditionally, gremolata is served with ossobuco, an Italian veal dish. However, you can use it to top grilled meats such as spatchcock chicken or grilled lamb chops, roasted vegetables as well.


Gremolata vs Chimichurri

Don’t know which condiment is more suitable for the meal you’re preparing? Let’s take a look at the differences between gremolata and chimichurri.

Origin and Cultural Background

  • Gremolata: Originating from Italy, gremolata is a traditional accompaniment for dishes like osso buco. It’s a simple mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, reflecting the Italian preference for fresh, bright flavors.
  • Chimichurri: Hailing from Argentina, chimichurri is a staple condiment for grilled meats, especially steak. It showcases the bold and vibrant flavors favored in South American cuisine.

Ingredients

  • Gremolata: Consists of flat leaf parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. Some variations may include lemon juice and olive oil, but the classic version is dry.
  • Chimichurri: Typically made with parsley, garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. It often includes red pepper flakes for a bit of heat and sometimes other herbs like cilantro.

Texture and Consistency

  • Gremolata: A coarse, oily or dry herb mixture with a bright, zesty flavor profile. It’s meant to be sprinkled on dishes just before serving.
  • Chimichurri: A thicker, oily sauce that can range from finely chopped to more of a puree, depending on preparation. It’s designed to be both a marinade and a condiment.

Usage

  • Gremolata: Primarily used as a garnish to add a burst of freshness and flavor to rich, hearty dishes such as braised meats or roasted vegetables.
  • Chimichurri: Versatile as both a marinade for grilling meats and a sauce served alongside. It pairs particularly well with beef but can enhance chicken, fish, and vegetables as well.

Flavor Profile

  • Gremolata: The combination of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest provides a clean, bright, and slightly robust flavor that cuts through rich dishes.
  • Chimichurri: Offers a more complex and bold flavor with the tanginess of vinegar, the earthiness of oregano, and the heat from red pepper flakes, balanced by the freshness of parsley and garlic.

gremolata served in a white bowl with lemon slices in background

Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

  • Fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon zest are essential for the best flavor. Avoid dried or pre-minced ingredients.
  • Chop the parsley as finely as possible to ensure an even distribution of flavors. Use a food processor to quickly and evenly chop the parsley. Pulse it a few times rather than running continuously to avoid over-processing.
  • Only zest the yellow part of the lemon skin, avoiding the bitter white pith underneath. Use a microplane grater for the finest zest. If you don’t have one, a vegetable peeler followed by a fine chop works too.
  • Gremolata is best used fresh, but it can be made a few hours in advance.
  • Feel free to experiment with additional ingredients like adding herbs or spices to suit your dish. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat, or swap lemon zest with orange zest for a sweeter note.

gremolata in white bowls

Variations and Substitutes

Herb Variations

Basil Gremolata: Substitute parsley with fresh basil for a sweeter, aromatic twist.

Cilantro Gremolata: Use cilantro instead of parsley for a vibrant, slightly citrusy flavor perfect for pairing with Mexican or Asian dishes.

Mint Gremolata: Replace parsley with mint for a refreshing, cool variation that’s great with lamb or desserts.

Garlic Alternatives

Roasted Garlic: Use roasted garlic instead of raw for a milder, sweeter flavor.

Shallots: Substitute minced garlic with finely chopped shallots for a subtler, onion-like taste.

Citrus Substitutes

Orange Zest and Juice: Swap lemon zest and juice with orange for a sweeter, less tart gremolata.

Lime Zest and Juice: Use lime zest and juice instead of lemon for a sharper, more tangy variation.

Oil Options

Avocado Oil: Replace olive oil with avocado oil for a richer, creamier texture.

Grapeseed Oil: Use grapeseed oil for a lighter, more neutral-flavored gremolata.


gremolata served in a large white bowl

Storage

Refrigeration: Store gremolata in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Pro Tip: To prevent browning, cover the top of the gremolata with a thin layer of olive oil before sealing the container. This creates a barrier against air and helps preserve the bright green color.


Freezing: While gremolata is best fresh, it can be frozen for longer storage. Freeze gremolata in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.

You can also spoon gremolata into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once solid, transfer the gremolata cubes to a freezer bag. This allows you to thaw just the amount you need.


Bringing to Room Temperature: For the best flavor, bring refrigerated or frozen gremolata to room temperature before using. If you’re in a hurry, place the container of gremolata in a bowl of warm water to speed up the process.

Make sure to place a small piece of paper towel in the container with the gremolata to absorb any excess moisture.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the traditional use of gremolata?

Gremolata is traditionally used as a garnish for osso buco, an Italian braised veal shank dish. It adds a fresh, zesty flavor that complements the rich, slow-cooked meat.

Can I make gremolata ahead of time?

Yes, you can make gremolata ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. However, for the freshest flavor, it’s best to prepare it just before serving.

What dishes can I use gremolata on besides osso buco?

Gremolata is a versatile condiment that can be used on grilled meats, fish, roasted vegetables, soups, stews, and even pasta. It adds a bright, fresh flavor to many dishes.

How much gremolata should I use?

Typically, a tablespoon of gremolata per serving is sufficient to add a burst of flavor to your dish. Adjust according to your taste preferences.

Is gremolata suitable for a vegan diet?

Yes, the traditional gremolata recipe is vegan as it contains only herbs, garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Always check ingredient labels if you’re adding any variations.


Other Condiments to Try:


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gremolata served in a white bowl
4.67 from 6 votes

Gremolata Recipe (Italian Lemon Parsley Condiment)

An Italian herby and tangy condiment or sauce used on chicken, meat, seafood, or pasta.
Prep: 5 minutes
Servings: 6
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Equipment

  • Food Processor

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups Flat leaf parsley           
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice
  • cup Olive oil
  • ¼ tsp Salt

Instructions 

  • Chop the parsley in a food processor.
  • Then add the garlic and the zest of lemon and turn the food processor a few more times.
  • Transfer to a bowl and mix with the juice of lemon, olive oil, and salt.

Video

Notes

Fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon zest are essential for the best flavor. Avoid dried or pre-minced ingredients.
Keep parsley fresh longer by storing it in a glass of water in the fridge, covered loosely with a plastic bag.
Chop the parsley as finely as possible to ensure an even distribution of flavors. Use a food processor to quickly and evenly chop the parsley. Pulse it a few times rather than running continuously to avoid over-processing.
Mince the garlic finely to avoid large, overpowering chunks. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the garlic while chopping. This helps break down the garlic into a paste and enhances its flavor.
Only zest the yellow part of the lemon skin, avoiding the bitter white pith underneath.
Lemon juice adds a fresh, tangy flavor but too much can overpower the dish. Start with half the lemon juice, taste, and then add more if needed to suit your preference.
Prepare gremolata up to a day ahead and store in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before serving to enhance its flavors.
Feel free to experiment with additional ingredients like adding herbs or spices to suit your dish. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat, or swap lemon zest with orange zest for a sweeter note.

Nutrition

Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Shadi HasanzadeNemati

I'm here to show you how to make delicious Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food at home. My easy to follow recipes will bring exciting new flavors to your table!

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6 Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Strange. I made this according to the recipe. It was was good but somewhat bitter. Could it be the flat leaf parsley?