Lots and lots of Italian flat leaf parsley, lots of fresh basil and a good amount of fresh mint swirled together with capers, homemade mustard, white wine vinegar and your best olive oil. Easily made in 10-15 minutes, vegan Salsa Verde, Italian green sauce, makes a great complement to roasted vegetables. Lightly acidic from the capers and vinegar, Salsa Verde provides an excellent counter-point to the rich and juicy oven roasted spears of savory-sweet spring asparagus.
Salsa Verde w/ Roasted Asparagus was one of everyone’s favorite dishes from the recent Spring Greening cooking class. It makes a superb first course, a go-with-most-everything side dish and even a light and satisfying meal on its own.
The many ways with Salsa Verde
Enjoy Salsa Verde everywhere you enjoy pesto. A dollop here and a swirl there add the clean, bright taste of fresh herbs and Mediterranean flavors to any number of dishes.
- As a sauce with roasted vegetables, seafood and chicken.
- Tossed with pasta.
- In place of pizza sauce.
- Swirled into a bowl of vegetable soup, i.e., Carrot Top Soup.
- Stirred into or as a topping for hummus.
- Included in a lettuce wrap.
- Spread on bread in place of or in addition to mayonnaise.
- Added to an omelet or scrambled eggs.
- Thinned with a little more oil and vinegar for a quick vinaigrette for grain salads.
What other ways do you enjoy Salsa Verde or pesto?
A Sauce for Spring, Summer & Fall
The freshest flat-leaf parsley, basil and mint make for the brightest tasting Salsa Verde. I like to prepare it while the asparagus is roasting. Though, Salsa Verde does retain its fresh taste and bright color for a couple of days. And, really, I’ve still enjoyed it up to five days later as an herbal addition versus the main event.
Whether or not Salsa Verde freezes as well as pesto, the other green sauce does, I’m not yet sure. It just might. Anyone know? Then I can change the title of this section to “A Sauce for Every Season.”
Salsa Verde recipe was inspired by and adapted from a recipe in
The Café Cookbook by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.
Vegan and herb-based Salsa Verde (Italian green sauce) provides a bright and savory counter-point to sweet-tasting roasted asparagus. At its best eaten within two days, though still tasty up to five days.
Salsa Verde – Italian Green Sauce
Makes about ¾ cup
Start to Finish 10-15 minutes
2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, very lightly packed
1 cup fresh basil leaves, very lightly packed
½ cup fresh mint leaves, very lightly packed
2 tablespoons brined capers, drained
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard, preferably homemade or Dijon-style
¼ teaspoon salt
Dozen twists freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Rinse and dry the herbs.
- Pulse the herbs in a food processor till coarsely chopped.
- Add the capers, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
- With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil.
Roasted Asparagus & Kalamata Olives
For me, this roasting technique produces the most flavorful asparagus. And, perhaps best of all, the minimal amount of olive oil almost guarantees that your fire alarm won’t go off. Thank you, David Chang for sharing your technique of a very hot oven and just 1 teaspoon olive oil per pound of asparagus.
I prefer roasting thick spears of asparagus. They become oh so sweet and tender and crispy tipped. Thinner spears become even crispier though lack the juicy, meatiness of the thicker spears. Reduce the roasting time according to the thickness of your asparagus.
Serves 4-6 as a first course or side vegetable
Start to Finish: 25 minutes
2 pounds thick asparagus spears
2 teaspoons olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Optional: ¼ cup pitted and quartered Kalamata olives
- Heat the oven to 475 degrees.
- Wash and dry the asparagus.
- Use your hands to snap off the tough, woody ends from each spear. Trim the ends with a knife.
- Lay the spears in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with the oil, coarse salt and pepper. Shake the pan to evenly coat the asparagus. Scatter with the optional quartered Kalamata olives.
- Bake 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and give it a couple of shakes to reposition the asparagus. Bake 4 more minutes for thick spears; less for thinner spears.
- Serve drizzled with Salsa Verde.