Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

green sauce with arugula & parsley

Not sure what it is, or why, but I can never seem to get enough green in my food.

I go through phases with ingredients (or entire cuisines) where I can’t come out of a grocery store without a certain thing.  I’ve been through avocado, poblano, blueberry, mushroom, kale, cauliflower.  There was the year or so I couldn’t stop cooking Indian-type flavors.

But the one thing I’m starting to think I’ll never grow out of is my yen — my need — for green things.

Red flavors?  Meh.  You can have your roasted red peppers, your cooked carrots, your marinara.  It’s all too sweet.  Gimme that green.  Talmbout parsley, arugula, asparagus, chard, broccoli, scallion.  If it’s got chlorophyll, I’m probably into it.

I spotted this beast of a sandwich on the delightful Lady and Pups, and I was super into it, even though I’d never peg myself for being into a Dagwood-type sandwich.  But come on: avocado, green sauce, sage pork?  It looks awesome, right?

We happened to be heading to a friend’s house for some cooking and Good Times (yay wine), and this looked promising.  A little deconstruction to make it gluten-free-friendly, and we were set.

green sauce with arugula & parsley

Overall, I was pleased, but that sauce!  Man, that sauce is a keeper.  It’s green from here to next week, but it’s also got enough anchovy in it to keep things interesting (yes it has a fair amount of anchovy and no you should not decrease it).

I made the sauce again a few days later, and tossed it with some roasted eggplant and sliced scallions.  Served it over quinoa, because protein.  The second time, I forgot to get capers, and please know that the capers are not optional.  It needs ’em.

green sauce with arugula & parsley


Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

Adapted from Lady and Pups

This stuff is spicy, green, and deep. Don't muck about with the recipe too much. Yes, your herbs must all be fresh. Don't bring any of that dried stuff to the party.

No one's gonna tell on you if you don't weigh your ingredients, but how are you cooking without a gram scale?


  • 30 grams parsley leaves (about 1 cup)
  • 30 grams baby arugula (about 1 cup)
  • 5 grams mint leaves (about 1/4 cup)
  • 5 grams oregano leaves (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 5 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped green chili of choice (I used Serrano)
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained (no need to rinse)
  • A few healthy grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • A 4-second pour of nice extra virgin olive oil, more or less


1. Pick the parsley, mint, and oregano from their stems (which are bitter and will only make you sad).

2. Cram all the herbs and the arugula into a li'l food processor (your big one is too big for this job, and will only make you sad).

3. Add the remaining ingredients, and give it all a whazz.

4. Scrape the sides as needed, and taste when it's all gotten pretty well mixed together. Does it need salt or maybe a squeeze of lemon? Add that. Want a thinner sauce? Add more olive oil.

5. Enjoy on darn near anything.

Roasted Delicata Squash with Avocado Sauce

Good lord, I love the colors this time of year.

There’s a whole lotta green still, but you turn a corner and WHAM, there’s the most brilliant orange lit up in the crisp sunshine.

If you happen to get my personal chef newsletter (ahem shameless plug), you saw that I featured pumpkins this month.  Such a novel idea this time of year; I’m so innovative.

And of course, because I got all into pumpkins, I had to cook some.  Running errands yesterday, I happened to park literally across the sidewalk from a small farmers market, where I saw the most adorable little Delicata squash.  Kismet.

Using the super-simple recipe for Avocado Sauce I recently developed for a client’s dinner party (I can never get enough avocado), the goat cheese still banging around in the fridge, and what I hope isn’t the last of my spicy globe basil, I had a Fall Fantasie on my plate, all orange and green and golden brown.

There happened to be both hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds in the pantry, either of which would have been equally good here.  I chose hazelnuts because I am a creature of free will, and for no other reason.  Yes, I dropped on a few miserly drops of truffle oil.  It didn’t need it, but it did gild the lily.

This dish is so pretty and so flavorful, I can see a long tray of it served at Thanksgiving, but it’s certainly nutritious enough for everyday dining.  Don’t forget to serve it with a little salad and some crusty bread.

Roasted Delicata Squash with Avocado Sauce

Yield: 4 servings, plus extra Avocado Sauce

If you tend to have sensitive skin like I do, you might want to consider donning a pair of rubber or latex gloves while preparing raw winter squash. Delicata might not cause the same reaction, but after cutting a butternut years ago and dealing with "Elmer's glue hands" for a week, I don't take any chances.


    For the Squash:
  • 2 Delicata squash (look for ones that have more orange or yellow color to them)
  • 2 tablespoons softened bacon fat, butter, olive oil, or a combination
  • Salt and black pepper, as needed
  • 5 to 10 bay leaves (optional)
  • For the Avocado Sauce:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small shallot
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • Water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • To finish:
  • Goat cheese (4 to 6 ounces should do it for 4 servings)
  • Toasted and chopped hazelnuts (about 1/4 cup)
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Truffle oil (optional)


For the Delicata Squash:

1. Preheat oven to 375º F, and position a rack in the middle.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional, but absolutely prevents any sticking).

3. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds (either roast those separately or discard). Halve the squash with a diagonal cut, and then again, cutting each squash into 8 long triangles. You can, of course, cut it any way you like, as long as the pieces are about the same size.

4. Put the squash on the prepared pan, and rub the pieces with the softened bacon fat (or whatever you're using) until evenly coated. Sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper. Scatter the bay leaves around the squash.

5. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, or until browned on the edges and the flesh is soft (check by piercing with a sharp knife; it should meet no resistance). Let cool slightly.

6. While the squash roasts, prepare the Avocado Sauce, and toast and chop the hazelnuts.

For the Avocado Sauce:

1. Roughly chop the avocado and shallot. Purée with 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a small food processor, scraping the sides as needed.

2. While the processor is still running, drizzle in the melted butter. If the sauce looks very thick, add water by tablespoons as needed to thin.

3. The sauce will taste a little flat and tart at this point. Sample it, and add salt, pepper, and/or additional lemon juice to taste. Add a spoonful of crème fraîche or sour cream if you have it, and the mood strikes you.

4. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. You may need a spatula to force it through. If making a day or so in advance, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. If you want a warm sauce, or if it becomes too thick in the fridge, gently heat it in a small saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave on short bursts.

To finish:

1. Put a few pieces of squash on a plate. Spoon some avocado sauce over the top, and crumble the goat cheese over that. Scatter the hazelnuts and basil leaves (torn into small pieces if large) around the plate, and drizzle with olive oil if you like.

2. If using truffle oil, carefully drop on a very few drops (only a VERY FEW please!). The focus isn't truffle here, so please use it judiciously. I'm talking 4 or 5 drops on the whole plate. It's potent stuff.

Salsa Verde

in situ

This sauce is something I mentioned in passing ages ago, but I assume nobody took much notice of it then.  And honestly, I almost forgot about it myself.

Flipping through my omnibus notebook now and then, I’d notice the quickly scribbled recipe – a vague list of ingredients, really – and remember how good it was.  I’d then remind myself that I should really collect the recipe gems out of that notebook at some point (which I will probably never do).  And then I’d proceed to go about my day, tra la la, recipes forgotten and languishing.

sauté some red cabbage with red onion and salsa verde

But in the span of the last week or so, I somehow managed to accumulate an embarrassment of herbs: basil, chives, dill, thyme, mint, and four (four!) bunches of parsley.  Clearly, some sort of fridge-cleaning pesto was in order.  And lucky me, I had just seen that salsa verde “recipe” again.

sear some gulf shrimp
after peeling: ghost shrimp

Originally inspired by the brilliance that is Ideas In Food, it’s an Italian-style salsa verde, parsley-forward, thickened with bread and spiked with vinegar, and not a lick of olive oil.  The result is a bright, punchy sauce that goes fantastically with eggs, grains, vegetables, and just about everything else I’ve slathered it on.

mix them together

I suppose you could throw in some olive oil if you really had your heart set on it, but the beauty of this sauce is its crisp freshness.  Oil, I think, would weigh it down, deaden the clean flavors.  Fat carries flavor, yes; but sometimes flavor is already there in abundance and needs no outside help.

add one of these

This is one of those play-it-by-ear recipes. This may terrify you, or excite you. I am in the latter camp. Measurements are all approximate, based on what I used, which was based on what was kicking around in my fridge.  Use whatever you have, or whatever you like.  It’s your sauce.

salsa verde on top before serving

Salsa Verde

Inspired by Ideas In Food

For the fresh herbs, I used: 1 large bunch parsley (picked from the stems, please), 1/3 cup mint, 10-15 chives, 2 tablespoons basil, 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, and 1 tablespoon dill. And I deeply regretted that I didn't have any cilantro. I understand salsa verde is traditionally made with mostly parsley, but let's not stand on ceremony.

Me, I like this sauce with a pretty decent heat level, provided here by half a marzano chile. Remember, every chile is different, and you can't remove it once too much has been added in. Start with a little, and add more as you like.

If you don't have panko, use slices of whatever bread tastes good (crusts removed). I always have panko, and would rather use my bread to accompany dinner instead of using it as an ingredient.


  • 1/3 cup panko, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • About 3 cups mixed fresh herbs, loosely packed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Fresh chile to taste, chopped
  • 1-3 anchovy fillets, to taste
  • About 1/4 cup water, or as needed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Mix 1/3 cup panko with the apple cider and sherry vinegars. Stir in enough water (2-4 tablespoons) to make a slightly-thick paste. Set aside.

2. In a small food processor (or mortar and pestle), purée the herbs with the scallions, garlic, chile, and anchovy. Scrape down the sides of the processor workbowl.

3. Add about half of the vinegar-panko goo, and 2 tablespoons of water. Purée again briefly, and check the consistency. If you'd like it thinner, add more water. If you'd like it thicker, add more panko (vinegared, or plain). Season with a pinch or two of salt and some black pepper.

4. Give it another whizz, then taste. The vinegar flavor should be very present, but not overwhelming. Correct the seasoning as needed with more vinegar-panko goo, chile, salt, and/or pepper. Thin as needed with more water, or thicken with more panko. Add some more herbs if you need to. It'll taste okay at this point, but you should really let it stand at least 1 hour at room temperature before using. Store in the refrigerator with a little olive oil drizzled on top to help keep the color fresh and green (or use it all up in a few days, like I do).