Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Verde)

This delicious Peruvian Green Sauce is fresh, vibrant and fabulous, drizzled on anything from the grill. It’s also great with potatoes, rice, veggies…

I haven’t shared this with you, but we’ve been on the road again.Well, not literally, but for the past few months I’ve been fascinated with Peruvian cuisine and have had lots of fun traveling (in a culinary sense) to this beautiful country on the western coast of South America – all while hanging out in my little North Carolina kitchen! And this Peruvian Green Sauce is one of the delicious results!

Peruvian Green Sauce

A very unique culinary culture

It started with an interesting article I read about Peru and it’s unique culinary culture. The article pointed out that, although Peru is a South American country boasting a rich gastronomic history that dates back to the Incas and Spanish conquerers, it’s also been greatly influenced by Asian cuisine.

Wait a minute, Asian? Yes Asian!

The Asian impact occurred back in the mid 19th century when huge waves of laborers from China and Japan were brought in to work the Peruvian cotton and sugar cane plantations. Despite these Far Eastern immigrants trying (quite fervently) to conserve their cultural identity, there was eventually a blending and fusion of cuisines. Today you’ll find wonderful dishes with indigenous Latin American ingredients like avocados , sweet potatoes, cumin, chili powder and coriander combined with classic Asian ingredients like ginger, soy and scallions. For me, this has been an amazing discovery of a new flavor profile that’s bursting with bright, fresh flavor.

Peruvian Green Sauce - a fresh, vibrant sauce that's delicious drizzled on anything from the grill. Also great on potatoes, rice, drizzled on black beans as a dipping sauce for shrimp.... thecafesucrefarine.com

I’ll be sharing several delicious Peruvian-inspired recipes over the next few weeks, starting today with this fabulous Peruvian Green Sauce, also known as Aji Verde. Peruvian restaurants have made this vibrant  sauce popular here in the States and often serve it with spit-roasted or grilled chicken. It’s made with garlic, lime juice, lots of fresh herbs, spicy peppers and a generous scoop of mayonnaise. Everything’s pureed together in a blender or food processor. The result?  Out of this world deliciousness!

MY OTHER RECIPES


Peruvian Green Sauce - a fresh, vibrant sauce that's delicious drizzled on anything from the grill. Also great on potatoes, rice, drizzled on black beans as a dipping sauce for shrimp.... thecafesucrefarine.com

An incredibly versatile sauce

Obsessed. Okay, I admit it, I’ve been drizzling it on everything – chicken, pork, steak, rice, etc. I’ve served it as a dipping sauce for shrimp, added a scoop to black beans to enhance their flavor, and even drizzled it over baked potatoes, as a flavorful alternative to sour cream. It keeps well for 5-7 days in the fridge, although I find it never lasts that long. As soon as the jar is empty, I’m ready to make another batch.

Peruvian Green Sauce - a fresh, vibrant sauce that's delicious drizzled on anything from the grill. Also great on potatoes, rice, drizzled on black beans as a dipping sauce for shrimp.... thecafesucrefarine.com

A secret ingredient

There are lots of recipes online for Peruvian Green Sauce, but I was inspired by one shared on Serious Eats. I added my own touches with fresh basil and ginger which create an additional layer of vibrant flavor. Most recipes for Peruvian Green Sauce call for Aji amarillo peppers, which are a yellow variety of chili peppers commonly grown in South America with a distinct flavor and medium heat. Aji amarillo peppers are difficult to find here in the United States but Aji Amarillo Paste (which is just boiled, blended fresh aji amarillo peppers) is readily available at Latin and Mexican markets as well as online.

I’ve made the sauce with and without the pepper paste and it definitely adds a touch of wonderful flavor, although it’s not absolutely necessary. If you don’t use the Aji Amarillo Paste, I’d recommend adding a little extra jalapeño. If you decide to order a jar, it keeps well in the fridge and can even be frozen for longer storage (just thaw slightly, scoop out the amount you need, then re-freeze).

Peruvian Green Sauce

Trust me, you want this beautiful, green sauce in your life. It’s the perfect way to add a little pizzazz to your summer cooking. You’ll love it drizzled over anything from the grill, and will find lots of other ways to use it. It’s the perfect finishing touch on these Peruvian Grilled Chicken Skewers.

And when you serve this Peruvian Green Sauce, you get to take an exotic little trip without ever leaving home! Buen provecho! (means “bon appetit” in Spanish and is a common greeting at Peruvian tables.)

Café Tips for making this Peruvian Green Sauce

  • Jalapeños are unbelievably variable in heat. I’ve had ones lately that haven’t been any hotter than a bell pepper and then some that have a lot of heat. I suggest starting with 1/2 pepper. Save the seeds and inner ribs. Take a taste and if you need more heat after pureeing the ingredients, add the seeds and ribs and/or add the second jalapeño.
  • Aji Amarillo paste can be found at Latin or Mexican markets or Aji Amarillo Paste. If you can’t find it and/or don’t want to order it, you can make this sauce with just the jalapeños. I would add a little bit more since you’ll be missing the heat from the Aji Amarillo paste.

What I used to make and serve this Peruvian Green Sauce

                            

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Peruvian Green Sauce

Peruvian Green Sauce - a fresh, vibrant sauce that's fabulous drizzled on anything from the grill. t's also great with potatoes, rice, drizzled on black beans as a dipping sauce for shrimp....

5 from 7 reviews

Peruvian Green Sauce – a fresh, vibrant sauce that’s fabulous drizzled on anything from the grill. t’s also great with potatoes, rice, drizzled on black beans as a dipping sauce for shrimp, over chicken or just about anything!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 22 Servings
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Peruvian

Ingredients

  • 1/2-2 medium fresh jalapeños (seeds and ribs removed)*, start out with 1/2 and add more, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Aji Amarillo paste** (see note above)
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems, tightly packed (about 1 medium size bunch)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons grated grated cotija or parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except mayonnaise in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth paste forms.
  2. Add mayonnaise and blend until homogenous.
  3. Transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid and season to taste with salt and pepper. Unused sauce can be stored in a covered container for up to 1 week
This delicious sauce is fresh, vibrant and fabulous, drizzled on anything from the grill. It's also great on potatoes, rice, veggies...


25 thoughts on “Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Verde)”

  • I never new the historical/cultural background of Peruvian cuisine! How interesting! No wonder you were intrigued to take a culinary journey. Perhaps you will make a real-life journey as a result of your new found interest! This sauce looks and sounds delicious with so many possible uses. Thanks for the discovery, Chris!

    • Hi Rachel, yeah I think you’re right, the mayo probably wouldn’t do that well in the freezer. It does well for 5-7 days in the fridge though and honestly, it probably won’t last that long 🙂

  • Oh how I adore your culinary travels, be they online or in real life. This is the most perfect and vibrant shade of green and so very different.

  • Chris, this sounds like an amazing sauce recipe and the color is just unbelievable! What a wonderful, inspirational post this is!

  • your sauce is such a beautiful color and I love all the herbs that you added. I can see why you add this to almost everything, looks delicious Chris!

  • I’ve never been to Peru, but if I can trasport my tastebuds there from my NC kitchen, I’m all in!! 😉 This green sauce looks delicious! I can totally see myself putting this on all the things!! Cheers and thanks for sharing the YUM!

  • I am from Lima Peru and a self made cook, I have made your recipe for the green sauce, and congatulations it is excelent!!!

  • You bet ya! I sure do want this beautiful green Peruvian Sauce on all my eats too! It is gorgeous – and so creamy! Chris, I love your addition of fresh basil and ginger – thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  • I can’t wait to try this…i bought aji paste a while back for another recipe and wondered what else I could use it for.
    The photos are beautiful.

    • Oh my goodness, this stuff is delicious on pulled pork and baked potatoes. I am sure I will find a hundred other uses for it…maybe even drink it! Thanks for sharing one of your best recipes, Chris.

  • You’re so right that jalapeños vary a lot in heat. Wonder why that is? I always test them so I have some idea of what I’m getting into. 🙂 Anyway, lovely sauce. I’ve heard of this, but never have had it. Gotta try it! Love all the green sauces in the world — every cuisine seems to have their own. This is a particularly good one — thanks.

  • Such a wonderful amalgamation of flavours, Chris. Love the creamy smoothness of this magic sauce. And I loved hearing the history of this type of cuisine. It’s brand new to me and now I’m very curious. Can’t wait to try it with some chicken wings!

  • I’ve been reading recently that Peruvian food is becoming more and more popular all over the world, due to its tastiness and the fact that many Peruvian immigrants open their own restaurants in different countries. So I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next. This sauce has an amazing color and althought I am sure I will NOT find the aji amarillo paste around here, I will make it with the extra jalapenos (well, if I can find those, they are not always to be found… it is sometimes trying to live in a small village in Germany, when you love to cook and try some exotic recipes…).

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