Gremolata is a bold and bright Italian condiment that will liven up your meals. It’s made with three simple ingredients that you might have on hand already—fresh parsley, lemon zest and garlic.
Gremolata is the perfect last-minute finishing touch for any dish that seems a little blah, you know what I mean? When guests are on their way over, sprinkle gremolata over store-bought items like hummus to make them seem more fresh and fancy.
When I have the time, there’s nothing better than a bold herbed sauce to complete a meal, like pesto or chimichurri. Gremolata is simpler than a sauce (no blender or food processor required), but more elevated than a basic sprinkle of chopped parsley.
Perhaps gremolata’s most winning feature is that it’s ready in under five minutes. Sprinkle gremolata all over your grilled dishes this summer!
You’ll just need three simple ingredients to make gremolata:
1) Fresh Parsley
Specifically, flat-leaf parsley is the way to go here. The trick is to wash and pat dry the parsley before using so it doesn’t clump together once chopped.
2) Lemon Zest
Lemon zest adds a jolt of brightness to our gremolata. If possible, use an organic lemon for gremolata since the peels of conventional lemons are typically exposed to pesticides.
One medium clove of garlic brings complexity and heat to this simple garnish. The key is to use fresh garlic, never jarred minced garlic. Use your garlic press or finely mince the garlic by hand.
While parsley, lemon and garlic yield classic gremolata flavor, you can absolutely play with your ingredients. Here are some ideas:
- Try adding some fresh mint or basil to the mix
- Substitute orange or lime or even grapefruit zest for the lemon
- Stir in olive oil and salt, to taste, to transform this dry condiment into an herbal sauce
- Add toasted pine nuts or sliced almonds or grated Parmesan
- Substitute cilantro and lime for a variation that will suit Mexican meals
How to Serve Gremolata
Gremolata is traditionally served on osso bucco (braised veal shanks). Gremolata’s uses go far beyond that one dish, though—it’s a lovely garnish for many savory meals! Sprinkle gremolata on:
- Eggs, whether scrambled, fried or turned into frittatas
- Grilled vegetables, or basically anything from the grill
- Hearty stews and creamy soups, like pasta e fagioli (Italian pasta and beans) or cream of broccoli soup
- Hummus or tahini sauce or ricotta
- Roasted vegetables, especially roasted cauliflower, green beans and potatoes
- White beans, including chickpeas
More Herbed Condiments to Try
These herbed sauces will liven up any meal:
- Aji Verde: Spicy Peruvian green sauce, made creamy with mayonnaise.
- Basil Pesto: The classic Italian sauce made with basil, Parmesan, pine nuts (or almonds), olive oil and garlic.
- Chimichurri Sauce: Punchy parsley sauce from Argentina made with red onion and red wine vinegar.
- Cilantro Hemp Pesto: This spin on classic pesto is suitable for Mexican dishes.
- Shatta: Middle Eastern hot sauce made from parsley, cilantro, jalapeño and walnuts.
- Zhoug: Spicy cilantro sauce from Yemen featuring cilantro, jalapeño and ground spices.
Please tell me how you put your gremolata to use in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Gremolata (Italian Parsley Condiment)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: ¾ cup 1x
- Category: Garnish
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Gluten Free
Make classic Italian gremolata with this super simple recipe! Chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic combine to make the perfect fresh garnish. Recipe yields about ¾ cup gremolata.
- 1 medium bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (about ¾ cup chopped)
- Zest from 1 medium lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
- To prepare the parsley, wash and pat it dry with a clean tea towel (wet parsley will make your gremolata clumpy).
- Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice off the thick parsley stems and discard them. Finely chop the parsley (thin stems are fine to include). Transfer the chopped parsley to a small serving bowl.
- Add the lemon zest and garlic clove. Stir to combine. Gremolata is best served fresh. It will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.
Change it up: So many options! Substitute another variety of citrus, such as orange or lime. Try turning it into a sauce by mixing in olive oil and salt, to taste. Add toasted pine nuts or grated Parmesan, if desired. While unconventional, I bet a cilantro and lime combination would be very good with Mexican meals.