What is Chermoula?

Chermoula is a quintessential North African condiment and marinade, originating in Morocco, also popular in Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.  The way the sauce is made varies widely from region to region (there is one version with a dried raisin puree, for example), and it can be used as a marinade or a condiment.

Chermoula

It is often served or used in the preparation of fish or seafood dishes.  But once you have some on hand you will find yourself looking for all kinds of ways to pair it with different foods.  It’s very simple to put together; don’t skip the easy, quick step of toasting the spices before blending it all together, and you will be rewarded with a deeper toastier flavor that make the sauce so special.

This chermoula sauce recipe is low card, gluten-free, and vegan.

Chermoula: This North African condiment/sauce made from herbs, spices, lemon and olive oil is transformative. Great with seafood.

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Ingredients in Chermoula

Chermoula is basically a blend of herbs and spices bound together with olive oil.  This version, which I developed after looking at a generous assortment of chermoula recipes, contains cumin, dried coriander, parsley, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic, paprika lemon juice, plus olive oil, salt and pepper. Please make sure to use fresh herbs, which give the sauce it’s fresh, punchy flavor.  If you don’t have one of the herbs, leave it out, but don’t substitute dried.

Moroccan-Inspired Lamb Kebabs

Some chermoulas are very well blended, and here I just stirred together the minced ingredients, leaving generous pieces of herbs in the sauce.  You can also use a food processor or a blender, and make your sauce as smooth or as rough as you wish.  A traditional way to make chermoula is with a mortar and pestle, and if you have one (and the patience required!), you’ll get to an authentic chermoula texture.  

Storing Chermoula Sauce

Chermoula will last, sealed, in the fridge for up to 5 days.  You can also freeze chermoula.  One way is to fill an ice cube tray with the mixture and once the cubes are frozen solid, pop them out and transfer them to a freezer-proof zipper top bag. Or, place the mixture into a freezer proof zipper top bag and press the chermoula so it fills the bag in a flat layer. Press out any excess air, then seal and freeze.  Break off pieces as you need them.  Chermoula will last in the freezer for at least 4 months.

Moroccan-Inspired Lamb Kebabs

How to Use Chermoula Sauce

Chermoula can be used as a marinade, and it’s particularly great with anything grilled.  You can also use it as a condiment.  It was a huge hit as a companion to these Moroccan Lamb Kebabs, and it’s very commonly served with fish and seafood dishes.  You can also stir it into dishes the way you might use pesto; add some to steamed couscous or cooked rice or orzo.  

Moroccan-Inspired Lamb Kebabs

Place a dollop on seared tofu, sauteed shrimp, roasted vegetables, seared fish, or grilled steak.  It’s an amazingly versatile sauce, and if you have some in the fridge, a great dinner is not that far away.

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Chermoula

This North African condiment/sauce made from herbs, spices, lemon and olive oil is transformative. Great with seafood.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno pepper , cored, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Directions

  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander and stir in the fry pan for 1 to 2 minutes, until you smell the spices toasting a bit. Transfer to a small bowl or container and cool, or transfer to a food processor or a blender.
  • Stir in the parsley, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, salt, paprika, olive oil and lemon juice, or pulse or blend in the remaining ingredients if you are using a food processor or blender. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 392mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 623IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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