This walnut lemon gremolata is a fresh-tangy herb sauce, that comes in handy when you need to make a quick sauce, packed with flavour.
I am a big fan of classic French sauces and love making them but sometimes it has to be quick! But surely that doesn't mean one has to compromise on flavour and taste right?
A freshly made gremolata can be whipped up in 15 minutes and is the kind of sauce that works with almost anything - grilled meats, fish or vegetables, drizzled over salads or even to finish a pizza or flammkuchen.
We added a little twist to the classic Italian sauce, by adding chopped toasted walnuts and it worked out to be so heavenly good!
Perfect to lift any boring dish, this gremolata recipe will become your new go-to favourite sauce!
What is gremolata?
Gremolata is an Italian herb sauce based on parsley, garlic and lemon. In Italy it is mostly served alongside braised meats like osso bucco however it makes a great sauce for seafood and vegetarian dishes too.
Consider it as an Italian-style “chimichurri”, a great alternative for those who dislike cilantro or chilies.
Gremolata vs chimichurri
Both are delicious sauces based on herbs and garlic. While gremolata is rather fresh and zesty, the Argentinian chimichurri is made with vinegar and often has dried herbs and chilli added for a kick.
We love big flavours so both these sauces are on repeat in our house. If you'd like to compare, make our version of this carrot top chimichurri.
Gremolata does not require many ingredients!
Parsley fresh flat leaf parsley is my preferred option. Make sure you dry it thoroughly after washing.
Lemon we are using the zest and a bit of juice in this recipe. Buy organic to avoid any pesticides in the skin.
Garlic adds a beautiful punchy flavour to the gremolata. Use fresh, grate or chop it into the sauce.
Walnuts toasted and chopped, add a rich nutty taste that works so well in the sauce.
Olive oil does not traditionally belong inside a gremolata but I prefer it as a sauce that can be drizzled over dishes.
How to make gremolata
Gremolata is a sauce that is best eaten fresh. However, flavours develop over time and the sauce actually becomes more balanced and complex if served few hours later.
In short, the sauce is quick to prepare but also great to make ahead!
The first step is to toast the walnuts in a dry pan. I usually do this on low heat and toss the pan every other minute.
Being a chef, multitasking comes easily to me but it might not always work for you, unless you set a timer or work next to the stove while keeping an eye on the walnuts. Anyways, just avoid burning the walnuts (haha)
Meanwhile, you can pick the leaves from the parsley, keep the stems for a stock or to stuff a chicken or fish preparation.
Chop the parsley as fine as possible with a sharp knife and transfer to a bowl.
By now the walnuts should be nicely toasted, set aside to cool. Next, chop the toasted walnuts. I like them roughly chopped but if you prefer them finer, feel free to do so.
Now, transfer the walnuts into the same bowl as the parsley.
Grate, press or chop the garlic over the parsley and walnuts.
Next, grate lemon zest and add lemon juice. Then, season with salt and pepper.
Finally, add olive oil to bring the walnut lemon gremolata together. Mix it well to combine.
You can always adjust the sauce right before serving it! Another squeeze of lemon or more salt and pepper, this is something I will leave for you to decide:)
Storage & expiration
Gremolata should be stored in the fridge in a covered container or glass jar. While gremolata tastes best served on the same day, leftovers can be kept for up to 4 days.
Similar to this recipe, we like to add our spin to classic sauces. Another popular gremolata variation on our blog is a hazelnut and orange gremolata.
Other variation ideas:
- add different herbs like mint, coriander, basil or tarragon
- swap the lemon with lime or grapefruit for more sourness
- add cheese like grated parmesan or crumbled feta
- for a kick, add chopped chilli, flakes or tabasco
What it goes with
Walnut Lemon Gremolata works well with many dishes, like with:
- this slow cooked lamb shoulder for a perfect Sunday roast
- or with lamb chops for a quicker version
- as a dip with simple lavosh crackers
- with any pasta dish like these ricotta gnocchis
- served with braised meats like this beef cheek
- served with a fish dish like this baked trout
Other herb sauces
If you enjoyed this recipe, then you will love these as well:
- basil pesto is another classic Italian sauce, delicious stirred into pasta.
- avocado and coriander chutney, an Indian style sauce spiced up with green chillies.
- pea and mint pesto a spin on the classic pesto. Great for any Mediterranean dishes.
- salsa verde is a flavour packed herb sauce great for seafood.
- confit garlic and herb aioli a creamy herb sauce based on mayonnaise.
- mustard and dill sauce is a classic Scandinavian condiment for smoked salmon.
Let us know what your favourite sauce is in the comments below!
Meanwhile, happy cooking😉
Walnut Lemon Gremolata
- small pan
- micro grater or garlic press
- 50 gram walnuts
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 2 glove garlic peeled
- 150 millilitre olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a dry pan on medium heat, toast the walnuts tossing the pan occasionally for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Pick the parsley leaves from the stem and chop finely using a sharp knife. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Chop the walnuts into small pieces and add to the parsley in the bowl.
- Grate the garlic cloves onto the parsley.
- Next, using a micro grater, add the zest of a lemon and about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Season with salt and pepper and add the olive oil. Mix well to combine.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if required before serving.