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  • Writer's pictureElise

Cook Book Club: February's ingredient is Red Pepper Flakes. The country: Argentina!

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

This year we are doing things a little differently. Instead of simply a seasoning or spice, we are highlighting entire cultures. Kits will include this spice, a recipe that highlights it, a little history on the spice or recipe, maybe some insight into the culture and some best practices. I'll post the recipes and information here as well, so let's get cooking!


Argentinian Cuisine and Chimichurri Overview

Adapted from a number of online travel companies including Frommers, Rainforrest Cruises, and

With it's strong ties to Italian and Spanish cuisine, as well as its well-known status as a global beef, and to a much lesser extent other meats, industry leader, Argentinian cuisine is marked by a lot of quality protein dishes, sometimes heavy, often grilled, always flavorful. While vegetarianism is on the rise, as of today omnivorism to the point of carnivorism is more often what you will encounter. As one site stated: Refuse a piece of steak at a dinner party and state that you’re vegetarian, and you’ll be met with “That’s okay. Now try some of this Argentinean meat!”

Along side this traditionally very meat-heavy cuisine is a reliance on pastas and spicy sauces, a holdover from some of the country's large population of Italian immigration primarily dating from between 1870s-1960s. Today's recipe, chimichurri, though found in a number of South American countries, is of Argentinian origin. With its reliance on fresh herbs (especially cilantro and parsley) and spicy ingredients (many recipes call for fresh aji peppers, though we will be using red pepper flakes) brings a bright and vibrant flavor to anything it is added to, and indeed Argentinians add it to almost anything. We will be adding it to pasta and fresh vegetables, but feel free to drizzle it on top of steak or chicken (or go all out and marinate your meat in it), add in a little mayo and blend it a little smoother and use it as a sandwich spread, mix it into a vegetarian wrap with tons of fresh veggies or into your mashed potatoes. Not only are the choices endless, you can guarantee that Argentinians have probably already done it themselves.


Main Event, Part 1

Chimichurri Sauce

As adapted from for use by the Brown Deer Cookbook Club

servings: 6 servings of 2 TBS each prep time: 10 MINS total time: 10 MINS


  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, packed

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, packed

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Rinse the parsley and cilantro well to remove any dirt or debris. Shake as much water off the leaves as possible. Pull the parsley and cilantro leaves from their stems, then chop them finely. Mince the garlic.

  2. Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, chopped parsley, and chopped cilantro in a bowl. Stir to combine.

Main Event, Part 2

Chimichurri Pasta

As adapted from for use by the Brown Deer Cookbook Club

servings: 8 servings prep time: 20 MINS total time: 8 MINS

While you can really put anything into this pasta and make it as fancy or as simple as you desire, here is a delicious example of what you could add in for a delicious veggie-heavy chimichurri pasta salad.


  • 2 zucchini (small)

  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt (to taste)

  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)

  • 11 oz dry chickpea fusilli pasta (or pasta of choice)

  • 3 ¼ cups grape tomatoes (halved)

  • 3 (¾ cup) green onions (large, thinly sliced)

  • ⅓ cup oil-packed unsalted sun-dried tomatoes (drained and finely chopped)

  • 1 cup baby spinach (coarsely chopped, optional)

  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • red wine vinegar (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Heat a grill pan (or a greased skillet, if you don’t have a grill pan) over medium-high heat.

  2. Trim the ends of the zucchini and slice the zucchini into long slabs 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch (5 mm to 1 cm) thick. Brush both sides of each slab with the oil. Place the zucchini on the grill pan and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until nicely charred and fork- tender.

  3. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions.

  4. While the pasta and zucchini cook, prep the grape tomatoes, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach (if using).

  5. Allow the grilled zucchini to cool for a few minutes on a cutting board, then chop it into bite-sized pieces.

  6. Drain the cooked pasta, quickly rinse, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the zucchini, grape tomatoes, green onions, sun- dried tomatoes, spinach (if using), and all the chimichurri sauce and stir well to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add a bit of red wine vinegar if you want more zing. Serve

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