Chimichurri Pasta Salad

Chimichurri--the savory, spicy herb sauce from Argentina--is one of my absolute favorite condiments. Typically served with churrasco or other grilled steaks, it's also fantastic used in other dishes as a spread or sauce. In this pasta salad recipe, easy homemade chimichurri takes the place of pesto for a light dish that's perfect on its own or as a side with your favorite protein.

This is the second out of three Latin pasta recipes I'm creating for Barilla this Fall, and it's one that I think will work well all year long. Enjoy it warm or room temperature in the cool months, and serve it as a cold pasta salad when the weather heats up again. It's perfect for those days when you're looking for a quick and creative alternative to rice or the other usual side dishes

The trick to make this dish sensational is to make the chimichurri from scratch--a super simple process (you really just need a blender or a food processor and about 2 minutes!) that really makes all the difference as it allows you to control the ingredients and adjust the seasoning so that it is perfect for your family.

Do they love spice? Feel free to pump up the red pepper flakes. Or play around with the herbs you know your family loves.

While traditional chimichurri is made with just parsley, I like to add cilantro to brighten up the dish. If you're not a fan, you can just skip it and use all parsley (or replace it with another favorite herb like basil or mint!).

I love using Barilla® Plus® multigrain Elbows for this dish. They're 44% higher in protein, have almost twice (!) as much fiber than traditional pasta, and--due to the small shape--create the perfect balance between sauce and pasta in every mouthful.  It's a natural choice for a pasta salad, and a great way to introduce your family to more nutritious whole grain pasta.

(And don't worry, because the taste and texture is seriously just as good as the regular kind. Eugene--who is notoriously picky about these things--couldn't even tell the difference!)

I served my pasta salad as a side with grilled steak, the way I would typically serve rice. The chimichurri flavors worked perfectly with the steak, and the savory pasta was a welcome change to the usual rice and beans. You can also dice up grilled chicken or cooked shrimp and toss with the pasta to make it a complete meal all on its own.

Have you ever served pasta as a side dish with your dinner? What other kinds of protein would you pair with this dish--let me know in the comments below!

For more easy pasta recipes with Latin flavors, visit This is a sponsored post written as part of my ongoing partnership with Barilla, however, the recipes and opinions are entirely my own. I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Barilla or their products.

Chimichurri Pasta Salad

Serves 8

For the pasta:
1 pound Barilla® PLUS® elbow pasta (or your favorite variety)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

For the chimichurri sauce:
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley with only the bottom two inches of stems removed (about 1/2 average sized bunch)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Bring 1 gallon of water to boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, season  with 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt.

While the water boils, combine all the chimichurri ingredients in a food processor or blender, and puree until very smooth.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook 1 minute less than package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and add the cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or chill in refrigerator overnight. The flavor will improve after a couple hours of sitting.

Pasta can be served cold or warm as a side with steak, chicken, or other protein.

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