Food Eyeswoon Kitchen:

Salsa Verde for the First Lady!

Photography by Jenna Saraco

When the First Lady calls, you listen! Michelle Obama recently issued a challenge as part of her #GimmeFive initiative to celebrate healthy living and lifestyle choices. She asked Refinery29 to assign five food lovin’ influencers to choose 5 essential ingredients every millennial should have in her kitchen in order to prepare quick, healthy meals. I was assigned Extra Virgin Olive Oil – certainly high on my essentials list. Challenge. Accepted.

In my book, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the golden ticket of cooking. It’s high in monounsaturated fats, which makes it a healthful alternative to butter or other oils. I would be absolutely lost in the kitchen without it! 

I immediately knew I wanted to create my super swoony easy five-ingredient Salsa Verde sauce that works with just about everything! Its bright and delicious flavor works well on everything, from steak, fish, and shrimp to pasta and roasted potatoes.

Salsa verde, is essentially EVOO coupled with fresh herbs, garlic, capers, and tangy lemon juice. Get creative and use a variety of fresh herbs. Substitute basil, arugula, oregano, or thyme — the sky’s the limit!

Pesto, salsa verde, chimichurri, herb sauce, salmoriglio….call it what you will. All I know is that this zippy bowl of yumminess is created multiple times throughout the week in a variety of ways in my kitchen!

Without fail every trip to the market results in a handful of the brightest and freshest herbs I can get my hands on. Good quality extra virgin olive oil and Italian parsley are definitely staples in the food I create. Once combined with garlic and lemon you get a swoony herbaceous sauce that can elevate and brighten just about any dish.

Salsa Verde is a staple in the Eyeswoon Kitchen. It's vibrant and herbaceous flavor can be slathered over steak, fish, shrimp, even pasta or roasted potatoes!

If you plan to make your salsa verde in advance or freeze a batch, do not add the lemon until just before serving — otherwise the herbs will brown. And, never microwave any herb sauce. It destroys the flavors.

Bonus hack: This versatile, verdant condiment is best enjoyed the same day it is prepared. But, one clever way to preserve any leftover sauce is to pop it in the freezer in an ice cube tray. These little cubes of herbal heaven can then be used as a base for stocks and soups. For a quick meal, sauté a cube with garlic, onions, and virtually any protein. The herbs will be infused throughout the dish.

Salsa Verde

Athena Calderone


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup packed parsley
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper


Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until roughly chopped. Allow flavors to meld for 20 minutes before serving. That’s it!

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