Charmoula Marinade

Before we embarked on our healthier and happier selves, many of us equated the word “condiment” to ketchup, mustard and mayo charmoula (maybe a little relish if you’re the crazy type). But rather than limit yourself to dry proteins and bland vegetables while on plan, start thinking of condiments in a whole new way. If you explore condiments in other cultures, you’ll find some amazing things. Italy gave us bagna càuda, the Spanish gave us adobo, India gave us chutney, Tunisia gave us harissa…and I could go on and on. Many of these condiments can be adapted and recreated on plan.

This week I’m stealing from Morocco, where I found a spice-infused variation on an Argentinian favorite, chimichurri. Charmoula is very similar to chimichurri, though it often includes heavy doses of spices like cumin, paprika, coriander or saffron blended with a mixture of fresh herbs, olive oil and lemon juice. My lightened charmoula has a generous dose of paprika, enough that it takes on that beautiful reddish color. You can use this wonderful condiment as a marinade, or serve over grilled chicken, fish, meat or vegetables. If you are the type who revisits fresh start, like I do, and easily tires of plain proteins, like I do, then you’ll love this condiment drizzled over just about everything, adding a huge pop of flavor.

For testing and tasting (two of my favorite things to do), I served my charmoula over a pan-seared tilapia and oven-roasted asparagus. What will you do with it?

–Kim K.


Charmoula Marinade Recipe

  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 C. cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 C. flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flake (or to taste)
  • 8 tsp. high-quality extra-virgin olive oil

chamoulaHeat a small nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot, add cumin seeds to dry pan and cook, tossing, until toasted and fragrant. Transfer the seeds to food processor or blender. Add garlic clove and process until seeds are broken down and incorporated with garlic clove.

Add cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, paprika, and pepper flake. Pulse until well incorporated, scrape sides of bowl and pulse again. Add olive oil, pulsing and scraping until a sauce has formed. You can season with Morton® Lite Salt and pepper, if desired (I thought mine was good without, thanks to the vinegar).

This recipe makes roughly one-half cup, with one tablespoon being a serving size.

Notes: Charmoula is best when allowed to rest at room temperature for an hour. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week in a sealed container. You can also freeze single portions in an ice cube tray. It tastes best when uncooked, but could be dropped into a pan with meat, poultry or fish at the end of cooking time and allowed to melt until warm. Also, charmoula is good as a marinade.

Makes 8 servings