Magic Sauce

I call this the magic sauce recipe. In part, because it makes everything it touches shimmy with deliciousness. It's magic like that. Technically, it's a riff on a chimichurri sauce - one that has veered off the rails in a big way.

Magic Sauce

I call this my magic sauce recipe. In part, because it makes everything it touches shimmer with deliciousness. It's magic like that. Technically, it's a riff on a chimichurri sauce - one that veered off the rails in a big way. Much tweaking has rendered it a distant second cousin. If that. In fact, the hallmark of that sauce, parsley, I skip entirely. But I love this. Love love love. And I use it a hundred different ways. Magic sauce, it's real.

Magic Sauce Recipe

Double Up

Let's just start by putting one thing out there. You're best off making a double or triple batch. This is the sort of stuff you burn through in minutes. Not exaggerating. I cook eggs in it - scrambled, omelette, frittata, you name it. I drizzle it on soups. This time of year that means corn soups, brothy bean pots, or lunch time slurpy noodle bowls.
Magic Sauce Recipe
Magic Sauce Recipe

 I can also attest it's the sort of thing that makes baked potatoes even better than usual. And salads welcome it as well - particularly shaved salads, or ones made from spicy greens. You can use it to marinate or slather ingredients before grilling or roasting. And its the sort of dressing that turns a bowl full of farro or quinoa or soba noodles into something close to a full meal - just toss in another favorite seasonal ingredient or two.

Magic Sauce Recipe
This sauce is as versatile as a black dress. Although, it's not really the little black dress of sauces. Think more bohemian that that - earthy, intricate and interesting. Completely approachable. The way the garlic-perfumed oil suspends flecks of rosemary, thyme, and oregano is really nice. And the rusty red tint of the paprika makes everything this sauce touches look just that much more special.
Magic Sauce Recipe

If you do anything extra special with it, give a holler in the comments. I still have a half-full mason jar of it ready for business. -h

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Magic Sauce

3.72 from 139 votes

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic, smashed into a paste
  • 1 well-crumbled bay leaf
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4+ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Gently warm the olive oil over medium-low heat in a skillet or pan, until it is just hot. When hot remove from heat.
  2. While the oil is heating, lightly pound the rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Stir the paprika, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and salt into the oil. Then add the bruised herbs and lemon juice.
  4. You can use this now, but know - the oil just gets better as it ages over a few days. Keep it in a refrigerator for up to a week/ten days-ish. It thickens up when cold, so if you need it in a liquid state, place it in the sun or in a warm place for a few minutes.
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment

Recipe Rating


That looks incredible. I kind of want a spoon of it right now. And that's coming from me, bleary-eyed and ready for gin & tonic and bed at 5:04 pm. Can't wait to try when I'm back from holiday. xo


This looks so great! I think I might even enjoy dipping some freshly baked crusty bread in it :)

Anjali Shah @ The Picky Eater

This looks AMAZING, but I'm wondering what makes the sauce so red? It looks like you have some tomatoes or red peppers in there, but I don't see anything in the recipe that's red other than the paprika and red pepper flakes. HS: Just the paprika :)


My husband and I visited Buenos Aires this summer and developed quite an infatuation with chimichurri sauce. I will definitely be trying out your "distant second cousin" version!


Can I use a fresh bay leaf or does it need to be dry? I can hardly wait to try this MAGIC sauce out. Aaaamaazzzing!!!

Jennie from Cole Camp

This looks amazing! have ordered all your books. i'm slowly moving towards being vegetarian and am using your recipes as inspiration. keep them coming!


I have no doubt that your magic sauce is as good as you make it out to be. All those herbs and spices! Perfection.

Cookie and Kate

Absolutely amazing. Just as long as I can pour it over my head while standing in front of a fan, I'm IN. h.e.a.v.e.n.

Bev Weidner

How long will this stay good in the refrigerator?


i love the idea of comparing a sauce to a LBD

lynn @ the actor's diet

I've loved the red chile oil from SuperNatural Everyday and I think this looks like another winner. It just gives me a reason to buy those herb plans I've been eyeing at the market ;)


I'm loving the patina on the pan here...and the recipe looks like a must have on hand starting immediately : )

Beth Billups

Oh my goodness!! YUM! I love all your recipes and cannot wait to try this tonight! Thanks Heidi!


I am a huge believer in chimichurri even without the magic; so I could see this being good on just about anything. Bookmarked to try sometime soon.


Magic indeed. I have all the ingredients to make this sauce happen... EXCITING!


I think I am just in love with the name. I am all over this and I promise to share the results!


What a great magic sauce! Thanks for sharing :)


Love this magic sauce! It's herb week at La Domestique, and I'm obsessed with sauces like chimichurri, pesto, and Italian salsa verde. I think your magic sauce would be lovely spooned over simply roasted fish.

la domestique

I have had something close to this. It was a olive oil dipping sauce. I love the versatility that you mentioned. Great recipe.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

Gorgeous flavours and wonderful versatility - magic!

Kelly at Inspired Edibles

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