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

3.67 from 133 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


I'm going to have a reserve a couple of mason jars for this stuff - and go buy a gallon of good olive oil! This looks like an amazing sauce, well, anything with garlic, rosemary, and paprika is bound to be delicious! Thank you! ♥

Donna B.

Simple things are magic things. Magic things are simple things. Love your sauce.


Bay Leaf: this is a very stiff leaf. It does not become soft and pliable after cooking. You need to remove this prior to serving so someone will not choke on it. Some think Bay Leaf is poison, That is not true or otherwise we would not be using it for flavor. The caution is for the hazard of choking on it. I love Bay Leaf and use it often.


Mmm this does sound magic! Yum!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

Perfect timing on this "magic sauce" for me this morning! I had just pulled your Tasty Frittata from the oven, and up popped your sauce, magically ;) I picked the herbs from my garden and stirred up the sauce...onto the delicious frittata, perfect! Thx for all the inspiration~


Very Magic !!


This is very similar to a base I use for Panzanella. After years of living in southern Italy I do miss the addition of fresh Bufala Mozzarella, which was a nice juxtaposition against the paprika. I started to use lemon juice vice vinegar because of our propinquity to the Sorrento coast, but a swirly drizzle of thick balsamic glaze on each serving is wonderful. Also, thanks for the response (years ago now) on my request for info on the camera you use - I've been snapping up a storm recently...


I too have heard that you cannot eat bay leaves, so I will assume that this isn't true, and maybe that is just when it is whole in sauces. I will make sure to crumble it into very tiny pieces. Cant wait to try this sauce.

Viki Megna

I just LOVE your recipes. We live between Greece and France, and the seasonal ingrediants you use so often correspond with what is in our local markets as well. Thanks for the inspiration!


This recipe speaks to my heart! Love your site, and look forward to every email. I'm going out to my garden now to collect the herbs - doing a happy dance!


This looks absolutely amazing. I have a vegetarian to cook for and am slowly but surely showing EVERYONE in the house that meat-free can be just, if not more, satisfying. I just picked up your latest book too. I was looking lovely at it all the way home and my entire family thought I was mental! Anyway, I get goose bumps everytime I see a new post from you!!


This sounds perfect to drizzle over my chicken livers for dinner...or to cook them in...or to add to a pate.....or the salad or.........I feel some experimenting coming on!

Jemma Ludley

I cannot wait to go and buy some rosemary. Mine did not make it through the winter in my wee herb garden. How can I resist?? I think I can taste Heidi's Magic Soup coming on in early fall. God Bless.


Inspired by chimichurri but this is really an infused oil. Nothing wrong with that at all and I am making this as we speak. All of my herbs grown in my garden or pots. This is another excellent use of the fresh herbs. And I dry a ton of herbs also and I imagine my dry herbs will do as well this winter. Bravo!


I love you for this! I don't want elaborate recipes every day and these types of things make me so confident in the kitchen. Thanks!


Fabulous! I have been looking for a sauce for adding a little something extra that doesn't have tomatoes in it!! and it's GF and dairy free to boot! :) Just the thing- thanks Heidi!

Katie @ katiedidonline

This is magical indeed! Thank you, Heidi!


SOLD! Making it next week to dip my bread it, drizzle over salads, and mix into my pasta.


What a perfect combination of flavours - I can't wait to try this!


Sounds really good and familiar...but what it really needs is a balance of something sweet...a bit of sugar of agave...or maple...or honey...or, or...


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