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Gremolata is a zesty Italian condiment, made with fresh parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. It adds a layer of flavor to elevate dishes, perfect for sprinkling over vegetables, pasta, chicken, seafood, and more!

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We know what you’re thinking: gremolata sounds like something that’s too fancy for an everyday dinner. But this classic Italian condiment could not be simpler! All you need are three ingredients to make an elevated garnish that’s a layer of flavor to every dish. Once we tried this on our one pot chicken and rice dinner, we were hooked. It’s ideal for adding a splash of zesty flavor to vegetables, pasta, seafood, chicken, and more!

3 simple ingredients behind gremolata

Gremolata is a vibrant Italian condiment that adds a burst of fresh flavor to any dish. This simple combination of finely chopped parsley, lemon zest, and aromatic garlic makes a bright, balanced profile. It’s similar to green sauces like chimichurri, pesto, and pistou, but the texture is dry and fluffy. We were surprised to find it’s more like a garnish than a sauce, since it doesn’t use oil to blend together into an emulsified texture.

Gremolata was traditionally used as a finishing touch for ossobuco, the popular Italian veal stew. But it’s even more versatile: it’s a tasty garnish for pasta, roasted vegetables, fish, and even soups and stews. The three ingredients for a gremolata recipe are:

  • Fresh Italian parsley: Parsley is an herb with a clean, peppery flavor and subtly bitter undertone. There are two types of parsley: curly parsley has curly leaves and Italian parsley has dark green, flat leaves (which is often confused with cilantro.) Make sure to use Italian parsley for this recipe.
  • Lemon zest: A fresh lemon is key for the zesty flavor.
  • Garlic clove: Fresh garlic is also a must: avoid jarred or preserved garlic.
  • Salt and pepper: Just a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper are all you need for seasoning.
Gremolata in bowl with parsley, lemon zest and garlic

A trick for storing parsley

Ever brought home a bunch of parsley, only to discover it’s wilted before you get time to use it? This is a common issue for home cooks, and one that’s happened to us before we knew this trick. Once you know how to store fresh parsley for gremolata, you’ll never be stuck with wilted herbs again!

Here’s the secret: store the parsley in a canning jar or herb saver! This keeps the parsley fresh for 1 to 2 weeks, much longer than placing it the produce drawer. Avoid storing it in those plastic produce bags from the grocery store, which make it wilt immediately. Here’s how to store parsley:

  • Use a large canning jar with lid, or purchase an herb saver. We like using an herb saver for parsley, because it’s just the right height and width for the bunch. Here’s the herb saver we’ve used for years. (You can use it to store any fresh herbs!)
  • Add a few inches water inside and add the herbs. Place the cut sides of the parsley into the water.
  • Add the lid. Capping with a lid helps to keep the herbs fresh for even longer. Stored this way, they can last 1 to 2 weeks.
How to store parsley

How to cut parsley, step by step

The most time-consuming part of making gremolata is finely chopping the parsley. Here are step by step photos to show a quick way to chop this fresh herb.

Step 1: Hold the root ends of the parsley with your non-cutting hand. Use a large chef’s knife to scrape off the leaves in a downward motion.

How to cut cilantro | Scrape with knife

Step 2: Use your fingers to remove any large stems from the parsley leaves; small tender stems are okay.

How to cut cilantro | Remove large stems

Step 3: Holding the top of the knife blade with your non-cutting hand, rock the blade back and forth to chop the parsley leaves. Pull the leaves back into a pile and go over them with the knife several times until the pieces are the size that you’re looking for.

How to cut cilantro | Chop leaves with rocking motion

Best tools for zesting a lemon

The best way to zest a lemon for using in recipes? Use a microplane grater. A microplane is a handheld grater with sharp holes in it. Grating foods with a microplane is faster and more consistent than a box grater. We use ours all the time for zest, but it’s also perfect for garlic and ginger. If you don’t have a microplane, a box grater works too. Here’s how to zest a lemon:

  1. Hold the microplane in one hand, place one end on a flat surface and hold it at an angle.
  2. Hold the lemon in the other hand, and drag it down over the microplane holes (or the holes of the box grater). Make sure to remove the yellow part of the skin only! Avoid the bitter pith.
  3. Gradually turn the lemon until all yellow parts of the peel have been removed.
One pot chicken and rice with gremolata topping

Ways to use gremolata

There are countless ways to use gremolata to add a level of flavor to dishes, from chicken to fish and vegetables to pasta. Here are some favorite ways:

Storage and make-ahead info

This gremolata recipe makes quite a bit, so you might not use it all in one sitting. It stores for 1 to 2 days placed in a sealed container and refrigerated. You can also make a half recipe if you don’t think you’ll eat it all in one sitting: it’s best as fresh as possible!

More green sauce recipes

While the consistency is not saucy, gremolata is considered in the family of green sauces like pesto! Here are a few of our top green sauces to make as garnishes:

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: ¾ cup 1x
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Gremolata is a zesty Italian condiment, made with fresh parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. It adds a layer of flavor to elevate dishes, perfect for sprinkling over vegetables, pasta, chicken, seafood, and more!


  • ¾ cup finely chopped Italian parsley, (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 large lemon)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pinch of kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients. Store leftovers in a sealed container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  • Category: Essential Recipes
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Condiment
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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