Chermoula is a flavorful marinade made with preserved lemons, fresh herbs, and olive oil. It's perfect for adding flavor to fish, shellfish, veggies, or just about anything savory!
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Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite marinade, chermoula! It's vegan, made with simple ingredients and super quick to throw together.
If you're wondering what this sauce tastes like and how it will transform your cooking, imagine a rich, pungent acidity from the preserved lemon and garlic paired with the bright freshness from all the herbs.
This sauce makes a colorful and healthy addition to any meal. I love that it doesn't use any sugar and that the ingredients are quite accessible.
Here's what you'll need:
- preserved lemons (if you can't find any at the store, here's my recipe to make your own)
- flat leaf Italian parsley
- extra virgin olive oil
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Hint: If you can't find preserved lemons and don't have the time to make your own, they can be substituted with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of lemon zest. The pungent flavor won't be 100% the same, but it will be pretty darn close!
This recipe is about as simple as it gets. There are two ways to go about it.
If mincing: mince the lemon, herbs, and garlic finely. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
If using a food processor/immersion blender: Once you've got your ingredients ready, combine them pulse until evenly combined.
Chermoula keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and can be used as a marinade for fish, shellfish, veggies, or whatever you like!
Keep reading for some more fun ideas for where to use it.
How to Use Chermoula
Chermoula is a super versatile marinade and can be used in many different ways.
Here are some of my family's favorite uses:
- Fish - chermoula is most commonly used on fish. It's colorful, bright flavors really compliments most mild buttery varieties of white fish and, of course, sardines!
- Shellfish - similar to fish, shellfish loves this marinade. I've tried it with scallops, clams, and shrimp.
- Veggies - some potatoes, zucchini, or even carrots love a good toss in chermoula before roasting!
- As a quick snack - we are not above spreading some of this magical sauce on a piece of toasted bread or throwing a spoonful in our leftover couscous for a bright pop of flavor! Have fun with this vegan sauce and don't overthink it.
- Swirled into brothy things - I'm not kidding, I've mixed a spoonful of this into this Moroccan Fish Soup, or in a pot of beans or lentils to amp up the flavors too.
Chermoula in Morocco
I've been lucky enough to have lived a lifetime of enjoying this magical marinade, so I can't vividly remember my first time trying it.
That said, I do remember the first time I decided I needed the recipe for myself. It was on a trip to Agadir with my parents and brother.
We stopped at this beautiful little seafood restaurant near the ocean, where you could see the fishermen reeling in their catch of the day. The restaurants were using their special chermoula recipe to marinate the fresh sardines before grilling them.
You wouldn't think sardines would leave such a lasting impression, but I promise you haven't truly experienced sardines until you try them this way.
I'm not sure if the magic came from the fresh fish or from this marinade, but either way they are something you need to try.
A good quality food processor will make this recipe a lot easier and quicker. It's not necessary but it will save you some time and can be a super handy tool to add to your kitchen.
That said, my family in Morocco makes it with a knife and a cutting board, so it's definitely not essential.
If you opt to make this recipe without the food processor, make sure your knife is sharp and take some extra time to finely mince the herbs, garlic and preserved lemon.
Chermoula is an awesome marinade to make ahead and store in the fridge.
It can keep fresh for up to 2 weeks, so make a big batch and use it all week!
Make sure to store it in an airtight container.