Chermoula (North African Relish)

5 from 4 votes

Chermoula is a North African relish used for dry rubs, marinating meats, and as a sauce or condiment. This versatile herb and spice mix will take your creations to the next level! I’m sharing two ways to make it.

Chermoula (North African Relish) in a bowl

If you’re familiar with North African cuisine, you’ve likely heard of chermoula already! Sometimes referred to as charmoula, this special blend of preserved lemon, fresh herbs and spices adds a flavorful punch to whatever you add it to. You can sometimes find a dry rub version of it in supermarkets, but (as usual) I prefer it homemade! It’s much more authentic and has quickly become a staple in my kitchen.

There are a handful of different types of this North African sauce out there. Today, I want to share my green and red chermoula recipes. Both are simple to make and add so much to seafood, chicken, and more. Red chermoula is made with paprika and harissa. Green chermoula is — you guessed it — filled with fresh green herbs.

Once you try out my chermoula recipe you’ll want to add it to almost everything. It brightens up many different types of meals and is totally adaptable to your taste preferences!

overhead view of Chermoula (North African Relish)

Red Chermoula

INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Red Chermoula:
    • Saffron Threads – For added color and flavor.
    • Preserved LemonsHere’s a recipe on how to make them yourself, or store bought.
    • Garlic – Necessary for all types of charmoula.
    • Cilantro Leaves – Always opt for fresh cilantro!
    • Parsley Leaves – Ditto for your parsley.
    • Olive Oil – The base of your chermoula recipe.
    • Harissa – I have a homemade version that I adore, or store bought.
    • Ras el HanoutI make this myself too! a favorite spice blend here.
    • Salt – You can add more or less depending on your preferences.
    • Sweet Paprika – For more red color and flavor.
    • Ground Cumin – Here you can use the dried version.

HOW TO MAKE RED CHERMOULA

  1. Prepare The Saffron. You need to grind the saffron threads in order to use them in this recipe. You can use the palm of your hand or you can grind it with a mortar and pestle, which is my preference! Then, mix with a bit of warm water to allow the saffron to bloom. The mixture should be a deep red color.
  2. Cut The Lemons. Slice your preserved lemons into quarters and then remove the pulp. Get rid of any seeds and save the rind for another recipe (or top salads). Chop up the pulp and place it in a bowl.
  3. Add The Other Ingredients. Place the rest of your ingredients into the bowl with the lemon pulp. Slowly stir in the saffron water. You can use it as a marinade, sauce, or relish! It’s the marinade for this Chermoula Chicken dish.
spoonful of Chermoula (North African Relish)

Green Chermoula

  • Green Chermoula: You’ll use some of the same ingredients above, but there are a few other extras:
    • Cilantro – Again, use fresh!
    • Flat Leaf Parsley – You guessed it — opt for fresh here.
    • Mint Leaves – To brighten up your charmoula. Use fresh again.
    • Garlic – I already told you that you need garlic in all types of charmoula!
    • Ras el Hanout – Don’t forget to check out my homemade spice mix.
    • Red Pepper Flakes – The only red ingredient you’ll find in the green version. It adds a bit of heat!
    • Salt – Again, use as much or as little salt as you like. Start with a teaspoon and go from there!
    • Lemon Juice – For added freshness
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Opt for EVVO here.
green Chermoula (North African Relish)
in a bowl

HOW TO MAKE GREEN CHERMOULA

  1. Combine The Ingredients. Add all of the necessary ingredients for your green chermoula.
  2. Purée. Use a food processor, blender, or immersion blender to form a purée. 
  3. Adapt The Consistency. Feel free to add in extra lemon juice or water to reach your desired consistency! You can also use this charmoula variation as a marinade or sauce, or use it as a dip on the side.

Can Chermoula Be Made In Advance?

Absolutely! In fact, when you make it in advance and store it in the fridge, the flavors will be even more intense. You can make yours up to 3 days ahead of time. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator. 

What Do You Eat With Chermoula?

This versatile mixture of herbs and spices can be enjoyed in so many different ways. I love using mine on grilled meats, roasted vegetables, couscous, and stews like tagine. It’s also delicious as a dipping sauce with vegetables or toasted pita chips. Not to mention, it makes an excellent marinade for seafood! One of my favorite thing about making this recipe is the multiple ways you can use it. I love having it on hand.

What Is The Difference Between Chimichurri And Chermoula?

These two sauces are often compared but they are slightly different in taste, origin, as well as the ingredients used. Chimichurri hails from Argentina and is made with fresh herbs, spices, and red wine vinegar. The North African sauce gets its acidity from lemons instead of vinegar. Now you know!

spoon with green chermoula

If you’ve read this far, I wanted you to know that I’ll be sharing one of my ALL-TIME favorite chicken recipes using this red chermoula next… until then, make a batch of this and get ready!

Chermoula (North African Relish)

5 from 4 votes
You’ll want to keep my North African chermoula recipe on hand for marinades, rubs, and more! I’m sharing two varieties: red and green.
Servings: 16
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes

Ingredients 

Red

  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 small preserved lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon harrisa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Green

  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions 

Red

  • Grind the saffron threads in the palm of your hand, or in a mortar and pestle (preferred). Mix with 2 tablespoons of warm water in small bowl. Let sit and allow saffron to bloom and draw out as much color as possible. It should be a deep ruby red.
  • Slice preserved lemons into quarters, then scoop out the pulp. Discard any seeds, save rind for other use. Roughly chop pulp and place in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Stir through saffron water and use as marinade, basting sauce or relish for seafood and chicken dishes.

Green

  • Combine all ingredients and puree until smooth in food processor, blender, or with immersion blender. Add more lemon juice or water if needed for desired consistency.

Notes

This makes about 1 cup total, 16 tablespoon servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 152mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 456IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: condiments
Cuisine: North African
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
overhead view of red chermoula

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t tell you how much you have turned me on to so much amazing recipes. I just love this site and this recipe is another reason why. Besides delicious and an amazing flavor dazzler, I love saying the name!

    1. Chermoula! Chermoula! Chermoula! It is quite fun, right. I enjoy the red one best, but both work. Thanks Shirley, cheers!

  2. 5 stars
    I made both and I LOVE the red, but the green is outstanding, too! You are my flavor weapon now! 🙂