Kick up your next bowl with a drizzle of Zhoug Sauce! Also known as zhug or skhug, this spicy Middle Eastern condiment, originally from Yemen, is made with cilantro, garlic & peppers. It’s packed with flavor and easy to make at home in just 5 minutes!
This delicious cilantro sauce is perfect paired with veggies, chicken, shrimp or steak. Mix it with yogurt to make THE BEST DIP EVER! Literally, you can put this sauce on everything (and I promise, you’re going to want to!)
I was first introduced to skhug sauce at CAVA, the fast casual Mediterranean restaurant (basically the Chipotle of Mediterranean food). They have some seriously delicious dips, spread and sauces on their menu and have inspired lots of bowls on this site!
I then found zhoug sauce at Trader Joe’s in the refrigerated section. After a little googling, I found out that they’re the same thing! Spicy cilantro sauce, just called by two different names. I’ve got one name for it – DELICIOUS!
This sauce can be drizzled over just about any bowl. Anywhere that you use cilantro and want to add a kick of spice, add zhoug sauce! You can also mix it with plain hummus or greek yogurt to make a fantastic, flavorful dip!
It’s a versatile sauce that’s easy to make in just 5 minutes. I definitely recommend adding it to your meal plan this week!
And for those who were wondering, how do I say the name of this delicious sauce? It’s pronounced zoog! How fun is that to say?!
What You’ll Need
- Fresh Cilantro – you’ll need one cup of packed cilantro leaves, that should equal about one bundle of cilantro from the grocery store.
- Jalapenos – serrano peppers can also be used in place of the jalapenos.
- Garlic Cloves
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Ground Cardamom
- Ground Cumin
- Lemon Juice
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – you could also use avocado oil or canola oil, if you’d like!
How To Make Spicy Cilantro Sauce
- Add all of the ingredients to a blender, or food processor and puree until smooth.
Seriously, that’s it! One step and you’re done!
What To Do With Zhoug Sauce
There are dozens of ways to use this spicy cilantro sauce. It’s the kind of sauce that you can put on just about anything and make it better! Drizzle it over grilled meat, spoon it over salmon or use it to top your favorite bowl. Here are some of my favorite ways to use this hot sauce at home!
- As a bowl topper – of course this is my favorite use for the sauce! It adds so much flavor to this Harissa Shrimp Bowl. You could also drizzle it over this Green Chili Pulled Pork Bowl or use it to spice up this Quinoa Breakfast Bowl!
- As a dip – I like to dip right into the zhoug sauce with pita chips or veggies. If this is too spicy for your taste, mix equal parts zhoug and plain hummus for a vegan dip. Or mix equal parts zhoug and greek yogurt for a creamy, flavorful dip!
- With grilled meats – similar to chimichurri sauce, zhoug sauce is delicious drizzled over grilled meats!
- Tossed with pasta – similar to pesto, this spicy sauce tossed with pasta creates an incredibly flavorful meal!
- On sandwiches – bye bye mayo! I’m spreading zhoug sauce on my turkey avocado sandwiches forever!!
- With falafel – this is the most traditional use of the sauce. Try it on my friend Lauren’s Falafel Quinoa Bowls!
- As a salad dressing – mix equal parts zhoug and olive oil to create a flavorful salad dressing!
The possibilities really are endless! Comment below and let me know what you’re going to toss with this sauce!
Tips & Tricks
- Cardamom has a strong flavor. I love the earthiness that it adds to this sauce, but if you don’t like it, leave it out!
- Lemon juice is not a traditional ingredient used in the sauce, but I love the bright acidity it adds. You can take it or leave it! You can always blend up the sauce without it, try it, then decide if you’d like to drizzle some in.
- This sauce will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. So make a big batch and put it on everything for the next 14 days!
- This sauce is SPICY! It’s in the name after-all! If you’d like to tone down the spice level, you can use half of the jalapenos called for in this recipe. If you’d like it even spicier, keep the seeds in the jalapenos, ay, chihuahua!
Searching for more yummy sauces to add to your next bowl? Try these 5 favorites!
- Creamy Vegan Chipotle Sauce
- Sweet Sesame Sauce
- Whole30 BBQ Sauce
- Vegan Avocado Ranch Dressing
- Harissa Tahini Sauce
Zhoug Sauce (Spicy Cilantro Sauce)
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro mostly leaves but a few stems are okay
- 6 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 4 medium jalapeños seeds removed – roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Add all ingredients to blender or food processor, puree until smooth.
- Serrano peppers can be used in place of the jalapenos. You’ll want to use 10 serranos, as they’re much smaller than jalapenos.
- This sauce is SPICY! If you’d like to tone down the spice level, use only 2 jalapenos, instead of 4. If you’d like to make it even MORE spicy, leave the seeds in the jalapenos.
- This sauce will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- This sauce is vegan, gluten free, paleo and whole30 approved!