Peruvian Spice Paste


Years ago a friend brought me this recipe after a trip to Lima, hence the name, but it has a much wider application than just Latin American cuisine. It also can hold for months in the refrigerator, although it is usually not around that long in my house.

I use this marinade on chicken breasts, pork tenderloin or pork loin roasts. It’s also good on shrimp before grilling. Halfway through the roasting process, I toss it on new potatoes and return them to finish in a hot oven. I also mix the paste into soft butter and brush it on grilled sweet corn.


¾ cup olive oil

1 cup mint leaves

1 cup parsley or cilantro leaves

2 Tbl -¼ cup kosher salt

1-2 heads garlic (around 24 cloves)

¼ cup freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup ground toasted and freshly ground cumin

¼ cup sugar

2 Tbl smoked paprika

2 Tbl dried Mexican oregano

2 Tbl grated lime rind

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1–3 Tbl minced jalapeno or serrano chili


Put all ingredients into a blender and work them until you have a smooth paste.

1 Comment

  • Nadra Holmes says:

    Hi Lisa,
    This recipe reminds me of a spicy Peruvian green sauce that has become a staple at our house. It is absolutely delicious and goes with everything. We slather it on chicken, salmon, even eggs! We first encountered it as a side sauce with take-out from a local Peruvian restaurant and we kept saying how much we liked it, so I finally tracked down a recipe. Here it is – hope you enjoy it!:

    Peruvian Green Sauce

    For the Green Sauce
    • 3 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded if desired (I use about half the seeds for a medium-
    hot sauce), and roughly chopped
    • 1 cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves
    • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    For the Green Sauce
    1. Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth sauce. With the motor running, open lid and slowly drizzle in olive oil. It will seem very runny at this point but, don’t worry, it will thicken up as it sits. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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