Written by Lauren Rae, Wellness Coach and CPT at TRYM Fitness
It is rare to hear that someone is indifferent on the subject of cilantro. This little green herb has cultivated equal amounts of haters and lovers. Cilantro is known for its delicate, bright to deep green leaves, and a strong, distinctive flavor, though the bright green leaves’ taste is yet to be clarified. Some people think it tastes citrusy, while others get a more metallic, soapy taste. Therein lies the distinctive line between the lovers and the haters.
All parts of this herb plant are edible, but the leaves and seeds are most commonly found and used for cooking. The seed of the cilantro plant, known as coriander, has a distinctive flavor as well, very different from the flavor the leaves carry, and the two cannot be substituted for each other. The cilantro plant is available year-round and is most commonly found in Latin, Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, African, Southeast Asian, and Spanish dishes. Cilantro pairs well with foods that include avocado, lentils, aioli, peppers, salads, and salsas.
When buying your cilantro, make sure that you pick bunches that look fresh, green, and do not have wilted or browning leaves on them. Wash your cilantro as soon as you get home as the leaves tend to have dirt and sand in them. Then lay your cilantro out on a towel to dry completely as any moisture will cause your herbs to rot. To store, you can either cut the ends and leave them in a glass of water loosely covered with a plastic bag, or wrap them in the towel you used to dry them and place inside of a bag for up to a week.
3 of the Best Cilantro Recipes
I happen to fall into the cilantro cult-following category and as a result have created several recipes to showcase my love for this delicious addition to any entree or side dish. Try the recipes out and leave a comment below to let us know what your favorite was. Or to tell us about your love or hate for cilantro!
Cilantro Lime Hummus
- 2 cans bpa-free organic garbanzo beans
- 2 garlic cloves
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lime
- ⅛ cup cold pressed olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and dried
- 1 jalapeno
- 2 tablespoons tahini (optional)
- 1 tablespoon green tabasco (optional)
In a blender or food processor, pour 1 cup of the liquid from the garbanzo beans and strain the rest of the liquid off. Add all remaining ingredients and blend or pulse in a food processor until smooth. Serve chilled with homemade baked pita chips or a veggie plate!
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or pulse in a food processor a few times, then add half of the olive oil and blend. Add the remaining olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Serve as you would regular pesto. Try tossing over zucchini linguini for a vegan “pasta” dish.
Cilantro Mashed Cauliflower
- 2 heads cauliflower
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ to 1 large ripe avocado
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ bunch cilantro, rinsed and dried
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Green tabasco to taste (optional)
Set a large pot of water to boil. While it's heating up, rinse and cut up your cauliflower into pieces. Once the water is boiling, place the cauliflower and clove of garlic in the water to boil for 6–8 minutes until soft. When it is finished, strain the cauliflower through a colander and set aside to cool slightly.
In a food processor, blender, or bowl with hand mixer, place your almond milk, avocado, and cilantro. Add your cauliflower and garlic and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro and serve warm.
**I like to add green tabasco to mine to add a little heat and flavor.
**You can also use 3–4 cups of spinach to add a rich green color and additional nutrients!
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