We get it, Hatey McHaterson. Cilantro tastes like soap, like bugs, like dirt. But it’s also good for you. It’s an antioxidant, and some credit it with removing heavy metals from your body, lowering bad cholesterol, raising good cholesterol, lowering blood-sugar levels and even helping you sleep better.
You can almost hear Grandma saying, “If it tastes bad, it must be good for you,” can’t you? Seriously, though, if you garnish fish or salad with a bunch of cilantro leaves, of course you’re going to feel like they overpower your meal. No wonder you want to nuke it from orbit forever for leaving your mouth feeling like the spin cycle of a washing machine.
Well, here are eight reasons why you need to get over your cilantro hate. These eight recipes incorporate cilantro wisely. Cilantro can enhance flavor without dominating it. Win-win, you get the benefits of this multitasking leaf while avoiding the soapy taste that makes you wax poetic about how much you are loathe of it.
Pasta dishes offer you excellent opportunities to try out things you swear you don’t like, such as kale (chopped finely) or cilantro (chopped finely and used in the sauce), because of the various flavors complementing one another, depending on the sauce and ingredients.
Pesto, for example, is a very flavorful sauce, and we like this take on it from Simply Recipes, which replaces basil with cilantro and includes almonds, red onion and seeded serrano chile (yum!). Those watching their cholesterol will benefit from the cilantro and the lack of cheese. And before you start growling about how the cilantro will overpower all the other flavors, come on. Serrano chili. Go nuts.
Just a bit of cilantro is required for this hummus recipe from 101 Cookbooks. Garbanzos, red pepper flakes, lime — these are flavors that will not be easily overwhelmed by just a few leaves of cilantro. And remember: The key is to chop it up as finely as you can. Those tiny green flecks may as well be parsley. Eat up!
We like this recipe for lime cilantro butter from Epicurious. If a quarter cup of finely chopped cilantro still seems like too much, then start with 1/8 and work up to 1/4. Your kitchen, your rules — and you’re already being a good sport about your nemesis, cilantro. But really, the likelihood that it will overwhelm butter, lime and corn on the cob — especially if you grill it — is slim to none.
Have you ever had ceviche? Oh, yeah. You know the deal. This recipe for shrimp ceviche from SkinnyTaste.com includes lime, avocado, red onion and just 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro. Look, it says to use more for garnish, but you know you don’t like seeing it, so skip that part. Get the benefits cilantro offers but reduce it to tiny green pieces of leaves while zeroing in on the glorious noms that is ceviche.
It’s time to get serious, and it doesn’t get more serious for meat-eaters than steak. Go on and have your steak then, and drizzle some of this chimichurri sauce on it. This recipe from A Beautiful Mess calls for just a quarter cup of packed cilantro. But trust us, the garlic and parsley will not allow cilantro to steal the flavor show.
Plus, since you place all the ingredients in a food processor, you won’t be able to see it. Out of sight, out of mind. Go on. Don’t tell us that cilantro is going to overpower that juicy steak you love going on about, either.
Take a look at this roasted pumpkin salad recipe from Pulp Kitchen. You’ve got roasted pumpkin, tahini, cardamom and a green chili pepper working together for maximum noms, so you are not likely to notice the handful of finely chopped cilantro hiding in your salad. Make it a small handful. Why not?
Good Cheap Eats has this refreshing couscous salad, which includes garbanzo beans, onions, red bell pepper and just a quarter cup of finely chopped cilantro. As before, if the thought of a quarter cup’s worth of cilantro freaks you out, cut it down to 1/8. We forgive you.
Get a mortar and pestle ready because it’s guacamole time. We really like this recipe from Allrecipes.com. Make sure you use red onion and mash everything up so you don’t even see the 3 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro.