Use It Up: Cilantro

Cilantro, or coriander, is one of those herbs that people tend to either adore or despise. Is anybody merely neutral about it? I can’t get enough of it, but some of my friends look like I’m trying to make them eat cricket protein bars or something. It’s just a green, guys. They probably have a genetic predisposition to think cilantro tastes like soap, so I shouldn’t judge (but I do).

The more pressing issue, I think ,is what to do with all the extra cilantro we usually end up with. Have you ever noticed that cilantro either costs about $1.99 for a teensy little plastic wallet containing about three sprigs, or costs a dollar if you get two generous bunches? I always get the big bunches, because I could eat those three meticulously packaged sprigs while I’m trying to get a bottle of wine open.

Here is what I do with my extra bunches:

1. Chop it up, and add it to cabbage for tacos. This is such a no-brainer, I’m not sure if I should even include it.

2. Make cole slaw! Between the cilantro, the peanuts, and the sesame oil, I can eat an entire bowl of this. However, I replace half of the green or Napa cabbage with red cabbage, just to make it pretty.

3. Cilantro Lime Hummus. Okay, so limes are scarce (though they’re still at my grocery store, so I don’t know)– just use a lemon. But Cilantro Hummus! That’s like peanut butter and chocolate, but geared towards the savory crowd!

4. When my husband and I got engaged, we were at a beach house and soon found that although we had gone shopping for spaghetti ingredients, we had bought cilantro instead of parsley. We were too drunk on happiness and red wine to leave the house again, thus our Engagement Pasta was born! Simply make marinara as you normally would, adding half of the cilantro bunch while cooking the sauce, and the other half stirred in right before serving.

5. I have saved the best for last, because this Yemen Hot Sauce can go on anything (tacos, mixed into pasta, on toast, on an omelette)– plus it preserves the cilantro for a little while! I’ve even used questionable cilantro that was at the This-Is-Kind-Of-Wilty-And-Eew-This-One-Is-Slimy stage, and it was awesome. I have to admit, I leave out the cloves, use lemon, and add a third of a can of chickpeas, which makes it more of a pesto. Make both!

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