Cilantro: you either love it or hate it. Cilantro lovers can’t get enough of the pungent plant, and cilantro abstainers can’t take one bite of any dish of food it flavors. That proves to be a problem for chefs who often enlist it heavily in soups, salsas, salads, and other supper dishes, but for cilantro advocates, it’s go big or go home. Today, our recipes all feature the star herb.
If you have dinner guests on their way who you know have a taste for cilantro, prepare one of these 6 recipes and embrace the rich flavor that decorates many Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes. Especially now that Cinco de Mayo is on its way, it’s only right that you prepare at least one salsa dish that calls for cilantro.
1. 5-Ingredient Mango Salsa
Speaking of salsa, here’s a mouth-watering recipe for the chip dip from Gimme Some Oven. Most consumers think of salsa as red, but this snack or appetizer dip is bright yellow and flavor-packed, thanks to the inclusion of fresh mango, jalapeños, fresh onions, and of course, cilantro. If you’re a fan of the herb, you’ll have no double dipping your chip into this salsa on May 5.
- 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced (about 3 cups)
- 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
- 1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
- Juice of one lime
Directions: Toss all ingredients together until combined. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
2. Chicken Cilantro Soup
Next up is Chicken Cilantro Soup from In Sonnet’s Kitchen, the perfect light supper to transition you from winter into spring. This soup will warm you up without filling you up and comes loaded with healthy ingredients you likely already have in your cupboard. Cook one more pot of soup before summer arrives and you won’t regret it. Grab your fresh cilantro and get going.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 4 stalks celery, sliced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 heaping cups pulled chicken meat
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
- Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Directions: Add coconut oil to a medium pot over low-medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and saute for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and vegetables are aromatic. Add chicken stock and meat, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and continue to simmer, covered, for an additional 20 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender. Add the lemon juice and cilantro. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste and serve hot.
3. Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas
A slightly more indulgent dinner recipe that also enlists cilantro is this Cilantro Sour Cream Enchilada dish from This Week for Dinner. Enchiladas are perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration, and they don’t taste so bad on any other night of the week, either. Many consider cilantro to be an essential ingredient for Mexican cooking, and after one bite of this decadent dish, we may have to agree.
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 can chopped green chilies
- 1½ cups shredded cheese
- 1½ teaspoon minced garlic, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
- 1 package soft taco-size flour tortillas
- 1 jar green salsa
- ½ cup water
Directions: Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
In a bowl, mix chicken, half of the sour cream and half of the cilantro, the red pepper, chilies, ½ cup cheese, garlic, and cumin. Puree salsa, water, and remaining ½ cup each of sour cream and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Spread 1 cup over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon about ¼ to ⅓ cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in rows on the sauce in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate, along with the remaining sauce and cheese, up to 2 days.
To serve – Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas; bake uncovered 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes longer or until bubbly.
4. Garlic Cilantro Lime Rice
Up in our No. 4 spot is a side dish recipe featured on Food Network. It’s hard not to drool while reading this Garlic Cilantro Lime Rice recipe — as long as you like cilantro. This rice dish is flavored with it, calling for the herb freshly chopped, along with garlic, long-grain rice, and the juice of 3 limes. No matter what you serve this alongside, rest assured it’ll be the star plate on the dinner table.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Juice of 3 limes and zest of 2 limes
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Directions: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the rice and salt. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to make sure the rice doesn’t burn. Add 2 cups of the broth and the juice and zest of 2 limes, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the rice is done. Add more liquid as needed. The rice shouldn’t be sticky.
Just before serving, stir through the juice of 1 lime and lots of chopped cilantro.
5. Southwestern Chopped Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing
Cilantro can also transform a salad dressing, and such is the case with the Cilantro Lime Dressing that decorates this Southwestern Chopped Salad found on Damn Delicious. With this salad, it’s all about the sauce, and once again, cilantro and lime perform well together. Greek yogurt also complements the two. Toss your salad ingredients together and then get to work on your dressing. This may be your most nutritious and delicious Cinco de Mayo dish yet. This recipe was adapted from The Garden Grazer.
- 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup canned corn kernels, drained
- ½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup tortilla strips, for garnish
Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 lime
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Directions: To make the cilantro lime dressing, combine cilantro, Greek yogurt, garlic, lime juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, add olive oil and vinegar in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with tomatoes, corn, black beans, and cilantro. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine. Stir in avocado. Serve immediately, garnished with tortillas trips, if desired.
6. Black Bean Salad With Mango, Cilantro, and Lime
Our last recipe, from the Cooking Channel, enlists ingredients we have already highlighted on our list, but now combined in one fresh and healthy protein-packed dish. Enter: Black Bean Salad With Mango, Cilantro, and Lime. The refreshing side salad is the perfect complement to any main dish, and its fresh flavors purposefully welcome bright spring flavors. This black bean salad can be prepared in no time, and it’ll likely be eaten even faster. It’s hard to be a hater when this dish is on the table.
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ small ripe mango, peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces
- ½ yellow bell pepper, cut into small dice
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 1 small red onion, cut into small dice
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Directions: In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, lime juice, honey, and cumin. Slowly whisk in the oil until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix the mango, pepper, beans, jalapeño, and onion together in a large bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the ingredients and toss to combine. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Garnish with the cilantro.