Saving My Cilantro

I have a love-hate relationship with cilantro. (And no, not the “love to hate it” type of relationship.) I love its bright, fresh flavor in my salsa, soup and sauces. I hate how it seems go bad faster than any other green item in my fridge. It never seems to last more than a few days, even in my produce-saver bags. Which means I throw out more cilantro than I’d like to admit. (Food blogger fail, I know.) 

Enter this recipe. It’s a great way to use up cilantro before it “turns.” (Side note: I think of Mater every time I hear someone say something has “turned.” Anyone else?) As I was prepping this, I realized that this sauce is essentially a nut-free, cilantro pesto. It was simple to make and worked well on both the grilled shrimp and rice and beans.

Cilantro Sauce
The sauce is a much brighter green when you make it. After a day or two in the fridge, the color darkens (but the flavor is just as good).

Cilantro Sauce

1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoon oil (I used canola because I didn’t want to deviate too far from the original recipe, but next time I’ll use olive oil instead.)

Combine the cilantro and garlic in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until the cilantro is finely chopped and the garlic is minced into tiny pieces. Add the ginger and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Add the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.

Brush over shrimp or fish while grilling, or use as a dipping sauce or dressing for shrimp, chicken, rice, etc. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Adapted from Cooking For Two, Spring 2007

Click here for a printable version.

4 thoughts on “Saving My Cilantro

  1. I love to hate cilantro, but as it is a super food, I try really hard to get past its “soap” aroma and eat it anyways, I have found that given enough citrus added- that aroma/.icky taste can be cut through 🙂

  2. Beth,
    This cilantro sauce looks great, and my guess is that it would freeze well for later use (which now has me running off on the tangent of making cilantro sauce “cubes” to toss into guacamole). I’ve grown cilantro in my garden before, and it went berserk. In April. When the tomatoes were a blink in some green house guy’s eye. Being able to thaw some put up cilantro sauce would have been wonderful. As it was, I gave handfuls of it away to anyone who would take it. (After the berserk stage it flowered then died).
    While I’ve been waiting for the CSA to start I’ve been getting cilantro from the grocery down the street–their organic bunches of cilantro have the base still attached (it’s cut just about the roots, at the base of the plant part) and they last way longer than any cilantro I’ve ever bought. Otherwise, yeah, it gets slimy and goes in the worm bin.


    1. Oh, that’s a great idea! I should do that with ours… I haven’t had any luck growing cilantro, so I decided not to try it this year. But having frozen cilantro on hand would be great for those times when I realize that I forgot to buy some for our dinner! (And I am slightly jealous of the fact that your CSA is starting up now! We’re still a couple weeks out… it was a long winter!)

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