Team Cilantro: These 21 Herby-Green Recipes Are for You

From spicy chilaquiles to the perfect chicken sandwich.

June 24, 2020
Photo by James Ransom

Once upon a time, in 2012, I returned home from my first year of college and got a summer job working at a fast food burrito chain. So began my education in the enormous passions of teams Pro-Cilantro and Anti-Cilantro.

They are equally ardent, and the herb is one of extremes: Some customers would ask for extra cilantro to be added to their burritos; some would immediately recoil at the sight of the leaves. It's either the world's best herb tastes like feet.


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If you're a staunch member of Team Anti-Cilantro, let me direct you to recipes that will help you use up your basil. But if you're Team Pro-Cilantro—well, you've come to the right place. Here are 21 of our best cilantro recipes just for you: 

1. Cilantro Coconut Chutney

Serve this coconutty chutney with all manner of roasted meats, fishes, vegetables, or even spread on a sandwich.


2. Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin & Cilantro

This isn't your average roasted cauliflower, thanks to a few simple, yet impactful additions: cilantro, cumin, and lemon juice. 


3. Chilaquiles Verdes

These spicy, saucy chilaquiles wouldn't be complete without a final flurry of torn cilantro leaves, aka the perfect garnish.


4. Fish with Green Masala & Coconut Wrapped in Banana Leaves

In this Parsi recipe, firm white fish is marinated in a green masala made with cilantro leaves, mint, green chiles, and coconut before getting wrapped in banana leaves and pan-fried.


5. Kutabi (Azerbaijani Savory Panckes Filled with Greens & Herbs)

These savory Azerbaijani pancakes are packed with the bright, fresh flavors of cilantro (and many other herbs), onions, green garlic, and serrano pepper.

Savory pancakes

6. Anna Thomas' Green Soup

This creamy, Genius-approved soup is all about the green, from the veggies to the cilantro.


7. Cooked Green Salsa (Salsa Verde)

This zippy salsa verde goes with just about anything: quesadillas, tortilla chips, fried eggs, grilled meats, you name it.


8. Corn Soup with Tofu Larb

This contest-winning soup expertly balances spicy (from the larb-style tofu) with sweet (the creamy corn base). 

Corn soup 

9. Sweet Potato & Cilantro Quesadilla with Fried Egg & Cumin Oil

This vegetarian-friendly dish could easily be breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even dinner—it's up to you. 


10. Green Goddess Chicken Sandwiches

We pretty much guarantee you'll fall in love with this green goddess dressing, a creamy-herby combination of yogurt, avocado, herbs, honey, and lemon juice.


11. Summer Vegetable & Glass Noodle Salad

This refreshing chilled noodle salad is exactly what you want to dig into on a hot summer afternoon or evening. 


12. Fried Greens Meatlessballs

These green veggie meatballs make an excellent appetizer, but would also feel right at home smothered in your favorite tomato sauce with spaghetti. 

Vegetarian meatballs

13. Seared Sea Scallops with Gingered Pea Purée & Cilantro Gremolata

The finishing touch on this buttery, pea-filled scallop dish: a zesty cilantro gremolata. 


14. Hello Summer Cocktail

Welcome the warm weather with a batch of this super-refreshing drink. 


15. José Pizarro's Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo

You'll never make potatoes the same way again after trying this salt-crusted method.


16. Sheet-Pan Broccoli & Chorizo Salad With Tortilla Chip Gremolata

A totally riffable sheet-pan dinner that takes regular-old roasted broccoli up several notches.

17. Speedy Chicken & Potato Curry

A final splash of cream and handful of cilantro make this dish "intensely fragrant and deeply divine."

18. Chicken & Broccoli Meatball Subs With Apple Giardiniera

Feel free to eat these broccoli meatballs as is—they make an amazing snack straight from the fridge.

19. Anita Lo's Roasted & Pickled Radish Tacos

These Genius vegetarian tacos can just as easily go vegan—just skip the queso fresco.

20. Smashed Pea Guacamole with Cilantro, Ginger & Lime

We dare you to stop at just one chip.

21. Jalapeño–Cilantro Stem Marinade

This zingy green marinade was made for chicken, from crispy wings to tender grilled chicken thighs.

Which team are you on? What's your best way to use up a bunch of cilantro?

This article was updated by the Food52 editors in 2020 to include more yummy cilantro recipes. 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Chef Devaux
    Chef Devaux
  • orinoco womble
    orinoco womble
  • Norman Hajjar
    Norman Hajjar
  • Annada Rathi
    Annada Rathi
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Chef D. November 27, 2015
Cilantro is hands down the best herb :D
orinoco W. September 3, 2015
I used to hate cilantro--to me it tasted soapy, with an overtone of the way a cat litter box smells when it needs cleaning! I discovered that cilantro needs to be really fresh to be good--not something sitting around in the vegetable market that they bought last week and didn't sell. My favourite use for cilantro is in curries, particularly fish curry! Hari chutney (green chutney) is also delicious and so easy to make! Throw a bunch of cilantro, the juice of one lemon, salt, cumin and a couple of fresh chilis in your food processor with a good dollop of olive oil and a pinch of sugar; blitz until smooth. Store in the fridge in a tightly-covered glass jar. Serve with...well, everything, really! ;) Green chutney is about as versatile as hummus! Top a baked potato with hummus and green chutney--bliss!
Norman H. May 15, 2018
There is a genetic reason that cilantro tastes like soap to some tasters. It's baked into DNA. About 4-14% of humans have the problem. See:
orinoco W. May 16, 2018
So somehow my DNA altered itself between the first time I tried it and a couple of years later, is that what you're saying?
Annada R. June 24, 2020
I so agree with you, Orinoco. Cilantro chutney is, hands down, the best condiment known. I use it across cuisines. Try these 2 variations if you can