When I first started buying fresh greens, I sometimes mixed up parsley and cilantro. What a disappointing guacamole results from such a mix-up! I tried avoiding the mistake again by locating and asking the stock boy. (L: Is this cilantro? Stockboy: This one, coriander. L: Ummm…cilantro and coriander are the same? Stockboy: Same, same. Coriander.). When that didn’t seem to be working, I started to taste the leaves in the grocery store. Now I find it hard to believe I ever mixed up the two. The leaf shape, colour, and stem thickness are sure give-aways for me now. It’s amazing how people change.
So, yes, I buy a lot of cilantro. I love it in Southwest Quinoa, Asian Noodle Salad, and especially Citrus Cilantro Green Juice.
Cilantro is a powerhouse of goodness. This site lists over 20 benefits of this herb including things as varied as removing heavy metals, reducing swelling, boosting immune, lowering blood sugar and easing hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation. As a leafy green, it’s also got vitamins (especially A and K), folate and potassium.
But the reason I love it is its freshness. It’s light and has that unique, bright flavour that apparently some people dislike (and unfortunately, Big Handsome is one of these people). But I find it delightful. And I especially find it delightful in a morning smoothie. One caution: unlike spinach, however, it does not mix with just any fruit. Take my word on this. Berries and cilantro – not so good. Bananas, coconut and cilantro – ugh. But it’s amazing with citrus. Over-indulging in cilantro can have interesting effects on one’s digestion, so I tend to add a neutral green to the mix to keep the greens:fruit ratio where I like it.
Citrus Cilantro Green Juice
1 orange, peeled and seeded
6-8 chunks of pineapple
1 cup frozen spinach leaves
1 large handful cilantro
Instructions: blend all ingredients in a blender, pour into cups, enjoy!