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I have a few recipes I like to make which call for fresh cilantro, but when I buy it at the store it's usually in large bunches and I have a ton left over. What's a good use for the leftovers?

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Mulch. (for those of us who just can't stand cilantro) –  Joe Jul 25 '10 at 20:04
    
This question's being temporarily grandfathered as it was created before we had the culinary uses guidelines - however, it does not currently meet any of those criteria and may be closed at some point in the future. (Fair warning to anyone who might want to ask a similar question!) –  Aaronut May 29 '11 at 20:28
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13 Answers 13

I've found it freezes quite well — I simply wash it, chop it roughly, and then freeze it in a small plastic bag.

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Interesting idea. I may start doing this as I always have some portion of it go bad before I can use it all. –  Dave Voutila Jul 26 '10 at 15:52
    
I do the same thing with parsley and chives. As long as you're using them in cooked foods (rather than as garnish), nobody will be able to tell the difference. Do make sure to dry the herbs well after washing them, and remove as much air from the plastic bag as you can manage. –  Marti Nov 15 '10 at 21:57
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Use it to make pesto, super easy and you can use the pesto when ever you need cilantro flavor in a dish. You just need a food processor or even a blender, place the herbs inside and blend while slowly pouring oil into the mix. I normally make mine two handfuls of herbs to a cup and half of oil but you might need to play with the ratio to get a mix that tastes good to you. I also try to use canola oil instead of olive as I find I don't always want to add those olive flavors to whatever Mexican dish I happen to be cooking. The pesto also freezes great so it's great to bust out duing the winter.

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When making pesto with Cilantro I like to use toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts. –  Darin Sehnert Jul 25 '10 at 2:39
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Anything Thai. There's a particularly fun Thai green curry that you make with fresh Cilantro (though I daresay we call it coriander over here), lots of garlic, some hot green peppers, and about 6 different spices. I don't have the recipe on hand, but Google is your friend. If you're making this, add the flesh of a fresh mango, it's incredible.

Anything middle-Eastern. A taboule salad will do you good service in using up coriander leaves, though it takes spearmint and parsley too.

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Cilantro lime rice! I eat it on burritos, or by itself. I'd link you a recipe, but I haven't made it in a while and can't remember how I do it. It's basically:

  • Rice
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt

Cilantro's also interesting in salads (like everything green).

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Chimichurri sauce: Good on chicken, pork, shrimp, beef. Usually about 3 cups of loosely packed leaves, a combination of cilantro, parsley, and basil. Add garlic, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Put it all in a food processor.

Cilantro is also great in homemade hummus! Use lime juice instead of lemon, add some cayenne pepper if you like it spicy.

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How about a chutney? As far as Indian food in the US goes, one of the two common chutneys is a green one chock full of cilantro (the other is tamarind). I've only made it once, and I can't remember the recipe, but googling for green chutney, cilantro chutney, or hari chutney results in quite a lot of hits.

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Recaito.

It's a sort of chutney/sauce of Hispanic origin that's (more or less) a paste made from onion, peppers, oil, salt and lots of cilantro. I've had it made with some lime in too. It's used more as an ingredient (like for making green rice) than as a condiment, but I can vouch for it being kind of nice served over something like a nice hot grilled chicken breast.

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Salsas

Cilantro is a great ingredient in both red and green salsa. While prime canning season is over in most of the northern hemisphere, you may be able to find quality versions of the rest of the ingredients for either fresh or cooked salsa.

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Guacamole.

I understand your frustration. I like it fresh, but I don't use cilantro in large enough quantities to go through the smallest amount they are sold in at the local grocery store before it rots. So I bought a jar of dried cilantro for the occasional times I want it.

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You could try putting some clean, dry cilantro in a sealed container of oil, and letting it rest for a few weeks before straining. I'm not sure about the shelf-life, but it's a great way to capture the flavor of an herb/spice to use for later.

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It's a great additive to a cous-cous salad.

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I just made a macaroni salad and had some left over cilantro that I added it to and my family loved it!!

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Umm... what isn't a good use for fresh cilantro? Anything Mexican, anything Asian, or soups might be a good start. My wife always uses it in her 'taco cassarole', stir-fry, and in black bean soup, for some examples.

But just give it a try. As long as the dish isn't overly sweet, you can hardly go wrong with cilantro.

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