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The aroma of the food is as important as the taste and the look of the food. We seek the help of various herbs and spices to give food an invigorating aroma to entice all foodies. The kitchen is a veritable treasure trove of all kinds of herbs and spices which not only give your food a zest but also are very beneficial for your health! Cilantro is one such herb which lends its zesty flavor to the most mundane of dishes. If you are thinking why cilantro is good for you, don’t worry; this article will help you to decide why you should include cilantro in your dishes?
Benefits of Cilantro
Cilantro leaves may be humble to look at but it does pack a nutritional punch. Include them in your dishes to infuse in them the right texture and taste. They are great to include when you are using less oil or no oil for cooking! There’s no reason to eat boring, bland food when the tiny leaves are there in your pantry.
Besides the wonderful taste, cilantro has a host of other benefits. That’s right, cilantro health benefits are simply too many to ignore. So before digging into a bowl of salad spiced with cilantro here are the benefits of cilantro, which you need to remember so that you use them generously in most of your dishes.
- Reducing bad cholesterol – Why should you take resort to medicines when your kitchen has so many natural remedies which have almost zero side-effects? If your last lipid profile report has quickened your pulse rate, keep this information in the kitty that cilantro can lower your bad cholesterol. Yes, the medicinal benefits of cilantro are a major tick in its favor! It is full of antioxidants, dietary fiber, essential oils, vitamins. Time to fill up your kitchen basket with these verdant leaves!
- Its leaves and seeds are full of the most potent of essential oils – If you are wondering about the truth of this statement! Check out these startling facts, it contains borneol,linalool,cimeal, terpineol, pineane etc.
- Full of anti-oxidants – Now even a toddler can rattle off about the how we should load ourselves with antioxidants to fight inflammation and would you believe it, cilantro consists of most of these powerful antioxidants like polyphenol flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and epigenin. These nutritional values of cilantro are too important to ignore.
- It is full of minerals – If you feel your minerals repertoire is depleting don’t worry just add recipes using coriander, another name for cilantro. It has magnesium, iron , potassium, manganese etc. Iron increases the production of red blood cells. Potassium takes care of your heart health.
- It is full of vitamins – Vitamin C, vitamin A, niacin, beta carotene, folic acid. These vitamins keep your health in top shape. 100 gm of cilantro can take care of 30% of your daily vitamin C needs. So try and find out more and more uses of coriander so that you can use it in a variety of dishes.
- It’s an awesome source of vitamin A in almost 225% of recommended daily intake. Essential to keep your vision perfect and your skin glowing! Foods which are full of vitamin C and flavonoids can protect you from deadly diseases like oral cancer.
- Rich source of bone health – Keep your bone health in optimal condition. With cilantro leaves as it full of vitamin K. Also neuronal damage is stalled right on its track with the help of Vitamin K and protects against diseases like Alzheimers.
Time to hail cilantro as the latest superfood! Why should the herb be in your food and not in your garden? Check out the nutrition facts of this easily available, but amazing herb!
- 15% of folate,
- 11% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
- 45% of vitamin C,
- 225% of vitamin A,
- 258% of vitamin K,
- 22% of iron and
- 18% of manganese.
(Note: RDA-Recommended daily allowance).
That is an amazing blend of the healthiest of nutrients and what cilantro does for our body. But we must know how to store it right, to reap the maximum benefits.
Store it Right
How green is your cilantro? Yes, the greener the better it is, freshly bought or picked cilantro is always best. So eat fresh to soak in the maximum benefits. Throw away the yellowish leaves and the roots.
Keep it a zip pouch or wrap it with a wet paper towel. Consume fresh, otherwise, the flavor gets lost. Now that you have got your fresh leaves start using in various recipes. The nutrition packed cilantro and your cooking ideas; they make for a great combination so start cooking with this wonderful herb and enjoy the health benefits of cilantro.
Recipes and Ideas to Flavor your Dishes with Cilantro
Cilantro is such a versatile herb that it can be used in a number of dishes and it blends beautifully with the recipe just adding its trademark piquant flavor!
Cilantro Sweet Potatoes
Have been ignoring potatoes lately? Well, don’t it does not deserve such a bad reputation. Just cook it right and imbibe its nutrients. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper and a multitude of other vitamins and minerals. Cilantro lends its flavor to this easy to make recipe. Check it out!
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (including tender stems)
- 1 teaspoon of lime zest or lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Prepare your grill for the cooking. While the grill is getting ready, prepare the potatoes and cut them diagonally, into 1/4 inch-thick pieces. Drizzle the sweet potato slices with olive oil and sprinkle it with a little bit of kosher salt.
- Put all the ingredients into a bowl.
- Once the grill is hot, put the potatoes face down on the grill, and grill it till the potatoes have grill marks on them.
- Toss the sweet potatoes in a bowl add the dressing complete with the cilantro leaves and serve piping hot.
Chicken Cilantro Salad
A light dish with the tang of lemon and the zest of cilantro, also the chicken added to it makes the recipe a must-try.
- 1 1/2s lb. skin on deboned chicken thighs
- Lime wedges, for garnishing
- Chopped cilantro, for garnishing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems and leaves
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 heaping teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
Preheat oven to 375F.
- Whisk all the ingredients together and set aside for the marinade purpose together in a big bowl and mix well. Add the chicken into the marinade, and stir until it is all coated. Marinate for 15 minutes, but it can be stretched to two hours which is better.
- Heat up a skillet and fry the chicken with the skin-side down until it turns slightly brown. Turn it over and pan-fry the other side till it gets suitably brown also.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake it for a good 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken and the residual marinade liquid (after baking) to a serving platter, drain off the oil. Drizzle fresh lime juice and garnish with cilantro, serve immediately.
There’s a deep connection with chicken and cilantro as when put together with avocado, there is a burst of the most wonderful flavors. Eating healthy was never this finger-licking!
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup chopped plum tomato (about 2)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 avocado, peeled and finely chopped
- To prepare chicken, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss it well and let it stand for some time. Remove chicken from marinade and set aside the marinade. Sprinkle the chicken over the pan and add the salt. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with fat. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side and continue to do so till it is done.
- To prepare salsa, combine tomato and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Add the avocado and stir it properly to mix it up. Serve the salsa over chicken.
Fish with Cilantro
A melt in the mouth recipe with the delicious fish and cilantro, add to that the crunchiness of the almonds and you have a perfect recipe to try.
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 cups lightly packed cilantro leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound catfish, tilapia, haddock or other white fish fillets (see Note), cut into 4 portions
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
To prepare pesto: dry fry almonds in a small and dry skillet over medium heat, stirring or shaking the pan almost constantly, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan from heat and let it cool slightly.
Drop garlic into a blender. Add the toasted almonds and process until ground. Add cilantro, salt, and pepper; process until it is finely chopped. With the motor still running, gradually add the canola oil, yogurt, and lime juice; keep blending until the mixture forms a paste. Taste and add more seasonings when necessary.
To prepare fish: Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish; and brush off the extra flour.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish, and cook until it turns slightly browned and just opaque in the center, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve each portion of fish with about 1 tablespoon of pesto.
Give your mundane grain a thorough makeover with cilantro. There’s something greatly alluring about the marriage of white rice and green cilantro.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 bunch cilantro, stem ends trimmed
- 1 qt. reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until it turns golden in spots for about 8 minutes or so. Stir in the onion and cook until it turns glossy for about 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the garlic, cilantro, 2 cups broth, and the salt in a blender; whirl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour over rice and stir in remaining 2 cups broth.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is pliant and the liquid has been absorbed nicely for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
If you are not in the mood to cook something elaborate try this simple drink to get your fill of cilantro and nourish your body with the awesome cilantro health benefits.
- Take half cup of cilantro and chop it;
- Half a cup of organic apple juice;
- Half cup of water;
- And a teaspoon of any green powder – wheatgrass powder is recommendable;
Mix all of these ingredients in the blender and enjoy your healthy concoction.
Cilantro pairs well with most dishes so chop or juice it up. Cilantro is extremely versatile and you can use it to your heart’s content. What’s more, cilantro is extremely easy to grow so it can with all its goodness, enjoy the pride of place of your windowsill.
There is nothing like cutting fresh herbs from your homegrown plant and using it for your dishes. The benefits of cilantro are far too many. Recent evidence has substantiated that you can detox with cilantro and get rid of most of the harmful metals from your body. So grab a bunch and make sure you use them to its fullest potential.