For a little green herb, cilantro is quite widely discussed among foodies and less-enthused eaters alike for its unique taste. Science suggests that we might be genetically predisposed to love or hate cilantro. In fact, according to behavioral neurologist Charles J. Wysocki of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, those who hate cilantro may lack the ability to detect certain chemicals in the herb.
In actuality though, cilantro genetics have not been thoroughly investigated. It’s also possible that smell has something to do with the discrepancy in perceived taste between cilantro lovers and cilantro haters. The leaf’s aroma is created by a handful of substances called aldehydes and interestingly, the same or similar aldehydes are also found in soaps and lotions as well as the bug family of insects, according to a New York Times article. This would explain why cilantrophobes often claim cilantro adds a soapy flavor to dishes.
However, for those of us who can appreciate cilantro’s fresh citrus flavor, I recommend incorporating the herby leaf into the common foods listed below to really amp up their flavor game.
Fun Fact: cilantro refers to the leaves of the coriander plant, so if you ever see “fresh coriander” in a recipe, it means cilantro! The seeds of the plant are simply called coriander. They have a far different taste from the leaves and so cannot be substituted for cilantro in recipes.
1. Ramen Noodles
Cilantro turns this plain noodle dish into a more vibrant and flavorful creation. Add some tomatoes, too!
Meditteranean meets green goddess. Add a few leaves to your already-made hummus or check out this recipe.
Make sure to add salsa, too, if you’re seeking more of a Mexican-inspired dish.
Pizza does just fine on its own, but adding cilantro kicks up its flavor profile. Check out this video recipe here.
5. French Fries
They still taste great paired with ketchup, but even better when dipped into sour cream. Yum!
Want more cilantro? Check out these tasty vegetarian recipes: