Cilantro, the vibrant herb also known as “fresh coriander,” may be an essential ingredient in several cuisines around the globe, including Latin American, Middle Eastern, African, South Asian and Southeast Asian. But these recipes, including our very own Shakshuka and Linguine with Chorizo and Clams, don’t typically call for more than a small handful of roughly chopped leaves.
What’s a cook to do when there’s a huge bunch of cilantro leftover? Well, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our favorite hack to keep cilantro perky for as long as possible. And with that insider tip, you can explore five creative ways to put the fresh, leafy herb to good use.
To keep the cilantro (plus parsley and mint!) fresh for up to two weeks:
- Trim the ends using scissors or a knife. This gets the water flowing into the herb.
- Place the stems in a glass or jar filled with water.
- Cover cilantro with a large plastic bag – use can the one you bagged it in at the store or a large Ziploc.
- Seal around the glass with a rubber band. Refrigerate and use as needed!
Or freeze it!
If you can’t find the time to use up your extras, we recommend washing and chopping the cilantro, then storing it in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. You can store it up to two months in the freezer.
5 ways to use leftover cilantro
While you can browse our recipes by ingredient to help you use up any leftovers, we also love these basic ideas to use up that extra cilantro:
Agua fresca: Muddle cilantro, cucumber, and some seasonal fruit such as strawberry or watermelon. Strain the mixture using a fine-mesh strainer, add a little water to dilute, and you have a refreshing beverage that will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Pesto: Pesto isn’t just for basil and pine nuts. Change things up and make a cilantro pesto with any nuts you have on hand (we especially love it with pistachios). Blend cilantro, nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan (if you have it) in a food processor until smooth. Bonus points if you throw some unsweetened coconut flakes in there. Spread it on bread, toss with pasta or sauteed veggies, or put on top of meat or fish.
Salad dressing: Chop and stir it in with yogurt and honey for a tangy and refreshing dressing.
Green rice: Mix it into your rice while it’s cooking to add an extra dimension of flavor. Squeeze some lime juice before serving for a Chipotle-copycat.
Chimichurri: Substitute cilantro for parsley in this Argentinian green sauce. Finely chop the cilantro, mince some garlic, add dried oregano, a little vinegar, and olive oil. Stir it all together and you’ll have a flavorful sauce to top meat or dip bread in. This will keep in your fridge for about a month.
Do you have a favorite hack to use up extra cilantro or parsley? Share it in the comments!