Those of you who are regulars around here know that cilantro has been my nemesis in my battle against food waste. It’s tough to use up an entire bunch before it gets wilty or slimy.
I’m happy to report that though I do still waste some every now and then, I’ve gotten much better at using it up.
Apparently I’m not the lone cilantro-waster out there, as a lot of you have emailed asking for tips on using it up.
Of course, cilantro is hardly the most dreadful food to waste…it’s small, compostable, and cheap, so wasting it is not as worrisome as wasting a cut of beef. Still, if you’re like me, you’d really rather eat your food instead of throwing it out.
I know that I could theoretically grow cilantro, but I have not personally had great success with this. My spindly little plants tend to go to seed really quickly, before they’re even large enough to provide much of anything in the way of food. So, I figure it’s worth it to me to pay $.99/bunch for cilantro.
The way you store cilantro will make a big difference in how long it stays fresh. In my experience, the best thing is to treat it sort of like fresh flowers. When I bring mine home from the store, I cut off the ends of the stems, place the bunch in a glass of water, and store the glass in the fridge.
Here are some suggestions for using your properly-stored cilantro:
- make fresh salsa. I combine chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and cilantro and add a little bit of salt. This is so tasty, and not counting the chips you dip into it, it’s pretty healthy too.
- add it to quesadillas, tacos, fajitas and other Mexican dishes
- use it to jazz up jarred salsa
- add it to scrambled eggs. In the picture below, I made a salsa-like mixture and used it to top scrambled eggs.
(It was kind of early and the sun wasn’t up, which explains why this picture isn’t quite up to snuff. I’m not a fan of summer, but my goodness, summer days are much better for photography!)
- make a cilantro pesto to use on pasta or in panini sandwiches (I use lime juice, cilantro, oil, and salt in mine)
- make a batch of Tortilla Soup
- plan for two cilantro dishes in the same week, like fajitas + paninis, or tortilla soup + tacos
- make a salad with it. I use corn, black beans, tomatoes, and chopped cilantro with (oddly enough) ranch dressing. It’s surprisingly good.
So, those are my best ideas. If you’ve got a good suggestion to add, please do leave a comment to help us recovering cilantro-wasters!