Health Benefits of Cilantro (Plus Cilantro Pesto Recipe)

by Chrystal Johnson on February 8, 2011

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cilantro-health-benefitsCilantro (also known as coriander) is one of my absolute favorite herbs. I prefer to load up my tacos with cilantro rather than shredded lettuce. I just love the flavor.

I have never understood how anyone could hate cilantro. Then someone told me that cilantro tastes like soap to some people—and it’s genetic. Read this NY Times article for more info on this interesting factoid.

Not only is cilantro delicious, it’s incredibly good for you. Here’s a list of some of its wonderful health benefits.

  • Contains immune-boosting and antioxidant properties.
  • A good source of dietary fiber, iron and magnesium.
  • Rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids.
  • A powerful detoxifying agent that has been used to help remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
  • Aids digestion and settles the stomach; drink a cup of tea made from the leaves when you experience any form of stomach discomfort.
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate arthritis symptoms and reduce minor swelling.
  • Protects against bacterial infection from Salmonella.
  • Can help increase (good) HDL cholesterol and reduce (bad) LDL cholesterol
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea, eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation and reduces menstrual cramping.
  • Helps promote healthy liver function and stimulates the endocrine glands.
  • Helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar.
  • Acts as a natural antiseptic and antifungal for skin disorders such as eczema and fungal infections.
  • Wards off urinary tract infections.
  • Helps ease conjunctivitis, eye-aging, macular degeneration and other eye stressors.

Pretty powerful benefits, huh? Most people don’t know how to incorporate cilantro into their diet, besides adding it to Mexican food. So, I want to share a yummy recipe for you to try out.

Cilantro Pesto Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh, organic cilantro (stems removed)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice or white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Real salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Warm in a small saucepan just until it starts to bubble.
  3. Mix with your favorite pasta and chicken.
  4. Serve!

It’s a super easy recipe to make and it’s full of flavor. Brian isn’t a fan of traditional basil-based pesto, but he likes this cilantro pesto!

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy cilantro?

About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mrs Green @ littlegreenblog.com
Twitter: littlegreenblog
February 8, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Well no, I did NOT know all about those health benefits; what an amazing herb. I’m a great believer in using food as medicine, but unfortunately I think that cilantro tastes like soap – it really turns my stomach in a bad way. My husband adores it though; the more the better for him and I think he would love this pesto over salad – so thanks for the inspiration; I’ll try it out!
Mrs Green @ littlegreenblog.com recently posted..Sugar free frosting – icing recipes

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2 Chrystal
Twitter: HappyMothering
February 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

You poor woman! I feel so bad for people who don’t like cilantro. Let me know how your husband likes the recipe!

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3 Heidi February 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Hi! I just came across your blog… it looks really interesting – I’m a mom of a DD age 5 and a DS age 3. I first tasted cilantro when I traveled to Ecuador. They use it in ALOT of things. I especially love it in a tomato/onion salad mixed with lime juice and salt and minced cilantro… to be served with fish and rice or stroganoff and rice. Also I add it to chicken/vegetable/rice soup. But make sure to add & mix it in just before serving. Mmmm. Thanks for the pesto recipe that looks good. I’ve only ever ate pesto once in my life before (the typical basil), but I liked it. So I might give this a try. Thanks for encouraging us to be happy parents!

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4 Mimi June 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm

This sounds great – will have to try it.

Absolutely love cilantro – it obviously goes in my salsa and guacamole but I also love it on sandwiches (ham, turkey, chicken) and just mixed in with lettuce when I make a salad.

Try topping broiled fish with freshly chopped cilantro – yum.

Think I sent you the soup recipe I created that includes chicken, sweet potatoes, black beans, and cilantro.

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5 Brian August 7, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Great article – another great recipe is a persian green sauce. There are many recipes, but it’s basically cilantro, garlic, greek yogurt and salt. It is wonderful on beans, on vegetables, on rice and on chicken. I have two little girls and they love it too.

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6 Vicki
Twitter: _happygreenmama
September 7, 2012 at 10:59 am

Mmmm….I will definitely try this! I LOVE cilantro.
Vicki recently posted..Tea Collection Globally Inspired Fall Clothing Ideas

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7 Chrystal September 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Me too!

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8 Susan April 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE cilantro. I’m Hispanic and there was always cilantro in the house when I was growing up. I can easily eat a small taco with only cilantro, onions, and salsa. That is one of my favorite snacks. Cilantro is also used a lot in Indian, Southeast Asian food (AKA Chinese Parsley) and a lot of Caribbean dishes. So it’s not just limited to Mexican cooking. I do find that cilantro is one of those things you either love or hate. I have a friend who hates it and asks me to leave it out of salsas when we have a together. I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to go without salsa lol. If you love cilantro you need to try this recipe. It’s one of my favorites!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/tomato-avocado-salad-with-lime-toasted-cumin-cilantro-vinaigrette-recipe/index.html

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9 Mendy Boyd
Twitter: mendyboyd
April 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Cilantro is my favorite herb too, I have it planted in three different places this year to make sure I always have some on hand! I’ve never thought to replace the lettuce in tacos with cilantro but I will most definitely be trying that. Thanks for the pesto recipe too, looks great.
Mendy Boyd recently posted..Mabel’s Labels New Scan & Store Labels ~ Never Misplace Your Items Again!

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