Ode to Cilantro

Sweet Cilantro Vin

I . LOVE. CILANTRO.

I went to Hugo’s with the boy last night. It’s pretty pricey, but it’s also right down the street so we splurge there more than we should. It’s a more upscale Mexican restaurant in this beautifully restored building from the twenties. They basically serve gourmet takes on Mexican inspired, regional cuisine. So, not your typical grease-filled TexMex cuisine. To start I had their Oaxacan margarita because – what’s Mexican food without a margarita. The Oaxacan margarita so smokey and light, definitely my favorite on the menu. In my opinion it’s even better than their $28 “Greatest” marg. For dinner I had a really good seafood stew full of veggies with fish and shrimp and octopus. Not sure how healthy it was, but it seemed light-ish. One thing I was surprised it didn’t come with was avocado or cilantro. Once those additions were made, it was perfect. I never get how people can eat Mexican without cilantro. It gives such a crisp flavor and adds complexity and coolness to spicy dishes (like the stew). It pretty much enhances everything.

People either love or hate cilantro. I read somewhere that it actually tastes different to different people. (Maybe this NYT article?) Personally, it’s one of my favorite herbs and I pretty much incorporate it into everything. I don’t think I could ever date or really even be good friends with someone who was a cilantro hater because we could never share food. (I also LOVE sharing food, or asking for “a bite”) Since we’re on the subject of things I love, I also love a good, quick salad. Just pick a type of greens, use up those leftover bits of veggies, throw on some shredded rotisserie chicken for good measure and you have an easy lunch or a light dinner. So, of course … BOOM– Salad+Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette and I am in heaven. This doesn’t keep quite as well as some other vinaigrettes I’ve made and I’m not sure why. Maybe the cilantro eventually gets that bitter flavor, but once it starts to get a sour smell – throw it out.

Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette


Servings: ~8 | Serving Size: 2Tbsp | Calories: ~19
*Nutrition info via: MyFitnessPal *Recipe Adapted from: All Recipes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 0.5 Tbsp Powdered Ginger (fresh would be better, conversions here)
  • 2 Tbsp Honey (you can double the honey or sub more Truvia. Truvia just saves calories and carbs.)
  • 2 Tbsp Truvia
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Sweet Onion (diced)
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 lime (~ 1 Tbsp juice, a little zest)
  • 0.5 Tbsp Salt
DIRECTIONS
  1. Combine ingredients in food processor. Chill.
  2. Shake to re-combine and drizzle on salads.

My Basic Lunch Salad


Servings: 1 | Calories: ~405 | Protein: 29 |Sodium: 452
*Nutrition info via: MyFitnessPal

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Cup shredded rotisserie chicken breast
  • ~6 Cups arugala
  • Handful of veggies (usually whatever I have leftover chopped up. Carrots, cucumbers, onions)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • A few sliced or crushed nuts. (usually almonds or peanuts)

DIRECTIONS

  1. For pre-made salads: layer salad dressing, veggies, chicken, avocado, nuts, and greens.
  2. Pour into bowl or toss to combine.

As published on AllRecipes, the dressing calls for waaaaay more lime juice and it was way too overpowering for me. It also called for a jalapeño pepper, but I didn’t have one on hand. I think it would add a nice kick, though. I also have made it with some added greek yogurt when I want it creamy and that tastes equally as good. Sometimes I’ll add chia seeds to my dressing for the nutritional bonus. But, 1Tbs of chia seeds is 70 calories so it just depends.
In most of my salads I use spinach, but I don’t think it goes as well with this dressing. Kale is also a very worthy switch from arugala -much more nutritious- but I’m not a big fan of raw kale. I’ve also added leftover cooked quinoa and black beans to this salad to bulk it up more and I think both additions go well with this dressing.

Bon Appetit!

~Rahel

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