Local First is part of the West Michigan COVID-19 Business Coalition. We are working hard to support our local business community and have joined forces with several other organizations to provide a comprehensive list of all resources available. Learn more >

Join Local First Donate Local First Directory


< Back to Blog



"> {/cf_blog_cat}


Cilantro is a pungent herb with a unique flavor. People respond to cilantro with either delight or disdain. Cilantro is used in a variety of ethnic cookery, particularly Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian. Coriander, the seed of the cilantro plant, is a core ingredient in the Indian curry tradition.  

How to Prepare:

Wash cilantro by submerging it in water and washing for a minute. Dry cilantro with a dish towel or a salad spinner. Remove the larger stems and then chop the leaves and the remaining stems together with a sharp knife.

How to Store:

For short-term storage, wrap cilantro in a damp towel or stand upright in a container with an inch of water, and refrigerate. Do not wash prior to refrigeration. Freeze fresh leaves in a plastic zip-lock bag. Remove air, seal, and freeze. Do not thaw before use. Cilantro is one of the few herbs that does not retain its flavor when dehydrated.  

How to Cook:

Add fresh leaves to soups, stews, and stir-fries for an aromatic touch. Add cilantro toward the end of cooking time to retain fresh flavor and color. Toss fresh leaves into a green salad. Chop into pasta and potato salads. Use cilantro in ethnic cooking, such as Thai, Indian, Mexican, and Chinese.

Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini



Carrot Almond Salad


  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup / 3 oz sliced almonds
  • a small handful cilantro, about ½ cup
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-veined
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch / 8 oz baby carrots, scrubbed and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 bunch / 16 oz pencil-thin asparagus, stalks trimmed, cut into 2-inch segments
  • squeeze of lemon, optional


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, toast the almonds in a large skillet over medium heat in a splash of olive oil along with a big pinch of salt. Let them get deeply golden, remove from heat, and set aside. Make the dressing by combining the cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, and salt in a food processor - or alternately, in a blender or with a hand blender. Drizzle the olive oil in while pulsing, continuing until the dressing is a creamy, vibrant green. Taste, and adjust to your liking with more salt, garlic, jalapeno, etc.

Salt the boiling water generously, then add the carrots, wait 15 seconds and add the asparagus. Depending on the actual thickness of your carrots/asparagus, cook for about 30 - 60 more seconds, you want the vegetables to retain some structure and bite. Drain and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking. Spin dry in a salad spinner. In a large bowl toss the vegetables with a generous splash of the dressing. Toss well, add 2/3 of the toasted almonds and gently toss again. Taste and adjust for seasoning. You might want to add a quick squeeze of lemon juice at this point, but it's optional. Serve family-style topped with the remaining almonds.

Recipe courtesy of 101 Cookbooks

Grilled Acorn Squash with Cilantro Mojo


  • 1 acorn squash, peeled, halved and seeded
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut the squash, crosswise, into slices and then brush with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and then place on a grill pan for 10 minutes to cook, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Place the garlic in a bowl, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and then mash into a paste. Add the cilantro, lime juice and the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil and stir well until blended. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper to taste and then spoon the sauce over the squash. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of She Knows

Green Curry Porridge


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, minced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1-¾ cups uncooked brown rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger, peeled
  • 1 small serrano chile, seeded
  • 1 cup cilantro, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup green onion tops (reserve the bottoms for serving)
  • 1 cup sorrel (or 1 cup spinach + 2 T. lime juice)
  • 1 small delicata squash, halved, deseeded, cut into ¼-inch thick crescents
  • For serving: chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, olive oil


To a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, lemongrass, garlic, coriander, and rice. Stir constantly until the rice kernels are toasted and fragrant, 7-10 minutes. Add the water, slowly and while stirring--the heat will cause the water to bubble. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the salt and let the soup simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until the rice has cooked through and many of its grains have burst. In the meantime, combine the coconut milk, ginger, serrano chile, cilantro, green onion tops, sorrel, and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt in a blender. (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender here.)

Blend until smooth, then taste and adjust, if needed. Add the herbed coconut milk, along with the squash, to the porridge. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking. To serve, ladle the porridge into bowls and top each with chopped green onion, a small heap of chopped cilantro, a drizzle of olive oil, and a wedge of lime.

Recipe courtesy of 101 Cookbooks

Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries


  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut in large matchsticks, approximately ¼ inch wide x 2 inches long
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped cilantro


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes and olive oil in a large bowl. Combine salt, cumin, chile powder, paprika, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Add spices to potatoes and toss to coat. Arrange potatoes in one layer on baking sheet. Bake in oven on lowest rack until undersides are browned, 12-15 minutes. Turn potatoes with a spatula and bake 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and serve with Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream. 

For Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream: Combine all the ingredients except the cilantro in a medium bowl and whisk together. Stir in cilantro.

Recipe courtesy of Food 52

Cilantro & Ginger Hummus


  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • juice from ½ a lemon
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


In a food processor blend chickpeas until they are a coarse grain. Add tahini, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, cilantro and salt. Blend for a minute or two. Now with the processor still running, drizzle in the oil and then the water. For an even smoother, thinner consistency, add more water. Eat on naan, crackers, veggies, or spread on a sandwich.

Recipe courtesy of A Beautiful Mess