how to use cilantro stems
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Wondering how to use cilantro stems? We have some great ideas.

Using fresh herbs to the last leaf is a worthy (and delicious) endeavor, but we tend to forget about the stalks. Some herbs have woody stems that aren’t edible (though rosemary and thyme, for instance, can still be used to infuse liquids and strained out later).

Cilantro stems, on the other hand, are crisp and tender, and taste just as good as the leafy greens. “The crunch and punch is a really nice contrast,” says Chowhound eight_inch_pestle.

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How to Use Cilantro Stems

Chowhound grayelf had a revelation when eating banh mi “where cilantro is chucked in by the handful on the stem. Now I put the stems in whenever I think I can get away with it for the extra crunch and flavour.”

Vietnamese banh mi sandwich


Try slipping them into these sandwiches:

Mix them into salad too, or wrap them up along with other herbs in summer rolls:

Rice Paper Banh Mi with Five Spice Chicken recipe


Cilantro roots do have more intense flavor than the leaves, “which is why they are favored in bold Southeast Asian curry pastes and marinades,” says JungMann. Cilantro with roots attached can sometimes be found at farmers’ markets and at Southeast Asian markets. “Every time I get a bunch with roots I cut ’em off and freeze ’em till I have enough for a recipe,” says grayelf.

Turmeric Chicken Skewer recipe with Cilantro Lime Coconut Milk Sauce


Use them in an easy three-ingredient Thai meat marinade, or make garlicky gai yang, the best Thai BBQ chicken you’ll ever grill. If you can’t find cilantro roots, use the stems and leaves together in their place (we call for stems in the marinade for our Turmeric Chicken Skewer recipe, shown above, while the leaves go into the coconut dipping sauce).

cilantro almond pesto recipe


You can also blitz up a cilantro pesto using both stems and leaves; it’s great on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and more.

Just one more smart (and tasty) way to fight food waste!

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Header image by Chowhound

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