August 2010: Cilantro

Cilantro is a really delicious herb that I’ve just started cooking with over the last couple of years.  Fresh cilantro is in season locally right now, and I like trying to add healthy herbs to my foods, in order to pack extra vitamins into my meals.  You can check out Self Magazine’s Nutrition Data for more information about the nutritional content of cilantro.

The problem for me is that I will often buy cilantro with the intention of making one meal, but then have leftovers (since I’m usually only cooking for one or two).  I never know what to do with the leftovers, so I end up being wasteful. Meal planning is tricky, so here’s what I’ve managed thus far, trying to use up one great big bunch of delicious, fresh cilantro.  It’s turned into a few days of great meals!

Feel free to share your best cilantro recipes, since I’m still learning all that one can do with cilantro!

Wednesday Night’s Dinner (For 2): Spinach Salad with Salmon and Cilantro Lime Dressing

Cilantro Lime Dressing

2 limes (just juice them)
2 garlic cloves*, minced
½ cup of cilantro*
¼ cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Spinach Salad

2 cups of washed baby spinach*
½ cup of raspberries*
Handful of pumpkin or sesame seeds
2 diced tomatoes*
1 or 2 chopped red or orange pepper* (if you have leftovers, put them in tomorrow’s wraps!)
A pinch of cilantro
Grilled Pink salmon* (add a little garlic and some soy sauce for a marinade for 15-20 if you want extra flavour, then grill each side for 5 minutes)

Thursday’s Dinner (for 2): Cajun Shrimp Wraps

8 cooked shrimp*
A few plentiful pinches of Cajun spices (or cayenne, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper)
2 garlic cloves*
¼ cup of cilantro*
2 cups of rinsed and cooked quinoa (leftovers for tomorrow’s salad)
2 tomatoes, diced*
1 avocado (or ¼ cup of feta or goat cheese would be really good, if I could eat dairy!)
1 artichoke, chopped* (leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-4 tortilla wraps

I make the quinoa first, then just quickly sear the cooked shrimp with the garlic and Cajun spices in a pan, then toss everything into the wrap. It’s simple, easy, light and flavourful!

Friday’s Lunch: Quinoa Salad with Cilantro and Artichokes (for 1)

1 cup of baby spinach*
Leftover artichokes*
Leftover quinoa (hopefully at least a half cup)
Any other leftover vegetables (eg. peppers* or tomatoes*)
2 pinches of chopped cilantro*
A handful of pumpkin or sesame seeds
A drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Yes, there’s no official dressing on this salad.  When was the last time you tasted actual vegetables, as opposed to the crazy amounts of dressing that we cover up the taste of veggies with?  The artichokes and cilantro (and other veggies if you have them) are all bursting with their own flavours!

Saturday’s Suggested Breakfast

Since I’m going away and there’s just a bit of leftover cilantro in the fridge, here’s my suggested meal for my roommates!

Brie, Tomato and Cilantro Scrambled Eggs with Whole Wheat Toast (for 1)

2 eggs
1 diced tomato*
1 minced garlic clove
A few slices of Brie
A few pinches of minced cilantro

Scramble eggs, toss in a hot pan with a little olive oil, then mix in the tomato, toast the bread, then put the brie on the bread with the hot eggs on top. Sprinkle cilantro on the top.

* These are all foods that are currently in season in BC right now (http://getlocalbc-org.ffcfprojects.ca/en/).

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