Cilantro Sauce - Chef Abbie Gellman MS, RD, CDN

Cilantro Sauce

Chef Abbie Gellman RD

My Cilantro Sauce is full of flavor and spice that makes everything nice!  Making this savory sauce is the perfect way to keep the oven off and enjoy all the crunchy Summer vegetables like cucumbers, radishes and lettuce. Or, when you crank up the grill my Cilantro Sauce can be used as a marinade for poultry and meat or add to tacos, burritos, and nachos!


Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs, with a taste that combines parsley and citrus.  But, it certainly is not for everyone, like Julia Child the renowned cookbook author in 2002 famously said, “Cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all. They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.” 1 I have heard many people describe the flavor of cilantro as “buggy” or “soapy.”

It is believed that cilantrophobes, may be genetically disposed to dislike cilantro, according to the Moonell Chemical Senses Center.1  Flavor chemists have found that the cilantro aroma is created by fat molecules called aldehydes.  These aldehydes, are also found in soaps and lotions and in certain bugs!

If you consider yourself a cilantrophobe, my Cilantro Sauce may still be enjoyable according to this New York Times article ! In my recipe for Cilantro Sauce the leaves are crushed and blended in a food processor, giving the enzymes a chance to convert the aldehydes into other substances with no aroma, which may decrease the undesirable flavors.  It’s also recommended for cilatrophobes to try out cilantro pesto.

Cilantro vs Coriander

I always thought the two were completely separate ingredients, but have learned coriander is to cilantro as acorns are to oak trees­­­­­­––still confused?  Coriander is the seed that comes from cilantro and can be found ground or as whole seeds and is a common culinary spice.  Coriander seeds taste much different than the leafy greens, with a warm and nutty flavor similar to cumin and cinnamon. 2

In the US and Canada, we refer to the green, leafy plant as cilantro, and the seed as coriander. But, if you are in the UK and other parts of Europe, or reading a recipe from there, you will find the dried seed called coriander seeds (the spice) and the leafy, green plant referred to as coriander.2

Storing Cilantro

When you buy cilantro it quickly seems to wilt, and turn to mush in the refrigerator.   According to Food Network and Kitchn  the best method to keep cilantro fresh is to place in a small jar with an inch of water, cover with a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator.  Make sure the leaves are dry before storing!

Cilantro and Coriander Seed Nutrition

They may come from the same plant, but have distinctly different nutritional profiles.  Cilantro, similar to other leafy greens is rich in vitamins A, K and E.  Coriander seed has minerals like manganese, iron, magnesium and calcium. 3

 Cilantro and Coriander Recipes

Cilantro is typically, less than $1.50 for a large bunch, and most recipes, like my Cilantro Sauce only call for ¼ to ½ cup.  Some other dishes that I love to use cilantro with include, salsa, guacamole, chutney, and as a garnish on top of soups, rice and eggs.

Coriander is typically found in curry spice blends and most Indian dishes.  It is also delicious to pickle vegetables, add to meat rubs, and roasted vegetables.  Coriander can be used whole, such as with pickled vegetables or ground in spice blends.  Grinding whole coriander seeds right before making a dish will give you maximum flavor!

Mix it Up!

My Cilantro Sauce can be ready in just minutes! Throw everything into your food processor, or blender and the dish will be ready in minutes.  I love adding all the spices for their rich levels of antioxidants and flavor.  Feel free to change it up based on your preferences and the dish you are going to make.

I love Cilantro Sauce in the Summer because I can simply chop a few vegetables, and have a hearty, raw snack without any cooking.  It also can be thinned out with a splash of water for a salad dressing.  If you are planning to grill this Summer, try marinating chicken in my Cilantro Sauce before throwing on the grill!

Similar Pages

Looking for more sauces and dips? Try my Avocado Sauce, Dill Dip or Pumpkin Seed Pesto.


  1. McGee H. Cilantro Haters, It’s Not Your Fault. The New York Times. Published April 13, 2010. Accessed June 14, 2020.
  2. Cilantro vs. Coriander: What’s the Difference Between Cilantro and Coriander? – 2020. MasterClass. Accessed June 14, 2020.
  3. Cilantro vs Coriander: What’s the Difference? Healthline. Accessed June 14, 2020.
cilantro sauce in a bowl

Cilantro Sauce

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Course: condiment, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword: cilantro, cilantro sauce, greek yogurt
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Chef Abbie Gellman RD


  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • 1 jalapeno chopped
  • 1/2- inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • In a blender or food processor, add yogurt, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, ginger, lime juice, cumin, coriander, and salt. Process until smooth consistency.
  • Serve with vegetables, chips, or pita bread or use as a marinade for meat and poultry.


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