I’ll be honest, though: You’ll find me adding a whole mountain of cilantro to so much more than just guacamole. Think lime-cilantro rice, spicy grilled corn, black beans, and queso fresco tacos. This vivid green, leafy herb packs a punch of flavor that has the ability to transform almost any delicious recipe into something that’s out-of-this-world good.
But aside from its bright and fresh flavor profile, cilantro also happens to be a super source of quercetin, a longevity-boosting antioxidant, in addition to tons of other health benefits. (Just one more reason it's basically the perfect addition to every summertime dish.) And even if you’re on the cilantro-tastes-like-soap committee, we’ve got you covered—the delicious cilantro recipes ahead that won’t taste anything like a bar of Irish Spring.
Why these cilantro recipes are packed with longevity-boosting benefits
You may already be quite familiar with the Blue Zones, but just in case you aren’t, these are the five regions of the world that have been identified as hubs for some of the longest-living people on the planet. So, what do many of the folks residing in these areas have in common? Well, in addition to maintaining meaningful connections, having a strong sense of inner purpose, moving throughout the day, and more, the key to their healthy, long lives has a lot to do with what they eat. Fortunately, this means that even if you don’t live in one of these areas, you can adopt some of their dietary habits and apply them to your everyday life.
For starters, when analyzing these regions, Dan Buettner, founder of the Blue Zones, noted that five herbs commonly used in these regions were packed longevity-boosting properties. In the Blue Zone of Nicoya, Costa Rica, cilantro is the star herb: It's one of the main ingredients in the local cuisine, so it comes as little surprise that studies show that cilantro is filled with many antioxidants that have been shown to fight inflammation and lower the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease. “In addition, cilantro recipes can aid digestion, help lower blood sugar levels, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease," Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN previously told Well+Good.
As mentioned, cilantro is also packed with quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that can help boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, balance your gut microbiome, and promote longevity. According to Frank Lipman, MD, the author of The New Rules of Aging Well: A Simple Program For Immunity Resilience, Strength, and Vitality, quercetin plays an important role in activating AMPK, a protein enzyme that helps regulate cellular metabolism. What's more, Dr. Lipman told Well+Good that this AMPK cellular processing can delay the aging process and clear out damaged cells (however more research is needed to fully understand the longevity-boosting benefits of the antioxidant).
6 delicious anti-inflammatory cilantro recipes
1. Cilantro Lime Rice
Did someone say homemade burrito bowls? If you’re a true Chipotle fanatic, it’s about time you started making your own cilantro lime rice at home, like this delicious recipe by Love and Lemons. Of course, we all love a good dupe, especially when it means that your meal prep game just got a whole lot better (and the recipe is super easy to make).
Get the recipe: Cilantro Lime Rice
2. Thai Cucumber Salad
This 15-minute Thai cucumber salad recipe by Live Eat Learn takes minimal effort and will quickly become a summer staple in your weekly meal prep rotation. It’s made with super-hydrating, thinly-sliced cucumbers and a delicious toasted sesame oil vinaigrette. Plus, it’s topped with a heaping mound of freshly chopped cilantro and green onions for a vibrant dish that will have your friends asking for the recipe ASAP.
Get the recipe: Thai Cucumber Salad
3. Cilantro Lime Dressing
This dressing truly tastes good on everything: Think salads, tacos, burrito bowls, soups, salmon, grains, and so much more. The super simple cilantro lime dressing recipe by Love and Lemons calls for two whole cups of cilantro and can be made in two different ways: creamy or oil-based.
Get the recipe: Cilantro Lime Dressing
4. Persian Legume Soup
If you can’t help but start planning for the endless number of warm, comforting noodle soups you’ll be consuming come fall, this Persian legume soup by Live Eat Learn is for you. It’s made with a detailed ingredient list with abundant health benefits in each item.
Get the recipe: Ash Reshteh
5. Healthy Breakfast Tacos
Whoever said tacos were only for lunch and dinner was clearly mistaken. This healthy breakfast tacos recipe by Love and Lemons features a bounty of protein-packed, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant-rich ingredients like green peppers, tomato, spinach, eggs, and of course, cilantro. I think we can all agree that waffles and pancakes will have to take the backseat for now.
Get the recipe: Healthy Breakfast Tacos
6. Vegan Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Can’t decide on what to make for dinner? We’ve got the solution for you. These vegan stuffed poblano peppers by Minimalist Baker have a pinto bean and Mexican-style rice filling. Plus, they are topped with a creamy avocado cilantro dressing that’ll fill your belly with joy. It’s the perfect gluten-free, perfectly-balanced entree that checks every box. (BTW, it's filled with almost nine grams of protein and six grams of fiber per serving.)
Get the recipe: Vegan Stuffed Poblano Peppers
This chickpea goddess sauce is the *queen* of cilantro sauces:
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