Cilantro is one of those foods that is often a part of taco mixes and salsa, but if you’re making either of those at home on your own, you may not be inclined to add cilantro to it.
That’s probably because most people don’t have cilantro sitting around their house. If you have never cooked with it before, you wouldn’t see much reason to keep it on hand.
You can use cilantro for tacos as part of your veggie mix or cook it into beans, rice, or meat for added flavor. If you don’t know how to prepare cilantro for tacos, though, you won’t know what to do with it.
We’re going to discuss how you incorporate cilantro into your tacos and how to prepare the cilantro in traditional ways. That way, next time you pass it in the produce aisle, you will have some idea of what to do with it, and you can feel more confident making that cilantro purchase.
How to Use Cilantro in Tacos
When you look at a cilantro bunch with long, thick stems, you may be wondering which parts to use and which parts to discard. Is all that edible? Should all of it be added to your tacos or salsa?
You want to get rid of the thick part of the stems, but the rest of the stems, specifically the thinner part that’s attached to the leaves, can be used in your tacos. You can simply twist off or cut off the thicker stems on the bottom and then use the remainder.
How to chop cilantro for tacos? Take the remaining cilantro stems and leaves and chop them roughly with a sharp knife. You should be cutting them small enough that they’re considered diced.
It’s important to use a sharp knife, as a dull one will crush the cilantro rather than dice it. You will end up with mushy cilantro that’s not very tasty like that, so be careful with the kind of knife you use and its condition.
I know a lot of people will get rid of the stems and use only the leaves when they’re making cilantro for tacos, but that’s not necessary. The stems taste just fine, and they have about the same texture and density as the leaves. They’re not going to stand out too much, so it shouldn’t be an issue to add them to your taco mix.
How to Make Cilantro Sauce for Tacos
You can make what’s known as a cilantro sauce to add to your tacos. I always try to add some sort of sauce to the tacos I’m making so they don’t end up too dry. Let me share with you a simple recipe you can use to turn your crispy bits of diced cilantro into a lovely, creamy sauce.
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 medium garlic clove, chopped roughly
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- Chop the cilantro roughly, getting rid of the lower, thicker stems.
- Mix all of your ingredients together and add to a blender. Blend until smooth, and stop the blender to force the cilantro down to where it touches the blades, when needed.
This lovely cilantro sauce can be used in place of salsa, guacamole, taco sauce, and other liquid garnishes from your tacos. It can be pretty runny, and you should be aware of that if you are going to use it in tacos.
It may work best in burritos because of how runny it is. If it turns out too runny, you may want to drain off some liquid you could also reduce the amount of lime juice you’re using to make a thicker sauce.
If you want to thicken a runny cilantro sauce, you can add more solid ingredients to it. Just be sure to add a little more salt to compensate for the additional ingredients, which will help keep everything flavorful.
How to Make Cilantro Slaw for Tacos
Another dish you can make for tacos by using cilantro is called cilantro slaw. It’s really tasty, packed with different, interesting flavors, and made from a number of ingredients.
I’m going to share with you a recipe for cilantro slaw you can use in your tacos, and it’s going to have a lot of different components. You don’t have to use quite so many, but I’ve grown quite fond of this recipe, and I wanted to share it with all of my readers.
- 1 head of purple cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 cups of milk (more may be needed to help thin the slaw)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 cups of roughly chopped cilantro
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 4 teaspoons of white vinegar
- Mix your different kinds of shredded cabbage into a bowl.
- In another bowl, mix together sugar, black pepper, salt, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, vinegar, and milk. For a thinner slaw, add additional milk as needed.
- Combine the two bowls of ingredients together and mix. Add in the cilantro last, just as you’re ready to serve the slaw. It can be kept refrigerated until it is ready to be used. To keep it tasting fresh, store the cilantro slaw for no longer than two hours in the fridge before serving.
You can add this to your tacos in place of lettuce, onions, and other veggies. It works well in Mexican salad, tortilla bowls, burritos, and several other Mexican dishes.
Feel free to adjust the ingredients as necessary, and you may want to add other components to make it extra spicy or leave out the cayenne pepper completely so that it’s not spicy.
Now, you know what to do with your cilantro, how to prepare it, and a few different ways you can use it in Mexican foods. It’s a flavorful and versatile ingredient that really improves the various dishes it’s added to.
Once you start using it, I think you’ll begin to see its value.