Parsley and Cilantro – Go Green!

Ayurveda Stats Fresh Cilantro and Parsley are sattvic in nature – they above ground in sunlight, and are light,  pure, vibrant and easy to digest. They bring harmony, unity and clarity to the mind. Both cilantro and parsley fall in to the category of bitter taste.  The bitter taste makes these herbs light and detoxifying.  Cilantro is bitter and sweet, while parsley is bitter and pungent. They are both tri-doshic, meaning beneficial for all threedoshas (vata, pitta and kapha)… however cilantro is particularly beneficial for pitta due to its cooling nature, while parsley is particularly beneficial to kapha because of it’s pungent undertones.

Here’s a tidbit about the color green from one of my teachers, Dr. Vasant Lad: “Green has a calming effect upon the mind and creates freshness.  It helps to bring energy to the heart chakra.  Green also soothes the emotions and brings happiness to the heart.”[from the book Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing]. 

As we shift into spring, the winter kale no longer appears in season, and the lettuces of summer haven’t quite arrived… how to get my green?  I’m a big fan of fresh parsley and cilantro at this time of year.  Both have an alive color and taste – to me, they taste green. Parsley or cilantro brighten up a meal and add fiber.  They can be tossed with noodles or rice, sprinkled over polenta, or blended into a dressing or soup.  Lean toward parsley  in Meditterranean fare and cilantro in Asian dishes.

Parsley pesto, veggies & feta on cornmeal flatbread

Here are a few things you can do with parsley & cilantro, especially in the spring.

  • Toss chopped parsley into pasta and veggies with lemon & olive oil
  • Stir chopped cilantro into stirfried or curried veggies to have over rice
  • Blend parsley with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and black pepper for an Italian dressing
  • Stir chopped cilantro with shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), rice vienager, sesame oil and sesame seeds and pour over veggies & rice noodles
  • Parsley pesto – blend parsley, basil, olive oil, black pepper, salt, lemon juice and pine nuts or walnuts in a blender – enjoy in pasta, pizza or a sandwich
  • Cilantro chutney (see posting from March 9, 2011 for recipe)
  • Cilantro & lime rice or parsley & lemon rice – stir the chopped herbs and citrus into rice after cooking to pair with a soup or vegetable dish
  • French lentil salad – toss chopped parsley with cooked french lentils, thinly sliced fennel bulb, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and olives
Cilantro chutney (with phyllo samosas)
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