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How to Replace Cilantro in Recipes

author image Zoe Maletta
Zoe Maletta writes on a variety of topics with special focus on leadership, careers and small business management. Professionally writing since 2007, her many publishers include "The Houston Chronicle", "Global Post Careers" and "The Nest." When she's not writing, Maletta enjoys making memories with family and participating in church ministry. Maletta holds both a B.S.and an M.A. in counseling.
How to Replace Cilantro in Recipes
It can be tough to tell cilantro and parsley apart and they are usually grown alongside each other. Photo Credit: masterovoy/iStock/Getty Images

As popular as the herb cilantro is among those who like intense flavor in their Chinese, Indian or Latin American dishes, it can be off-putting to those with softer taste buds. According to Lucinda Huts, writer for The Herb Companion, the pungent, citrus-like flavor of cilantro can be balanced by adding equally strong ingredients, such as chiles, onions or garlic. But sometimes cilantro needs a replacement. If your recipe calls for cilantro -- sometimes called coriander or Chinese parsley -- and you know it is not welcome in your household, or you can't find the cilantro in your pantry, consider an alternative.

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Step 1

Use Vietnamese cilantro, also called rau ram, when you don't have access to plain cilantro but still want the same strong taste it offers. You'll find that it's easier to grow in hot weather but tastes quite similar to the real thing.

Step 2

Substitute parsley for cilantro if your goal is to garnish your dish rather than impart taste or if you prefer a strong taste that's different than the taste of cilantro. The two look similar, but while cilantro has a citrus scent, parsley smells more like a bitter herb.

Step 3

Add barley in recipes that require a strong flavor but not the distinctive flavor of cilantro. You'll find that barley has a more universally appealing flavor than cilantro.

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