It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What can I substitute for cilantro?

I've noticed that many of your recipes include cilantro. Realizing that a large percentage of the population loves the herb, I absolutely detest it. And seeing as how I love your recipes in general, I was hoping you could offer some advice on a good substitution for this soapy herb when you create your recipes.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a bunch of cilantro, which is also known as coriander

I'm sorry that you don't like cilantro. It's a prevalent herb in a lot of cuisines from Mexican to Eastern European, Spanish to Thai.

You can, in most recipes, substitute what you love. Flat leaf (Italian) parsley would be the obvious choice, but it could add more bitterness than you might want for your recipe. You could tone that down with just a touch of honey, however. Don't use a lot of honey - start with a half teaspoon or so.

Alternatively, you could use just a little parsley and add in other herbs depending on the cuisine. Parsley with a bit of basil for European dishes, and maybe using parsley with oregano for South American recipes. Spicy Thai Basil for Asian works well along with the parsley.

We'd love for you to report back to us with the results of any substitutions you try.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet