Living in the Southwest, it seems you find cilantro in so many popular dishes. For me, it was acquired taste and it took many years to acquire it. But as I slowly learned to enjoy the flavor of cilantro, I discovered there are many health benefits as well. This gave me more reason to grow and enjoy it.
It’s easy to grow cilantro. In Phoenix area, the growing season runs from September through about April. Plant your seeds in September. Cilantro grows in cool weather and you will see that as soon as our warm weather arrives, the cilantro will bolt. Cilantro grows well in both planters and in the garden.
Companion planting: Planting cilantro, sweet basil and parsley around tomatoes can not only protect the tomatoes from pests but also improve their flavor.
As I learn to enjoy cilantro more, I have experimented with some interesting recipes. Here is my current favorite. Perfect for those of us who do not like mayonnaise.
Creamy Chicken Salad with Coconut Milk and Cilantro
1 large roasted chicken, meat removed from bones and chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 13.5 oz can regular, unsweetened coconut milk
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
⅛ tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt & pepper to taste
Whisk together coconut milk, cilantro, vinegar, coconut oil, garlic powder, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 1 hour. Stir in chicken, celery, pecans, apple and cranberries. Chill for another hour or longer and stir again. My favorite way to serve is as a wrap with spinach leaves, or in a lettuce cup.