Embark on a journey into the verdant realms of parsley and cilantro. One, a bold, vibrant powerhouse; the other, a subtle, sophisticated whisperer. Both are green, leafy, and extremely popular in the culinary world, but they also differ in a number of ways.
This article compares and contrasts the nutritional value, health advantages, flavor profile, and culinary applications of parsley and cilantro. Let’s explore these intriguing differences together.
I. What is parsley?
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a biennial herb in the family Apiaceae. It is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region but has been naturalized and is now found worldwide.
Parsley leaves can be used as a garnish or to flavor soups, stews, sauces, and other foods. They can also be consumed raw or cooked.
There are primarily 2 types of parsley, namely:
- Curly leaf parsley: Distinguished by its short, curly leaves, vivid green color, and fresh, tangy flavor.
- Flat-leaf parsley: Also known as Italian parsley, has flat leaves, a darker green color, and a more forceful, bitter-tinged flavor.
II. What is cilantro?
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean and Middle East regions but is now found worldwide.
Its distinctive flavor is often described as citrusy and slightly soapy. They are frequently added as a garnish or to foods like salsa, tacos, guacamole, and curries to give them flavor.
Read More: Substitute for Cilantro
III. Parsley vs Cilantro: Nutrition
Both parsley and cilantro are very nutrient-dense and provide a variety of health benefits.
In comparison to cilantro, parsley has greater calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Parsley also has stronger antioxidant levels than cilantro and research says that it prevents the formation of kidney stones.
Therefore, while both parsley, cilantro are beneficial for health, parsley is considered to be the healthier of the two.
Here is a table showing the nutritional details of both these herbs:
|Nutrients per 100 gms||Cilantro||Parsley|
|Calories||23 kcal||36 kcal|
|Protein||2.13 g||2.97 g|
|Fat||0.52 g||0.79 g|
|Carbs||3.67 g||6.33 g|
|Fiber||2.8 g||3.3 g|
|Calcium||67 mg||138 mg|
|Iron||1.77 mg||6.2 mg|
|Magnesium||26 mg||50 mg|
|Phosphorus||48 mg||58 mg|
IV. Cilantro vs Parsley: Culinary Uses
Cilantro (leaves of coriander plant) is a herb frequently utilized in Mexican, Indian, and Southeast Asian cookery. It is referred to as coriander or Chinese Parsley in some regions. It finds its way into diverse dishes, such as curries, stir-fries, salsa, and guacamole.
Fresh cilantro is frequently used in tacos and other Mexican foods as a garnish for soups and stews. Additionally, cilantro improves the flavor of sauces, dressings, and marinades.
On the other hand, parsley is used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, stews, and sauces. Fresh parsley is often used as a garnish for its attractive appearance and fresh, mild flavor.
Parsley can be used as the main ingredient in dishes like tabbouleh and pesto. It is also known to have various health benefits and is often used in herbal medicine.
Note: Fresh herbs are great to add taste to your dishes. So, always try to use fresh herbs to enhance the culinary experience.
Explore More: Celery Parmesan Salad
V. Cilantro vs Parsley: Differences
Here is a table listing out the difference between these two aromatic herbs:
|Appearance||Feathery green leaves divided into lobes||Intricately divided into leaflets, stems up to 30cm (12 inches)|
|Smell||Strong aroma with a citrusy scent||Clean and peppery aroma|
|Taste||Fresh and citrusy (potentially contains a soapy in taste)||Herby taste with peppery undertones|
VI. Tips for storing parsley and cilantro
Here are some tips for storing parsley and cilantro:
- Store parsley in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper towel. It will keep well for up to three weeks.
- Store cilantro in a glass with a bit of water in the bottom. Change the water every 2-3 days, and it should last up to two weeks.
- For longer storage, chop up the fresh herbs and freeze them in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 6 months.
- Alternatively, you can also dry the herbs and store them in an airtight container for several months.
- To preserve maximum flavor and freshness, consider wrapping parsley or cilantro tightly in foil before storing it in the refrigerator.
VII. Can you substitute parsley for cilantro?
While parsley and cilantro can both be used as culinary herbs, they have quite different flavors. Parsley has a milder flavor than cilantro, which has a pronounced citrus flavor.
Nevertheless, you can use parsley in place of cilantro by substituting 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley or dried parsley for every 1 teaspoon of cilantro specified in the recipe.
In addition, adding half a teaspoon of lemon zest can lend the typical cilantro-y zing to the dish.
Cilantro and parsley are two common leafy herbs used in Mexican, Indian, and Southeast Asian cuisine.
Cilantro is typically used as a garnish for tacos and other Mexican cuisine, as well as for soups and stews. Parsley is commonly used in salads, soups, stews, and sauces.
Parsley and cilantro smell very differently. While parsley has a milder flavor, cilantro has an intense citrusy aroma. Both plants are extremely nourishing and have a number of health advantages.