The Four Corners of the Kitchen

Hide your dried spices in the back of your cupboard and shove your canned goods into a dark drawer; it’s time to pull out the fresh ingredients that make summer taste so invigorating. Refresh your taste buds with our fresh herb of choice—cilantro. Used in ancient love potions by the Chinese and clinically proven to add extra punch to your detox diet, cilantro pairs beautifully with many flavors. Let cilantro be your tour guide for your culinary trip around the world!

Claire Ford

Four cilantro dishes

Top left: Fattoush Salad. Bottom left: Cilantro Lime Rice. Top right: Mojo de Cilantro. Bottom right: Cilantro-Garlic Naan. Photo by Claire Ford


Cilantro-Lime Rice

United States

You may recognize this rice from the menus of many Mexican food chains in the United States. Cilantro combines with one of its best complements—lime—to make a refreshing yet hearty rice dish that will surely add some zing to any burrito bowl or grilled fajita.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Zest from 1 lime
1 cup cilantro, chopped


  1. Warm olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add garlic and rice and sauté for two minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Add chicken broth and lime juice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, or according to instructions on rice package.
  3. When rice is cooked through, stir in lime zest and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Four ½ cup serving


Fattoush Salad


With an emphasis on fresh herbs and roughly chopped vegetables, this salad is the perfect way to add some Lebanese flair to a summer picnic. Serve fattoush as a light lunch or add it to chickpeas to make it a main course. Any way you dish it up, this salad will send your taste buds for a ride.


1 medium cucumber
3 tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
¼ medium purple onion
2 green onions
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt
Black pepper


  1. Wash and roughly chop all vegetables and herbs (first seven ingredients), and then combine them in a large salad bowl.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine.
  3. Pour jar mixture over the salad and toss until vegetables are evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand covered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to mingle and intensify.
  4. Just before serving, sprinkle with broken pieces of toasted flatbread.

Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Six ½ cup servings


Cilantro-Garlic Naan


Traditionally cooked in a tandoor, or clay oven, naan is a type of flatbread commonly stuffed with meat and rice or used to scoop other foods. Try this whole-wheat version in your own kitchen, and wow your friends with these perfectly melded flavors.


½ cup warm water
2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
⅓ cup plain yogurt
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
Softened butter, for cooking


  1. In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and honey. Let stand until foamy (for just a minute or two).
  2. In a separate bowl, combine oil, garlic, cilantro, yogurt, and egg. Add to yeast mixture and stir to combine. Mix in flour and salt.
  3. Knead until dough is soft and pliable and stays together in a ball. Cover bowl with a clean towel and let dough rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size. 
  4. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Using a well-floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll each piece into a circular shape about ¼ inch thick.
  5. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brush each side of the rolled-out dough with butter. Cook dough in hot sauté pan until dough is lightly browned and blistered on each side, about one to two minutes per side.
  6. Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt and chopped cilantro.

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: Eight pieces of naan


Mojo de Cilantro

Canary Islands

Similar to pesto, this traditional cilantro-garlic sauce from the Canary Islands will add a burst of flavor to any barbecue. Some Canarian mojos can be quite spicy, but this one is mild and fresh.


1 bunch cilantro
3 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
Splash of white vinegar


  1. With a large butcher knife, finely chop the cilantro leaves, garlic, cumin, chili pepper flakes, and sea salt to form a thick paste (this also can be done in a food processor). This step takes about 10 minutes.
  2. Add olive oil a tablespoon at a time until the sauce reaches your desired consistency, using the back of a spoon to mash the cilantro paste into the oil. Stir in vinegar.
  3. Serve over meat, seafood, or roasted potatoes, or use as a dipping sauce for French bread.

Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: ½ cup of sauce