the case for cilantro


Cilantro. You either love it or hate it. In fact, people have such strong opinions on the herb that the NY Times wrote an article about it here.

As a life-long cilantro fan, I had to try out this moroccan salmon recipe after reading it called for a yummy-looking cilantro sauce. Seven ingredients and a food processor later, I was in love. The sauce is so versatile and we’ve since used it on mahi as well. I’m sure it also works great on any other white fish or chicken.

cilantro sauce

it's okay to eat this alone

I did play with the recipe a bit and used 4 garlic cloves instead of 1 (mmm, garlic) and red pepper flakes instead of chile flakes. Kevin also grilled the salmon instead of steaming it. We found that rubbing the salmon with a bit of the sauce before we grilled it really maximized the flavor.

Maybe I’m still blinded by my love for this sauce, but I have a feeling this could even convert a few of the most stubborn cilantro haters out there.

moroccan-steamed salmon with quinoa & carrots
recipe source: Whole Living: January/February 2011
serving size: 2

moroccan-steamed salmon with quinoa & carrots

moroccan-steamed salmon with quinoa & carrots


  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 2 5-oz. fillets wild salmon, skin removed
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Rinse quinoa under cold water. In a small saucepan, bring water and 1/4 tsp. salt to a boil. Add quinoa and carrots and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Let quinoa rest, covered, for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  2. Combine cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, chile flakes, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor. Process until smooth.

    cilantro sauce prep

    seven ingredients of goodness

  3. Lightly season salmon with salt. Brush bottom of a metal steamer basket with oil. (If using a bamboo steamer, line bottom with a large leaf of lettuce or a piece of parchment paper.) Arrange fish in steamer and set over boiling water, covered, for 6 to 9 minutes, or until fish is cooked through.
  4. Lift fish out of steamer. Serve over quinoa. Spoon cilantro sauce on top and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
clean plate club

we thought it was pretty good

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5 Responses to the case for cilantro

  1. Becca says:

    Looks delicious!

  2. Stacey says:

    Congratulations on another compelling entry! You (and your elbow) are an inspiration.

  3. ashley says:

    I used to despise cilantro but now it’s one of my favorite herbs. This looks super yummy! Must try it soon!

    • sarasuzanne says:

      let me know how you like it! i actually made it again this weekend and used a little too much garlic this time. (apparently there is such thing as too much garlic!) not as amazing as a the first-time around, but still pretty amazing!

  4. love the clean plate! thats the sign of a good meal:).. i love salmon, so this dish is a YES in my book!

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