bowl of green leaves and cilantro on wooden table overlaid with text: "Light & Simple Cilantro Dressing + Tips on Keeping Your Coriander Fresh"

Light & Simple Cilantro Dressing (+ Tips on Keeping Your Coriander Fresh)

My favorite indulgence when watching calories is to make this light, simple cilantro dressing. It’s brilliant on all types of salad greens but you can also spoon this dressing on boiled potatoes or other cooked vegetables, and pastas for a delicious, light and fresh coriander flavour.

Popular cuisines using cilantro

Some people don’t like the pungent leaves or strong-flavored stems of cilantro (also known as Chinese parsley or coriander leaves).

Not me; I love the distinctive flavor of cilantro, and, consequently, the many cuisines that feature it:

  • African
  • Central Asian
  • Chinese
  • Indian
  • Latin American
  • Mediterranean
  • Mexican
  • Middle Eastern
  • South Asian
  • Southeast Asian
  • Texan

Cultivated since ancient times, coriander is now a favorite herb in Europe, North Africa, and southwestern Asia.

Lately I’ve also been adding sprigs of fresh cilantro to sandwiches instead of lettuce leaves. The fresh flavor of cilantro in sandwiches is so much brighter and makes eating a sandwich a whole lot more fun.

(I’ll have to remember that combination the next time I get over to my local Subway.)

How to keep your cilantro fresh

Cilantro is a bit delicate and doesn’t last long. To keep it fresh, put the bunch in a tub of water in the fridge. Even if your bunch doesn’t have roots, this will still help preserve its life. Just make sure not to immerse the leaves in the water or they’ll go squishy!

Wash the coriander as you use it instead of before you store in the refrigerator. It is easy to pat dry with a paper towel. Just remember it can be a bit dirty, so submersing might be a good idea.

Cilantro pairs well with other strong herbs such as anise, caraway, cumin, dill, fennel, (which experts say are all in the same family.)

Simple Cilantro Dressing Recipe

I make this cilantro dressing occasionally when I have Dijon mustard and coriander leaves available at home at the same time.

I use water instead of oil, which makes it lighter and thinner to more thoroughly adorn salad greens.


  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (more or less to taste)


Add Dijon mustard to water in a small bowl, and whisk until mustard dissolves. Add vinegar, garlic, and salt, and whisk to blend well.

Taste to see if more salt is needed (usually no more is required).

Add freshly chopped cilantro just before serving to keep the flavor from fading.

(You can use oil, buttermilk or yogurt in place of the water if you want a thicker coating).

Tuck a recipe card in your purse with this simple cilantro dressing to make sure you always have the “stuff” to make it on hand.

Happy Cookbooking,


About Erin Miller

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