Cilantro dressing zippy way to use extra herbs

Cilantro-Avocado Dressing (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)
Cilantro-Avocado Dressing (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

Using an entire bunch of cilantro can be a challenge when many recipes call for using it as a garnish.

To avoid tossing it, we often add the remains of a bunch to homemade dips and salad dressings (cilantro ranch is a favorite: 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup milk or buttermilk, 1 envelope ranch dressing mix, 1 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems; mix mayonnaise, milk and ranch mix according to the package directions and then stir in the cilantro).

Lately we've been enjoying this combination of a whole bunch of cilantro, fresh citrus, avocado, garlic, honey and a few spices. It's bright, perky and full of flavor. Stir a few tablespoons into steamed rice or riced cauliflower for lime cilantro rice, spoon it over grilled chicken or pork chops, use it as a sauce for fish cakes or as a dressing for salads.

This recipe can made as your choice of dip, sauce or dressing. For a dip, double the avocado and omit the water. For sauce or dressing, use just one avocado and thin to the desired consistency with water or more juice.

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Cilantro-Avocado Dressing

  • 1 bunch (more or less) fresh cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 to 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons honey, more to taste
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes, divided use
  • Juice of ½ to 1 orange, divided use
  • Salt, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce, to taste

In a food processor, combine the cilantro and garlic; pulse until well chopped. Add the avocado(s), coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon of the honey, the juices of 1 lime and ½ orange. Process until smooth. Mixture will be quite thick. Add a couple tablespoons of water and pulse to loosen, if necessary. Taste and season with a pinch or so of salt, crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce, honey and additional lime or orange juice. Serve as is as a dip or continue adding water or juice until mixture reaches desired consistency — thick and spoonable to use as a sauce or thin and drizzly to use as a dressing.

Makes about 2 cups.

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