To a newbie cook, there are no differences when trying to compare cilantro vs. parsley. To someone with a bit of experience, they are two completely different herbs. In terms of health benefits, there are no doubts about the advantages they bring in. But then, when it comes to cooking, most people would rather care about aromas and taste.
Understanding Cilantro and Coriander
Cilantro and coriander represent the same plant but at different stages. Cilantro represents the vegetative state, which is then referred to as coriander after the seeds are created. Most people don’t know that and they also don’t care. What they focus on is the aroma this plant can bring to a dish if used accordingly.
On the other hand, parsley comes from the same family. It’s more common in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
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When used in small amounts, it’s hard to tell the difference in taste. To most people, they taste the same. They don’t bother to figure what herbs were used in the recipe. But then, if you really want to impress a connoisseur, you better do your homework.
The Differences Between Cilantro Vs. Parsley
1. Differences in aroma and flavor
The taste and smell represent the main distinctive factors when comparing cilantro vs. parsley. Cilantro doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation when analyzed in a raw state. In fact, some people might claim it feels like soap. It’s different when you use it in a dish though. It’s rich in aldehyde chemicals, hence the soapy aroma. As for the taste, it has a slight flavor of citrus.
Parsley is different though. The smell is greasy and oily, especially when you rub it. The taste feels the same. Its aroma makes it stronger than cilantro. The leafy version tastes a bit like pepper, but not as strong. When shopping for parsley, you might run into curly parsley too. It’s not used for cooking, but only for decorative purposes, so don’t use too much.
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2. Differences in appearance
It’s not hard to tell the difference based on appearance when you compare cilantro vs. parsley. Parsley feels ruffled, but it’s also curlier. Its leaves are pointy and small. One variety of parsley looks identical to cilantro though, as it has flat leaves. That’s when you have to smell it. Plus, this variety has bright yellowish nuances.
Just like you have probably guessed already, cilantro has flat leaves and a three-lobe construction. Leaves look like saws, but they are not as pointy. As for the color, they are deep green.
3. Differences in culinary uses
Parsley is more commonly used to garnish dishes. The variety with flat leaves is used for strong flavors, especially when cooking pasta. As for cilantro, it’s mandatory in Latin, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s often known as the Chinese parsley in the Asian cuisine.
In conclusion, comparing cilantro vs. parsley is not just about your personal education, but also about the recipes you plan to cook. Each dish requires a different type of herb. Luckily, you shouldn’t face any problems when buying any of them – just check the labels.
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