Get Dipped, Get Sauced, Get Dressed

Tender herbs can be tough.

Basil and cilantro and parsley, especially—whether from my CSA or from the grocery store—seem to arrive in bunches so generous that it’s rare I can use them up before they turn yellow and limp (or black and slimy).

Treat tender herbs like cut flowers. Trim a bit off the stems and stand them in a glass of water on the counter, where they’ll be an attractive nuisance to your cats. So then cover them loosely with a plastic bag and set the whole thing in your fridge.

A pesto batch makes a quick dispatch of the basil. And a palmful of chopped parsley can be a late add-in to ‘most every savory dish, so even if I end up tossing some before the week is out, the multiple uses assuage any waste-guilt. But what to do with bulk cilantro, which has now been in our sharebox three times already this summer?

After a few rounds of experiments, I’ve settled on the versatile combo below. Left thick, it’s a great crudite or chip dip; thinned with a bit more oil, it’s a terrific sauce for chicken or fish (or a binder for a cucumber-tomato-corn, chicken, or potato salad); and made pourable with a little water, it’s a brilliant, cooling salad dressing.



Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic (or most of a garlic scape), roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves (stripped from their stems as much as possible)
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • 2 pinches ground pepper

Add everything except the olive oil and salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor or blender; process until smooth.


With the machine running, stream in the oil until you get the dip or sauce consistency you want. If you want pourable dressing, stream in a few tablespoons of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

The a medium-thick sauce was a creamy, cooling partner to fiery, chili-rubbed, chicken-and-pepper kabobs. I also enjoyed it over greens the next day with chopped cukes, cherry tomatoes, avocados, and sliced flank steak.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Carolyn says:

    LOVE THE RECIPE AND IDEA!! I also chop/puree the herbs in ice trays, put them in baggies with labels, and use them in almost everything.

    1. Susan says:

      Good call, Carolyn. When I really have a big bunch, I dry them. And at the end of the season, I’ll often combine everything into to an herbes de Provence-style blend.

  2. Sally says:

    Love this! Chimichurri is also a great sauce to make when you have lots of cilantro!

    1. Susan says:

      Thanks, Sally. Love chimichurri, too!

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