The Cilantro Substitute Ina Garten Uses In Chili

Cilantro is a divisive food. Some people love it, and some people absolutely detest it. There is actually science behind the reason why some people cannot tolerate the herb, which is known as coriander internationally (via Healthline). Some people have a gene variation in a group of ole-factory-receptor genes where cilantro taste like soap to them, according to Britannica. Julia Child was famously anti-cilantro, and Ina Garten dislikes it as well. 

For those that enjoy cilantro, there is truly nothing like its wonderfully bright, almost citrusy herbaceous flavor, and it's perfect in Mexican dishes like street tacos, or tostadas, or sprinkled atop a hot bowl of chili. For those who can't tolerate it, it seems unfair. Cilantro may be traditional in many dishes, but nobody should have their salad, soup, or tacos tasting like soap. Well, there is good news for those that are cilantro-averse. Garten has a trick for a herby swap and she uses it in her chicken chili recipe.

The ingredient swap is basil

In a Food Network video, Garten explains that chopped basil is a great stand in for those that don't like the flavor of cilantro, and she adds it to her chicken chili recipe. It makes sense to ask basil to come in as cilantro's understudy. They both have a bright, herby flavor that tend to complement dishes without overpowering them. While stronger herbs like tarragon or fennel are more flavorful when used sparingly, basil can be added a top food raw without making much of a fuss.

Real Simple notes that parsley and dill can also be used as a swap for cilantro if you don't care for basil, or don't have any on hand. They also say that if you're the kind of person that hates cilantro and you want to be less reactive to its flavor, you can actually train yourself to tolerate it by continuing to try it. Each taste begins to re-shape the memory of it in your mind, and crushing cilantro is said to reduce its intense flavor. Real Simple explains that adding cilantro to a food you love, like guacamole, helps to create a positive association with it.