Cilantro Orange Gremolata

 Cilantro orange gremolata is something that the kids might not like, but that’s ok!  You’re going to love this delicious recipe.

My son will eat anything as long as it doesn’t have flecks of green on it. Broccoli is fine but if it’s tossed into chicken soup such that little green globules attach themselves to the carrots, then neither the carrots, the broccoli, nor anything else in the soup gets eaten.

This goes for all green flecks. For awhile, I avoided herbs entirely because using them meant having to rinse off all his food before he’d eat it.
Then I began using a bouquet garni wrapped in cheese cloth for soups, stews and sauces. This imparts a delicate herbal flavor which even little J likes (i.e., he doesn’t use the work “yucky” in its presence).

But I started to miss robust herbal flavors and wanted a way to add them without instigating a tantrum.

Cilantro Orange Gremolata

One afternoon while osso bucco simmered in the oven (head to One for the Table for a glorious recipe), I excitedly remembered that the traditional chopped herb and garlic accompaniment wouldn’t have to be skipped since it is added at the table. We could have green stuff on our veal and our son could choose whether he wanted to join us or not (guess what he chose).

The gremolata solution was born. Now I regularly chop up an herb, garlic and citrus zest mixture for us to sprinkle into our bowls of soup or stew, over rice, roasted potatoes, pasta and sauce, vegetables of all kinds, and even over meat and fish. I often make a cilantro-based version with a bit of cumin, cayenne, lemon juice, oil and onion to sprinkle over seared white fish and approximate the flavors of chermoula. (Dinners and Dreams has a nice more traditional marinade-style chermoula here.)  A few chopped up capers often hang out in this mix too.

Here’s an even simpler cilantro version that is wonderful sprinkled over dirty rice. For the dirty rice, follow a recipe like this one from Dine and Dish or just mix together (gently with a fork) hot cooked rice, canned black beans (drained and then warmed in the microwave) and chili powder to taste. Smoked paprika and cumin love being in there too.

Oh, and if you’re a cilantro lover, be sure to also check out my recipe for ribeye pork chops with berry-cilantro sauce. You’ll love them!

Ribeye Pork Chop with Berry-Cilantro Sauce

Let’s dig in to some of this delicious cilantro orange gremolata!

Cilantro Orange Gremolata
Got leftovers? Mix in a bit of olive oil and store in a sealed container for a day or two or in the freezer for much longer.
Recipe type: Sauce
Serves: ½ cup
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated orange rind
  • a sprinkle of salt and pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Allow everyone to sprinkle a bit onto their meal, if they’re o.k. with adding some green to their food.
  2. But warn everyone: Gremolata is potent stuff. A little goes a long way. Too much can overpower. Add a little bit, stir it in, taste. Add more if you want or stop there.


Check out the other post in my Series: Kid-Friendly Fare with Adult-Friendly Flare:

When Kid-Friendly Fare Needs Adult Friendly Flare

Use Booze: A Port Reduction to Adult-It-Up


  1. How to Use a Port Reduction to Add Grown-up Flavor — January 9, 2015
  2. Cook the Story » Blog Archive » If You Can’t Stand The Heat, You Can Still Hang In My Kitchen (Thai Curry and Mango Salad For Picky Palates) — April 14, 2011
  3. Cook the Story » Blog Archive » When Kid-Friendly Fare Needs Adult-Friendly Flare — April 12, 2011
  4. How to Have Your Mushrooms and Eat Them Too « Cook the Story — April 7, 2011
  5. How to Have Your Mushrooms and Eat Them Too « Cook the Story — April 7, 2011
  6. It’s Springtime: How Do You Use Up Lettuce and Herbs? « Cook the Story — April 5, 2011
  7. Springtime Transitions « Cook the Story — April 5, 2011

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