Difference Between Cilantro and Italian Parsley (With Table)

Each country, state, and family has its special and different kinds of cuisines and dishes. Ingredients play a very important role in the making of a dish. Each ingredient whether small or big plays a vital role in changing or adding taste and making it special. Ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, or herbs each come with different flavors, colors, nutritional value, etc.

There are various kinds of fruits, vegetables, and herbs available in the market. Even the simplest ingredient can bring out the best in form of flavors. The key is to use the best and fresh quality. Cilantro and Italian parsley are two examples of herbs.

Cilantro vs Italian Parsley

The difference between cilantro and Italian parsley is that cilantro known as coriander or Chinese parsley is round, a lighter shade of green and lacy leaves whereas Italian parsley which is also known as flat-leaf parsley has flat, pointed edges and a little dark shade of green. They both vary in flavors.

Cilantro is an herb that belongs to the Apiaceae family and Coriandrum sativum is its scientific name. All parts of cilantro can be consumed (edible). It is also called coriander, dhania, and Chinese parsley. Cilantro has round; light, or sometimes dark green and lacy leaves. It is an annual herb; its dried seeds and leaves are widely used in cooking to add flavors.

Italian parsley is an herb variety of the parsley plant; flat-leaf parsley is another name for Italian parsley. The leaves are flat, dark green, and pointy. It is a species of the Apiaceae family and Petroselinum neapolitanum is its scientific name. This is a biennial herb plant. The entire plant from stem to leaves is edible the plant has a strong stem and divided leaves.

Comparison Table Between Cilantro and Italian Parsley

 Parameters of Comparison Cilantro Italian Parsley
 What is it Cilantro is an herb that is part of the Apiaceae family and is an annual plant. Italian parsley is a form of parsley herb which is a part of the Apiaceae family and is a biennial plant.
 Scientific Name Coriandrum Sativum. Petroselinum neapolitanum.
 Shape and Color of the Leaf Round, lacy, and light or dark green Flat, pointy, and a little dark green.
 Native to  Southern Europe, northern Africa to southwestern Asia. Mediterranean (Turkey, southern Italy, etc) and Middle Eastern cuisines.
 EtymologyCilantro is a Spanish word derived from the Latin word ‘Coriandrum’ Italian parsley is a form of parsley derived from the Greek word ‘Petros’, which means rock as it grows in rocky terrain.
 Used in Indian chutneys, sauces, salads, and many Mexican dishes, etc. pasta sauces, garnishing in salads, Lebanese dishes, etc.
 Other Names Chinese parsley, coriander, or dhaniya Flat-leaf parsley

What is Cilantro?

Cilantro is a very popular and widely used herb. It is a part of the Apiaceae family and has a scientific name known as Coriandrum Sativum. Cilantro is an annual herb, i.e. – it completes its life cycle in one growing season. Each part of the plant that includes the stem, seeds, and leaves can be consumed (edible). People prefer and consume the dried seeds as a spice and the fresh leaves in cooking as the main ingredient or as a garnish.

It has a strong flavor and aroma that brings a wonderful touch to your dishes. Few people say it’s a little sour like a lime or lemon whereas few say that it tastes like dish soap. Few people might also be allergic to cilantro.  

Cilantro is popular in America and as we know it is used all over the world and hence it has different names in different places. The other names are coriander, dhaniya( colloquial term in India), and also Chinese parsley. Southern Europe, northern Africa to southwestern Asia is native regions of cilantro. Both the words are cilantro and coriander are primarily derived from the Latin word ‘Coriandrum’ but the only difference is Cilantro is a Spanish word and coriander is derived from the French word ‘coriandre’.

Cilantro is very nutritious, it provides us with several vitamins like A, C, K, E, etc along with many dietary minerals. A study proved that the flavor element in cilantro can help us kill dangerous bacteria called salmonella. It has many other health benefits. Cilantro is used in many dishes all over the world; it is either used as the key ingredient or as a garnish. Salsas, Indian chutneys, sauces, guacamole are few dishes in which it acts as a main or the supporting ingredients. When the leaves are subjected to heat it tends to lose its flavors and become moist, hence people usually use it at the end of the cooking process.

What is Italian Parsley?

 Italian parsley is a form of the famous herb, parsley. It is part of the Apiaceae family and has the scientific name Petroselinum neapolitanum. Italian parsley is a biennial herb, i.e. a plant that takes 2 years to complete its biological cycle (in temperate climatic conditions).

Italian parsley is also known as the flat-leaf parsley. The leaves are flat, dark, and pointy. Even though the whole plant is edible, only the leaves are the most commonly used. It is either used as a whole or chopped. It is also available in a dry form. The fresh leaves have a robust flavor and can add richness to your cooking. It is a well-known herb in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It can be planted during the spring or the fall season.

Italian parsley is rich in iron, is a low-calorie herb, and rich in vitamins. It can also be used as a natural breathe sweetener. It is said that Italian parsley helps in controlling cholesterol, as it contains a good level of antioxidants. Various other problems like gum diseases, neuronal damage, cancerous tumors, common cold, etc can be prevented or reduced by the consumption of parsley.  

Italian parsley is used in salads, dips, pasta sauces, various other Lebanese and French cuisines, etc. It can withstand heat during the cooking process.

Main Differences Between Cilantro and Italian Parsley

  1. Cilantro is an herb that is part of the Apiaceae family and is an annual plant whereas Italian parsley is a form of parsley herb which is a part of the Apiaceae family and is a biennial plant.
  2. The scientific name of cilantro is Coriandrum Sativum whereas the scientific name of Italian parsley is Petroselinum neapolitanum.
  3. Cilantro leaves are round, lacy, and light or dark green whereas Italian parsley is flat, pointy and a little dark green.
  4. Cilantro is also called Chinese parsley, coriander, or dhaniya whereas Italian parsley is also called flat-leaf parsley.
  5. Southern Europe, northern Africa to southwestern Asia is native regions of cilantro whereas Italian parsley is native to Mediterranean (turkey, southern Italy, etc) and Middle Eastern cuisines.
  6. Cilantro is a Spanish word derived from the Latin word ‘Coriandrum’ whereas Italian parsley is a form of parsley derived from the Greek word ‘Petros’, which means rock as it grows in rocky terrain.

Conclusion

It can get confusing as there are many herbs and leafy vegetables that look the same but learning their differences in names, taste, where, when, and how to use them is very important, or else it can change the entire dish. The green herbs look great when garnished on a dish.

Every food item has its pros and cons and each individual prefers ingredients according to their taste and preferences. The ingredients taste different and bring a unique change to each dish. There are so many types of herbs in this world, few are rich in nutrition.

References

  1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf950814c
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/jf00081a015
x
2D vs 3D video