Coriander is considered to taste lemony and sometimes warm and nutty by a majority of people. This dominant flavor of coriander can be attributed to the presence of the chemical compounds linalool and pinene.
Parsley, on the other hand, is comprehended to have a bitter taste and also citric to some extent. Some even consider parsley to taste “fresh”. These characteristics are largely due to the presence of the compound 1, 3, 8-p-menthatriene.
Coriander vs Parsley
The difference between coriander and parsley lies in the smell and flavor perceived when they are added to a cooked dish. Both are commonly used as spices or garnishes to enhance the flavor of a meal.
The major reason why these two herbs are confused is because of their similar looking leaves. But it is worth noting that coriander has a light green color whereas parsley leaves are darker green in color.
Comparison Table Between Coriander and Parsley (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Coriander||Parsley|
|Leaf Color||Light green||Dark green|
|Flavor||Warm, lemony, nutty||Fresh, bitter, citric|
|Part of the plant consumed||Leaves, roots, stem, seed||Leaves and sometimes root|
|Used in terms of locality||Mostly Asia and some parts of Europe, Africa and America||Mediterranean region and American Continent|
|Aroma||Strong and pungent||Mild|
What is Coriander?
Coriander has many common names such as cilantro, dhaniya or Chinese parsley but scientifically it is known as Coriandrum sativam. It is a light green colored, flat leaved, soft plant that is used as a herb in many Indian and middle eastern cuisines.
Coriander has a vague origin story but its use can be traced back to as far as 2000 BC. It was found noted in a 1500 BC Egyptian papyrus among other medicinal plants and in Chinese scripts from 5th century.
Widely used in the Asian subcontinent, this herb has made its name for imparting a fresh aroma and a strong flavor. Different parts of coriander, leaves, stems, seeds and roots, are largely used both as spices and herbs.
While the leaves are used for garnishing, coriander seeds are dried and powdered to be used as spices. However, Coriander leaves and seeds have completely different taste and cannot be substituted for each other.
Coriander seeds have several medicinal properties relating to the presence of the essential fatty oils in it. They are useful in treating several digestive problems and even ulcers and rheumatism.
What is Parsley?
Parsley, a cousin to coriander, was given the botanical name Petroselinum crispum. There are three varieties of parsley that are used for food preparations, Curley leaf, Flat leaf and Root parsley.
Although Parsley originally belonged to Sardinia, its history seems to be bound heavily with Greek mythology and folklore indicating its existence way back into the past. However, parsley gained its popularity in England around 1500s.
This dark green colored leaf soon became a constant in the Western diet and since then there has been no looking back. Cultivation of parsley has now spread worldwide with its impressive fresh feel and anise like flavor.
Parsley has been indicated to have several medicinal values and is known to resolve dietary problems such as flatulence and eating disorders. Parsley also has been noted to have hepatoprotective and immune boosting effects to some extent.
Parsley leaves are loved by health experts for its high content of vitamin A, C and K and minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. However overdoses of Parsley over a long term can cause allergic skin reactions.
Parsley is known to help in smoothening menstruation cycles. But it is also reported to cause abortions in 2 to 3 months pregnant women when taken in combination with certain Chinese herbs such as in Dong Quai.
Main Differences Between Coriander and Parsley
- Coriander has a warm, nutty and lemony flavor whereas parsley is conceived to have a fresh citric yet bitter peppermint like flavor.
- Coriander is deemed to have a stronger, more pungent aroma than parsley, whose smell is considered mild and grassy.
- Parsley dominates the spices in western cuisine whereas cilantro/coriander is a basic in many eastern cuisines.
- Only parsley leaves and rarely the roots are used as condiments whereas for the plant of coriander, all its parts are put to use be it as spices or herbs.
- Parsley is nutritionally rich than its cousin coriander, given that it is steeped with essential vitamins and minerals.
Although coriander and parsley are both heavily used by maestros all over the world, the confusion between the two could lead to disastrous alterations to the cooked food. Since coriander has a more pungent flavor than parsley, these two definitely cannot be swapped for each other.
Coriander is often used in the combination of cumin which is considered to blend perfectly and create a spicy ensemble. Parsley too has found its use in combination with chervil, dill, caraway, fennel and many more and is renowned among top chefs for complementing these spices suitably well.
Parsley is widely used in garnishing or enhancing the flavors in western cuisine such as in pasta, salads, and pizzas or in cooking fish such as salmon. Coriander on the other hand is used heavily in Thai Curries and Indian Curries such rasam and sambar.
Both parsley and coriander has been noted to have their share of medicinal properties and cure many digestive diseases and menstrual problems. Although they have a bunch of health benefits, overuse of any could lead to undesirable side effects.
Coriander overdose can in turn lead to digestive problems whereas parsley has been reported to cause skin irritations and even abortions when used in certain combinations and doses.