Parsley – Green, Virtuous And So Much More Than A Garnish

Parsley is too often overlooked as an ingredient in its own right and considered a garnish for many.   This is a practice that dates back to Ancient Greece where parsley was sacred and used to adorn winners of sporting tournaments and decorate tombs of the dead.  It might also be because parsley is a food stimulant.  So if you have no appetite or aren’t feeling well, eating a little parsley could stimulate your hunger away.

Parsley packs a medicinal punch

Parsley punches above its weight nutritionally and is a herb with so many health benefits to boast.  The most important of which can help all of us at this time of year is Vitamin C.  Just four tablespoons – about half a bunch – could contribute just under half of the recommended daily allowance!

It’s also rich in iron which again is something I certainly need at this busy time of year to stop that burn out and sense of constant fatigue.  Parsley tea is said to be a great way to boost your natural iron content every day. Personally I’m not a fan.  It just tastes like hot weed water to me but if you want to give it a go, try one tablespoon of parsley to one mug of water.  Boil away for five minutes, strain and drink.  I tried adding honey but it still didn’t appeal! I wish it did because it’s an all round great drink because as well as the iron it’s good for calming your tunny down and stopping that bloating feeling which I always get at this time of year too.

Keep it raw for that smug, virtuous smile

To keep all the flavour and goodness from the parsley  use it at the end of the cooking process or keep it raw.

Tabbouleh is one of my favourite virtuous and green dishes.  It’s quick, easy and leaves you feeling all healthy and full.  My versions are always different but for something really authentic try this one from Taste of Beirut.

tabbouleh, parsley

Tabbouleh by Taste of Beirut

My five minute virtuous wonder - Parsley Pesto

My personal, go-to, virtuous dish du jour is Parsley Pesto.  It has a multitude of uses and is so quick to make.

I use it with pasta and add in another green vegetables like green beans or courgettes…

Parsley

Linguine with green beans and parsley pesto

Over Christmas it served as a very lovely dip with Pretzels and was also perfect on top of some Turkish flatbread with goat’s cheese and pomegranates.

Parsley

Parsley pesto canapes

What’s your green and virtuous wonder? How do you use parsley? 

19 responses to “Parsley – Green, Virtuous And So Much More Than A Garnish

  1. I love almost all herbs and I always try to have parsley on hand. I’m not fussy abut what kind either. Sometimes other herbs can be a bit intrusive but parsley is always welcome. And lemon. the two together can lift most things with out taking over. Don’t know if I could stick the parsley tea either! As for the iron, I know it has loads but I’m not sure how much of it we as humans actually are able to absorb. Still, even a bit helps :D

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    • I love the lemony version of this pesto too. I must update the recipe with that actually. As you say it’s all about getting the good stuff in in different ways isn’t it? I love the versatility of pesto. We’re just about to have it mixed with some breadcrumbs on top of fish. Lovely peppery taste

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  2. Great post, I totally agree re using lots of it as a main part of a dish rather than a garnish. Made a great salad with raw carrot, beetroot and lots of parsley and coriander today from ‘Jerusalem’ Ottolenghi book.

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  3. Never tried parsley tea – and I’m not sure if I want to after reading your description! I love using parsley though – tabbouleh, salsa verde, and with parmesan to flavour frittata.

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  4. Hugh FW described it as being used like ‘green tinsel’! I often have cravings for taboulleh – with herbs as the main feature not like the UK versions you see (mainly burghul). So healthy.

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  5. Great post, a very underrated herb.

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  6. Scientifically speaking, parsley contains active compounds which mean that it can be used as an abortifacient – a sort of rudimentary morning after pill (week after, really). It’s also pretty good chopped up with smoked salmon.

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    • Blimey! That’s far healthier than taking the morning after pill. I think that’s why we Indian women are not allowed to eat it during early pregnancy too. I like the idea of it chopped up with smoked salmon. Nice alternative to dill

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  7. It’s growing like a weed in my garden in Sydney at the moment, and have to admit that i often overlook it. You have inspired me to get to know parsley a bit better. And pasta with parsley pesto and beans is now on the next week’s menu! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. I’m a big fan of parsley too, and it makes a mighty fine virtuous pesto doesn’t it?!. I’ve never thought of making it with sunflower seeds but I can’t wait to try. Love the look of your turkish flatbread, pesto, goats cheese and pomegranate.

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  9. I adore parsley, and these recipes look exciting. I thought it worth pointing out in case some readers aren’t aware, like sage, parsley is to be avoided by breastfeeding women as it dramatically reduces the milk supply. I shall be bookmarking these recipes for the future when i can try them!

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  10. I imagine it must be related to the abortifacient properties, but I know I have seen parsley and sage proscribed in many breastfeeding resources, as well as anecdotally noticing a difference in my own supply.

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