Parsley is a wonder-herb with an incredible number of health-inducing properties. Since ancient times it has been crushed up and used in traditional medicine to treat everything from heavy menstrual bleeding and constipation to hypertension (high blood pressure) and infections. It has even been cooked into poultices and used to heal bruises, bites, as well as cracked, damaged skin. Modern-day researchers have discovered that parsley health benefits are so many because it is a powerfully rich source of vitamin K (amongst other essential micro-nutrients) which you need for normal blood-clotting and strong bones. In medicine, researchers have isolated compounds in parsley essential oil which can stop the formation of tumors and in some cases even help reduce the size of existing growths – leading to its classification as a chemo-preventive food.
Adding Parsley to Your Diet
All of this means that parsley is a pretty amazing food, and that you should definitely be incorporating it into your diet. Although, according to folk-lore this herb is best when stewed into medicines or rubbed into cuts, there are much better – and tastier – ways to enjoy the incredible natural parsley benefits.
While it has a sterling reputation as a garnish, flicking it off your main course so you can tuck in, doesn’t let you reap the benefit of any of its incredible potent benefits. I think that any food that can do so much for you deserves to be celebrated at the table – not just chopped up and sprinkled on top of pasta, especially when it has such a bright, clean taste and grassy fresh flavor!
My Parsley Uses:
Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad which was probably Lebanese or Syrian peasant-food in origin, but is now a recurrent salad on Israeli and Arab tables, as well as a popular accompaniment to meat and fish dishes across the region.
Finely shred a bunch of fresh, flat-leaf parsley and a few mint leaves and combine with just-cooked, fine bulgur wheat and tiny diced pieces of the freshest tomatoes. Seasoned simply with salt and pepper, a little olive oil and possibly some freshly squeezed lemon juice, this is a sharp salad redolent with the flavors of the Middle East.
Spice It Up With Salsa
Salsa Verde is a strongly flavored, intensely savory, green sauce with a coarse texture that hails from the rustic countryside of Southern Italy. Finely chop a big bunch of parsley with some garlic, capers and possibly anchovies or onion, then stir in vinegar, olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. Alternatively, dump the whole lot in a processor and blend until coarse. This green sauce has a killer depth of flavor. Use it as a dipping sauce for crusty bread or serve with grilled meat or fish as a delicious accompaniment.
Pesto is traditionally made from fragrant summer basil and delicately flavored pine nuts, but a more robust, deeply flavored sauce can be made from combining parsley with walnuts. Combine flat leaf parsley and walnuts with a little salt in a processor and, while pulsing, stream in olive oil to create an almost-smooth pesto. My favorite way to use this sauce is tossed with spaghetti and sprinkled liberally with freshly grated Parmesan.
Parsley Tea? No, Parsley Juice
Juice is so much more than the little cartons of apple and orange juice you used to take to school in your lunch box. Any combination of fruits and vegetables can be turned into unique, health-promoting, sickness-reducing juices. The advantage of doing it yourself means that you can add delicious ingredients in the quantities you like best. Try adding some parsley leaves to your next green juice. I think it’s particularly great in a smoothie-like juice made by combining a generous handful of parsley with spinach or kale, apple, cucumber and avocado. Try leaving out the avocados and adding tomatoes, celery or mango instead.
Warm potato salad is so much more decadent and delicious than its cold, mayonnaise-y cousin. Put a pan of new or peeled, cubed potatoes on to boil. Meanwhile, shred a large pile of a combination of herbs of your choosing – my favorites are parsley, chives, and dill. When the potatoes are soft, drain them and return them to their pan. Quickly add your prepared herbs with a good slug of olive oil or knob of butter as well as a decent sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine and put the lid back on the pan: this lets the herb-y flavors steep into the spuds as they steam. This is a great side to serve with oven-baked oily fish like salmon.
Finally, you could always of course just stick with tradition and add a generous amount of chopped parsley into salads, pasta sauces, or on top of your favorite dish. Parsley is so packed with vitamins, minerals, and other essential micro-nutrients that keep you healthy and running at your fullest capacity that it’s absolutely worth adding into your diet! Parsley benefits are so many that I may have missed a few, please leave a comment below for your favorite parsley uses and parsley health benefits!