Parsley is often mistaken for a “garnish” herb. Something to brighten your restaurant dinner plate only to be discarded with the trimmings.
But don’t be fooled! Parsley is an amazing powerhouse of nutrients and it should be respected as one of our best herbal medicines. In fact, that sprig of parsley may be the healthiest thing on your dinner plate!
The Amazing Benefits of Parsley
Parsley is really high in nutrients, notably Vitamin K, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It is especially high in Vitamin K. This vitamin is strongly tied to heart health and healthy bones.
Besides looking pretty, another reason you find parsley on dinner plates is because it helps to promote digestion. It is an aromatic herb that stimulates digestion and moves stagnant digestion. Ever eat a meal and feel like you have a bowling ball stuck in your stomach? Try parsley!
Parsley helps to modulate inflammation. Excess inflammation in the body is associated with muscle pain, arthritis, and degenerative diseases, including cancer.
Protects Against Cancer
Parsley stops negative angiogenesis. This happens when a tumor creates a blood supply that enables it to grow. Cutting-edge cancer research shows us that many people have cancer cells in their body but, by eating antioxidant-rich foods like parsley, we can stop cancer cells from ever growing!
The Taste of Parsley
Have you ever really tasted parsley? Parsley certainly tastes “green”, but it also has a slightly spicy and pungent taste to it. The way herbs taste is a huge clue as to how we can use them as medicines.
Spicy and pungent herbs are often used to promote digestion and reduce inflammation.
Difference Between Curly Parsley and Flat Leaf Parsley?
If you know your parsley you might notice that there are two distinct kinds that are commonly sold. One kind has really curly leaves while the other variety has a flat leaf.
What’s the difference?
You can tell a lot about herbs by their taste and this is a perfect example of letting your taste sensation be your guide. If you get a chance, taste each kind. Do they taste the same? (hint: they don’t!)
Here’s another taste question for you. Does the stem taste the same as the leaves? What’s the difference?
I’m going to let you discover the different taste of parsley for yourself.
How to use Parsley
Parsley is best used fresh. It’s easy to grow in your garden and can also be found in grocery stores all year round.
Since parsley is typically served as one sprig on the dinner plate we tend to think that is a good serving size. Not even close!
In our house we make an effort to get as much parsley in our diet as we could possibly enjoy! Food as medicine at its best.
During the hot summer months we make salads that are at least half parsley leaves. We also like to include liberal parsley garnishes with all of our meals (think small handful rather than sprig).
Another favorite way to enjoy parsley is as a pesto. Not only do you get the wonderful nutrition and benefits of parsley, you also get the wonderful qualities of walnuts, garlic, olive oil, paprika and lemon. This really is food as medicine!
We enjoy this parsley pesto on our meats, veggies and even our eggs at breakfast.
Pesto is a very forgiving mixture. If you can’t have nuts or dairy, feel free to omit them and change the recipe as you would like. It’s hard to go wrong!
What you’ll need…
- 2 cups tightly-packed flat leaf parsley leaves
- 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Throw everything in a food processor or blender. Blend on high until it forms a smooth consistency.
Store in the fridge and use within a few days. You can also freeze this parsley pesto in whatever portion size works for you.