Saturday, July 07, 2012

Cooking Tips for Gardeners: Cooking with Fresh Parsley

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint

Even though I grew up with a mom who would nibble the garnish of parsley from her plate when we ate in restaurants, I was well into adulthood before I developed a real appreciation of this grassy-flavored herb.  Now I can't get enough of it, and grow both curly parsley and flat leaf parsley in my garden.  Some cooks adore the flat-leaf Italian parsley and ignore the curly type, but I like both, and actually prefer curly parsley in some salads where it adds an interesting texture.

In the garden parsley is a biennial, which means the plant will produce leaves for two years.  I find it's relatively easy to grow, and if you neglect your plants a little in the fall they will drop seeds which keeps parsley plants coming up in that spot year after year.  If you start parsley from purchased seed you'll have to be patient because the seeds take a long time to germinate (although soaking them overnight before planting can help a lot.)  Parsley plants do best when they're trimmed through the season to remove seeds and dead leaves.

In many parts of the world, parsley and other leafy herbs are eaten almost as a salad green, and I've come to love salads that have a generous amount of parsley, often combined with fresh mint.  I also like it very much as an ingredient in ground meat dishes and soups or stews.  I think parsley works especially well with tomatoes, cucumbers, dried beans, beef, chicken, lemon, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, and squash, but it's good with many other flavors.  Even if you don't have it in your garden, parsley is one herb that's inexpensive and readily available year round, so if you haven't used it too much it's a flavor I hope I can inspire you to gain more appreciation for.   You can't go wrong with the Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint pictured above, and here are ten more of my favorite recipes for using parsley where it's much more than a garnish.

White Bean Salad with Tuna and Parsley
Ever since I first tried White Bean Salad with Tuna and Parsley, it's something I've made over and over every summer.


Bulgur Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon
I don't like tomatoes and cucumbers in my Tabbouleh Salad, but I love the combination in this Bulgur Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon.


Carrot and Parsley Salad
There aren't many ingredients in this Carrot and Parsley Salad, but it's loaded with flavor.   This is something I'd make all winter with parsley from the store.


Cucumber, Onion, and Parsley Salad with Feta Cheese
In this Cucumber, Onion, and Parsley Salad with Feta Cheese, the parsley is a perfect flavor accent for the other ingredients.


Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint, and Parsley
The fresh mint and parsley give this Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint, and Parsley that middle-eastern salad flavor I love so much!


Middle Eastern Bean Salad with Parsley and Lemon
This Middle Eastern Bean Salad with Parsley and Lemon is another salad combination that's perfect to eat for lunch all summer long!


Parsley Hummus with Whole Wheat Pita Chips
I like pretty much every type of hummus, but this Parsley Hummus with Whole Wheat Pita Chips is definitely one of my favorites when I'm making hummus at home.


Val's Sweet Cabbage Slaw with Green Onion and Parsley
The parsley flavor is a bit of a surprise in Val's Sweet Cabbage Slaw with Green Onion and Parsley, but it really works with the cabbage and sweet dressing.


Middle Eastern Tomato Salad (Salad Shirazi)
Before I even had a blog my friend Massoud taught me to make this Middle Eastern Tomato Salad (Salad Shirazi), and that may have been the beginning of my appreciation for parsley!


Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce
It's the spices plus chopped mint and parsley mixed into the meat that makes these Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce something I couldn't stop eating when I tested the recipe.


Here are lots more ideas for cooking with fresh parsley, because I know once you try it, you're going to want to keep using it.  (Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

More Parsley with Beans and Grains:
Roasted Chickpeas with Raisins, Parsley, and Mint from The Perfect Pantry
Carrot, Parsley, and Garbanzo Salad with Feta and Cumin from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa Cakes with Lemon, Olive, and Parsley from Love and Olive Oil
Black Quinoa and Red Lentil Salad with Parsley from Healthy Green Kitchen
Spicy Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad with Peperoncini, Tomatoes and Parsley from Kalyn's Kitchen

More Parsley with Vegetables:
Marinated Tomato Salad with Parsley and Marjoram Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen
Stewed Parsley with Tomatoes and Onions from A Life(time) of Cooking
Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cheesy Zucchini with Garlic and Parsley from Kalyn's Kitchen
Lemon-Marinated Brussels Sprouts with Parsley and Shallots from The Kitchn

More Parsley with Meat, Poultry, or Fish:
Shrimp with Cilantro-Parsley Sauce from My Colombian Recipes
Saffron Chicken with Parsley and Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen
Meatballs with Mint and Parsley in Tomato Sauce from Turntable Kitchen
Roasted wild Salmon with Mustard-Mint-Parsley Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen
Irish Beef Stew with Stout and Parsley Dumplings from Dinner with Julie

More Parsley in Sauces and Dressings:
Parsley Pesto Pasta from Budget Bytes
Chimichurri (Argentinian Parsley Sauce) from Herbivoracious
Parsley Pesto with Sundried Tomatoes from Elana's Pantry
Parsley-Cilantro Marinade and Dipping Sauce from Andrea Meyers
Vegan Basil Mint Parsley "Pesto" from Gluten Free Goddess

More Parsley in Soup:
Parsley Soup from Yumblog
Parsnip Soup with Leeks and Parsley from Simply Recipes
Summer Squash Soup with Parsley-Mint Pistou from Smitten Kitchen
Potato and Parsley Soup with Olive Tapenade from Soup Chick
Turkey and Wild Rice Soup with Cabbage, Parsley and Sage from Kalyn's Kitchen

Even More Parsley Recipes and Ideas:
What's the Deal with Parsley from Simply Recipes
In 2008 I wrote a series about Cooking with Fresh Herbs for BlogHer.com and shared lots of good ideas for cooking with parsley.

Do you share my love of fresh parsley?  If you have a good recipe using this herb, please feel free to leave your recipe link in a comment.  You can see the other Cooking Tips for Gardeners by clicking the label.

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17 comments:

  1. Awesome collection Kalyn! I definitely have parsley growing in my garden. I've pinned this collection to save it. Here's my favorite super fast chicken recipe using parsley, yum! http://amandascookin.com/2009/06/chicken-with-garlic-parsley.html

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  2. Amanda, I knew you would! Thanks for sharing a recipe.

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  3. Fresh parsley just makes every dish fresh and vibrant. What a collection you have! (I adore your parsley hummus and actually posted a version of it about a year ago!) I can't wait to try some of your salads.

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  4. Thanks Heather! I agree about the way parsley just brightens up the flavors when you use it in a dish.

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  5. It is funny how parsley is so often overlooked and used just as a garnish. Love this nice collection of recipes where parsley plays a starring role.

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  6. Jeanette, it is something I ALWAYS have in the fridge or garden!

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  7. These pictures just pop! The green parsley is so vivid! My poor garden parsley is struggling a bit. But today at the farmers market I picked up a batch of something called "parsley spread," a very fresh, pesto-style dip. One way or another, I will get my greens!

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  8. TW, hope your parsley will have a growth spurt and surprise you. I love the sound of parsley spread!

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  9. Parsley does not do well for me at all. It just bolts in the summer heat after a couple of weeks. Tips?

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  10. Pam, when mine goes to seed like that, I just cut the plant way back and it sends out new stems and leaves.

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  11. Of all the herbs I grow in my garden, parsley is the one I use most often. Fresh parsley is nothing like the limp parsley in my supermarket; it's vibrant, in both color and flavor, and completely changes the nature of any dish. Thanks for including my recipes in this terrific list. I'm taking away a lot of new ideas!

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  12. Lydia, I am thinking parsley might be the herb I use most often too, now that I think about it! Love the way it tastes so fresh.

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  13. I must admit, I am guilty of only using parsley as a garnish, but you inspired me to plant some in my garden! I had no idea it was a biennial. Lots of recipes for me to try now, thank you :)

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  14. Jane, hope you enjoy experimenting with it!

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  15. Kalyn, just wanted to share two recipes I've made with parsley in a starring role. Grilled Chicken with Parsley Salad: http://jeanetteshealthyliving.com/2012/03/grilled-chicken-with-parsley-salad-and-sun-dried-tomatoes-recipe.html
    Chimichurri Sauce (a favorite of my kids on just about anything) http://jeanetteshealthyliving.com/2010/10/how-to-dress-up-a-roasted-chicken-chimichurri-recipe.html

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  16. Oh my, all of these look scrumptious. I love parsley in salads and always have Italian parsley growing in pots.

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  17. I admit that I like the flat leaf parsley better, but any parsley adds flavor and texture and has such health benefits. I use dried parsley flakes a lot, too. Parsley is also detoxifying and removes the "bloat" per Beth at Delectably Free. Sometimes one needs that. ;-) She told us that fact when she shared her Tabbouleh recipe: http://delectablyfree.com/2010/05/tabbouleh/

    So many lovely recipes, Kalyn--thanks!
    Shirley

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible. Sometimes I'm answering by iPhone, so my replies may be short!

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