You may think of parsley as just a garnish that hangs out on the side of a plate to make food look better. Nonetheless, this green herb has a lot going for it as a condiment, food, and even medicine.
Parsley is in the same family as carrot and celery, and used by chefs, herbalists, and holistic medicine practitioners the world over. In cooking, it’s said to stimulate the appetite and improve digestion. Parsley has properties useful for oxygen metabolism and is helpful in maintaining healthy blood vessels and capillaries. Holistic health practitioners consider the herb to be a good preventative for certain cancers.
There are over thirty varieties of parsley. The two most popular are curly-leaf and flat-leaf parsley, easily found in your local market. You can use it in a variety of cuisines, from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean, to American and European dishes. Simply chop it up and sprinkle it into rice and potatoes, over steaks and chicken, into salads and stews. Another popular way to use parsley in food is to juice with it or blend it into your morning smoothie.
Aside from adding a burst of flavor to your dishes, parsley if full of healthful nutrients and antioxidants. For example, two tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley contains more than 150% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K and a good source of vitamin C and A. Parsley is a good source of antioxidants that inhibit oxidation, the reaction in the body that creates free radicals that can cause cellular damage.
The following is a recipe for Parsley Pesto. Use it on everything—eggs, pasta, veggies and grilled meats. (Borrowed from Michele Urvater and the Food Network)
2 cloves garlic
2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley
¼ cup walnuts
½ freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
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In a food processor, place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Process until they form a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste, adjust your seasoning if necessary.