What is Parsley?

What is parsley? Most of us recognize parsley as a common herb used in cooking. If you cook a lot, as I do, it may be possible that you use it every day in some form. There are basically three types of parsley. Two of these types are commonly found in the produce section of your supermarket. These are the curly common parsley and the flat leaf Italian parsley. Less common in this country is the turnip rooted Hamburg parsley.

What is Parsley?What is Parsley?

Curly parsley is the most easily accessible to me and has fine fern like leaves. Flat leaf Italian parsley has solid thin leaves resembling those of cilantro. I use both of these interchangeably in all recipes. What is parsley in cooking? When cooking with parsley, both the curly and flat leaf are mild in flavor. The flat leaf is a bit more “peppery” in flavor but not enough to make a difference in your recipes. The Hamburg parsley has much thicker leaves and adds more texture when making soups and stews.

Parsley can be used in different forms in your recipes. Dried parsley flakes, powder and seeds are the most convenient for keeping on hand in long term storage. For cooking with parsley, remember that the dried form is stronger in flavor so you need to use less in recipes. Fresh parsley is the only form for garnishes, either chopped or in sprigs. Parsley will stay fresh for several days in the refrigerator. I found for extended freshness it is best to place the stems in a cup of cold water and store on counter top. Rinse cup each day and refill with cold fresh water. When it begins to wilt, I trim the stems and freeze in a zip lock bag. Frozen parsley can be added to recipes just like the fresh. It just does not look good as a garnish.

What is parsley as a garnish?  Parsley is probably the most common ingredient when adding garnishes (For me it is). This is due to the constant abundant availability and because this deep green color is so pretty. A small snip of green parsley adds a beautiful touch with a lemon or tomato wedge, a piece of orange, apple or a simple sprig of parsley. Also important to note is another reason parsley is nice to add as a garnish. Many people I know, especially from countries like Italy and Greece like to chew on parsley after eating. It serves as a great breath freshener

What is parsley for health? Another advantage for having parsley as a garnish is some people eat it for digestion, to relieve water retention and bloating It is known to stimulate your digestion system and help with gastrointestinal problems. It helps eliminate the toxins and kidney stones from your body. For thousands of years parsley has been known as a medicinal herb being rich in vitamins and minerals.  

NOTE: What is parsley best served in? Parsley goes really well with recipes of cheese, eggs, fish, all kinds of meats, poultry, salads sauces and vegetables. Because of its mild flavor feel free to add finely chopped parsley to all of these recipes. Not only does it add a little extra flavor but also a little extra color for presentation.

SHRIMP AND RISOTTO with green parsley sauce

Shrimp and Risotto with Green Parsley SauceShrimp and Risotto with Green Parsley Sauce

What is parsley when mixed with shrimp and risotto? Delicious!

  • 1 Large bunch parsley (About 2 ounces)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water
  • Salt/ pepper
  • About 7 cups chicken stock (*See Note Below) (Divided)
  • ¼ Cup PLUS 2 tablespoons olive oil (Divided)
  • 2 Cups Arborio rice
  • 1 ½ Pounds large shrimp (Shell and devein)
  • 1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

NOTE: Must use LOW Sodium because it becomes too salty. If you do not have low sodium, dilute it with water or use water.

Add parsley to a saucepan of boiling water; cook for 10 seconds.

Drain parsley and quickly submerge in a bowl of ice water; drain.

Transfer parsley to a food processor; add 2 tablespoons of ice water.

Season with salt and pepper; process until smooth and let stand.

TO COOK RISOTTO put stock in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.

In another saucepan heat ¼ CUP of the oil; add the rice.

Cook and stir over high heat about 5 minutes until rice is translucent.

Add 1 CUP of the stock; cook and stir until liquid is almost absorbed.

Continue adding the stock 1 CUP at a time.

Cook and stir after each cup until liquid is almost absorbed before adding more.

NOTE: Rice is done when tender and creamy about 20 to 25 minutes.

Season rice with salt and pepper; stir in Parmesan and parsley sauce.

TO COOK SHRIMP heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet.

Add shrimp to skillet over moderate heat; season with salt and pepper.

Cook and stir about 5 minutes until shrimp is pink and firm to touch.

TO SERVE spoon risotto onto serving dishes; top with shrimp.

Garnish dishes with fresh parsley and serve; 6 to 8 servings.


What is parsley when used in okra sandwiches? Delicious!

  • 1 Package (8 Ounces) softened cream cheese
  • 1 to 2 Teaspoons milk
  • 1 Loaf white sandwich bread (24 Ounces)
  • 1 Jar (16 Ounces) pickled okra spears
  • 1 Cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Beat cream cheese until smooth adding drops of milk until spreadable.

Remove crusts from the bread; roll bread slices until very thin.

Coat each slice of the bread with the beaten cream cheese.

Place an okra spear in the center and roll up like jelly roll.

Spread a light coat of cream cheese over each rolled sandwich.

Roll each sandwich roll in the chopped parsley and serve.

Makes 20 to 24 rolls; can cut in halves or in thirds if desired.


What is parsley when blended with white wine, rum and orange juice? Delicious!

  • 6 Snapper fillets (8 Ounces each)
  • 1 Cup dry white wine
  • 1 Cup orange juice
  • ½ Cup chopped shallots
  • ¼ Cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ Cup dark rum
  • ¼ Cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ Cup soy sauce
  • 4 Cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Teaspoons dried rosemary
  • ¼ Teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable cooking spray

Place fish fillets in a large heavy duty zip lock bag.

Combine wine with next 10 ingredients; pour over the fish.

Seal bag tightly; marinate fish in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Heat oven broiler; spray broiler pan with cooking spray.

Remove fillets from the bag; place on broiler rack.

Broil fillets about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until fish flakes.

Pour marinade into a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced by half about 12 minutes.

Serve boiled marinade with the fish; serves 6.


What is parsley when serving appetizers? Delicious!

  • 2 Packages (8 Ounces each) softened cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon steak sauce
  • ½ Teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 ½ Cups minced cooked chicken
  • 1/3 Cup minced celery
  • ¼ Cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ Cup toasted chopped almonds

Beat the cream cheese, steak sauce and curry powder until smooth.

Blend in the chicken and celery; shape into a log.

Wrap log in plastic wrap; chill several hours or overnight.

Toss parsley and almonds together; roll log in mixture to coat.

Serve with crackers.

GREEN AND WAX BEANS with parsley sauce

What is parsley in sauce for fresh beans? Different and delicious!

  • 1 Pound green beans
  • 1 Pound wax beans
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Cup chicken broth
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • ½ Cup milk
  • 1 Cup chopped parsley

Place beans in a large skillet; cover with 1 inch water.

Bring beans to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low.

Simmer beans for 10 minutes until tender crisp; drain.

TO PREPARE SAUCE melt butter in 2 quart saucepan.

Over medium heat stir in flour, salt and pepper until blended.

Gradually stir in chicken broth; cook and stir until thickened.

REDUCE heat to low.

Beat yolks with milk in a small bowl; stir in a small amount of the hot sauce.

Slowly pour egg mixture into the remaining hot sauce stirring briskly.

Cook and stir briskly to prevent lumping until thickened.

NOTE: Do not boil mixture.

Stir the bean and chopped parsley into the hot sauce.


What is parsley when making hummus spread? Delicious!

  • ½ Cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame paste or sesame tahini
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Can (15 ½ Ounces) garbanzo beans (Drain)
  • ½ Teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in food processor; process until smooth.

Refrigerate for several before serving; makes cup.


What is parsley in potato dishes?

  • 6 Large potatoes (Peeled)
  • 1 Pint sour cream
  • 1 Cup grated sharp cheese
  • ¼ Cup butter
  • 1 Small onion (Grated0
  • ¾ Cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt/ pepper
  • Cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes until tender; drain off the water.

PREHEAT OVEN to 350F degrees.

Combine all the ingredients with the potatoes in large mixing bowl.

With mixer beat until well blended; pour into a greased casserole dish

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.


What is parsley when serving with pasta and vegetables?

  • 3 Bell peppers (1 each of red, yellow and green)
  • 2 Red onions (Cut in ½ inch slices)
  • 2 Yellow squash (Cut in ½ inch slices)
  • 1 Small eggplant (Cut in 1 inch chunks)
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic (Peel and cut in halves)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ Cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Pound penne pasta 
  • 1/3 Cup grated Parmesan cheese (PLUS for topping)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Divide vegetables and garlic between 2 large flat roasting pans.

Divide olive oil evenly over the pans of vegetables; toss to coat vegetables.

Sprinkle vegetables evenly with the parsley and thyme.

Bake stirring frequently about 40 minutes until browned and tender.

Season vegetables with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and RESERVE ½ CUP of the liquid.

Toss pasta, reserved ½ cup of liquid and Parmesan with vegetables.

Sprinkle with additional cheese; serves 6 to 8.


What is parsley in spaghetti sauce?

  • 1 Box (7 Ounces) spaghetti (Cook to package directions)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Small onions (Slice thin)
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • ½ Pound fresh mushrooms (Slice)
  • 3 Slices bacon (Cook crisp and crumble)
  • 6 Ripe olives (slice)
  • 1 Can (2 Ounces) anchovies (Chop)
  • 1/3 Cup fresh parsley (Chop)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet; add onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes.

Stir in mushrooms and next 3 ingredients; cover and cook over low 15 minutes.

Stir in parsley and spoon over cooked spaghetti; sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 6.


What is parsley when making sun dried tomato sauce?

  • 1 Head of garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Cup sun dried tomatoes (Canned in olive oil.
  • ½ Cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 2 Tablespoons pistachio nuts
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Drain tomatoes from olive oil and measure in a cup; set aside.

Slice off head of garlic and rub with olive oil; bake until garlic is tender.

Cool garlic; squeeze out into food processor (Garlic should be pasty).

Add tomatoes, parsley, onion, pistachios and cheese; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Process until the sauce is thick and slightly lumpy; heat and serve over pasta.

Serve over cooked angel hair pasta.


What is parsley in quiche?

  • ½ Pound pie pastry
  • ¼ Pound slab bacon (Chop)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt/ pepper

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Roll out dough and line a 9 inch quiche pan.

Prick bottom with a fork; bake for 15 minutes.


Fry bacon until golden; arrange bacon in bottom of crust.

Beat the eggs, milk and parsley together.

Season to taste and pour over the bacon.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set; serves 4 to 6.


What is parsley in a terrine? Not only delicious but adds to the presentation>

  • 1 ½ Pounds frozen spinach (Thaw, squeeze dry and chop)
  • ¾ Cup butter (Divided)
  • Salt/ pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon nutmeg
  • 9 Eggs (Divided)
  • 1 Cup chopped cooked chicken
  • ½ cup heavy cream (Divided)
  • 6 Tablespoons chopped parsley (Divided)
  • 1 Teaspoon mustard

Preheat oven to 375F degrees; grease loaf pan (9X5 inches).

Melt ¼ CUP of the butter in a skillet; add spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Cook gently stirring occasionally until tender and liquid evaporates; cool slightly.

Mix 1 EGG into the spinach; set aside.

Puree chicken in food processor adding 1-2 TABLESPOONS cream for spreading.

Season chicken mixture with pepper and 3 TABLESPOONS of parsley; set aside.

Beat remaining 8 EGGS with salt, pepper and mustard until well mixed.

Stir in remaining 3 TABLESPOONS of the parsley.

Melt REMAINING butter in saucepan; add eggs stirring gently until they begin to set.

Stir in remaining CREAM and transfer immediately to a bowl (So it doesn’t continue cooking).

Press HALF spinach mixture in bottom of loaf pan; cover with HALF scrambled egg mixture.

Top with ALL the chicken mixture; finish with remaining scrambled eggs then spinach.

Cover with foil and bake in roasting pan 1/3 filled with water for 35 to 40 minutes till set.

Allow to rest for several minutes before unmolding onto warm serving dish.