Why You Should Reconsider Your Feelings About Parsley

Desiree Nielsen, host of Gusto TV's The Urban Vegetarian, is a champion of parsley. "Parsley's a seriously underrated herb. I don't know who decided to relegate it to just a garnish but if you know him, let me know and I'll beat him with a carrot,"  she said, per to SBS. How do we know parsley is underrated? It's the kind of thing you have to look for ways to use since the bunch you bought just to get a tablespoon of is wilting in your refrigerator.

SF Gate explains that curly parsley frequently appears on restaurant plates simply to take up space, and it's typically left on that plate, though chewing on parsley can be used as a means of freshening breath after eating, a practice dating back to ancient Rome. Fine Dining Lovers points out that parsley, which originated in the Mediterranean, features fairly prominently in Middle Eastern, Italian, French, and Argentine cuisine. Why, then, is parsley relegated to garnish status in American cooking? What are we missing when it comes to parsley?

Parsley adds lots of flavor ... and that's not all

Since parsley is such an overlooked ingredient, it's no surprise that it topped Vogue's article on underrated foods. They cite Amanda Cohen, chef and owner of NYC's Michelin-starred restaurant Dirt Candy, who's become a parsley convert. "I used to be very dismissive of parsley and think of it just as a silly garnish," Cohen told Vouge, adding "it's a great flavor enhancer that adds a blast of bright, green flavor to a dish and brings out the best in vegetables." Dietician and TV host Desiree Nielsen agrees, extolling the virtues of the affordable and verdant herb that boosts both the flavor and the color of dishes. 

If the flavor of the herb that Fine Dining Lovers notes is a feature in dishes like tabbouleh, baba ganoush, osso bucco, and chimichurri isn't enough to pull you into parsley's corner, then what about its nutritional benefits? Healthline points out that fresh parsley is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and antioxidants. And according to SF Gate, parsley outstrips herbs like basil, dill, chives, and cilantro as a source of nutrients betacarotene, vitamin C, folate, iron, and potassium. Rather than fretting over ways to keep a bunch of parsley fresh after we've used just a bit as a sprinkle of color, we should embrace the herb for its fresh flavor and nutritional value.