The Herb Series: Parsley

The Herb Series: Parsley

PARSLEY

Fun fact! Parsley was thought to be sacred by the ancient Greeks and has been cultivated for over 2,500 years. It is a rich, dense source of vitamin C, K and E, as folic acid and iron. And, is extremely rich in the minerals calcium and potassium and has high percentages of carotenoids and flavonoids.

parsley picHealth Benefits:

  • Parsley contains volatile oils that have been shown to inhibit tumor formation and increase antioxidant formation in the blood.
  • Its carminative properties reduces flatulence and colic.
  • Parsley is an emmenagogue, meaning it stimulates the menses, therefore be cautious and do not use in large amounts if you’re currently pregnant.
  • Does parsley have any other special attributes? Yes. Parsley is an excellent breath freshener!

Adding parsley to your cooking and recipes not only enhance brightness and flavor but it’s also easy and fun to explore new ways to incorporate them in.

Ways to use parsley in your cooking:

  • Add chopped fresh parsley to salads, soups, sauces, vegetable sautés and grilled meats.
  • Add to pesto sauce for more texture and green color.
  • Tabbouleh salad with parsley, bulgur wheat or quinoa, garlic,mint, lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Great for juicing or when making broths.
  • Easy tapenade with parsley, olives, pistachios, and olive oil: This is one of my FAVORITE recipes and is always a hit at parties!
TIP: Add fresh parsley at the end of cooking to retain its color, flavor and freshness!

 Recipe: Parsley Tabbouleh

 parsley tabbouleh
Servings: 4

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup water
1/2 cup bulgur or quinoa
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tomatoes, diced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, (about 2 bunches)

  1. Combine water and bulgur or quinoa in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand until the water is absorbed and the bulgur/quinoa is tender, 25 minutes or according to package directions. If any water remains, drain bulgur/quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber and scallions to the bulgur. Add the dressing and toss.
  3. Serve at room temperature or chill for at least 1 hour to serve cold.
    Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

 

 

Recipe adapted from EatingWell.com

The Herb Series: Basil

The Herb Series: Basil

I’m very excited to start this Herb Series on various culinary herbs. Each post will highlight a particular herb and easy ways to incorporate it into your daily eating. 

Herbs are such a nutritious and delicious way to upgrade your nutrition!

So let’s start with a favorite: BASIL!

Fun fact! There are more than 60 varieties of basil besides the sweet basil we are most familiar, including lemon basil, Thai basil, cinnamon basil and holy basil.

three herbs pic_2Benefits of BASIL

  • good source of flavonoids, particularly those found to protect cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxidation
  • antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties
  • effective in restricting growth of certain bacteria namely e coli and staphylococcus aureus
  • good source of vitamins K, A, calcium and potassium and beta-carotene

 

BASIL in cooking and recipes

  • Pesto with garlic, olive oil and a nut (walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios)
  • Add to fruit and fruit smoothies for a refreshing twist. Especially delicious with watermelon and other melons!
  • Add to water with slices of citrus for a pretty and tasty treat
  • Caprese salad of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil
  • Add to the top of stir fry, pasta dishes or soups for a fresh taste and added flavor

Tip: Store basil in the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel in a plastic bag.  Can also be frozen.  Even better idea is to buy a basil plant! Very easy to grow!

Want some basil inspiration? Check out this Huffington Post article with over 34 ways to use basil in a recipe! Yum!

What’s your favorite way to use basil?

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