Parsley? Who knew?

When I was a little girl, we didn't eat dinner out very often--maybe once or twice a year. I do remember some special dinners being served with a tiny piece of greenery decorating the plate. I thought that was pretty cool. I mean, mom never served dinner like that. Bright green parsley was just the right touch of color. Sometimes I would it eat--it was kind of strange stuff--though most adults just left the parsley on their plate after finishing their meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. I mean, what was the point of a dab of green?

Now we know that fresh parsley is loaded with vitamins C, K, beta-carotene, folate, iron, and has lots of flavenoid antioxidant power. Yes, even the herbs we season and decorate with can indeed make us healthier. Our challenge is, we need to learn to eat them, not just look at them.

Parsley can bring wonderful flavor and color to all sorts of dishes. We need to have a little courage and try to use it in a new way, and imagine that you are sprinkling bits of nutritious magic along the way.

To get started, the next time you are in the grocery store, I want you to pick out one bundle of fresh parsley--curly or flat leaf (it's less than $1 here) Flat leaf or Italian parsley is more fragrant and less bitter than its curly leaf cousin. Find a bunch that looks crisp, dark and fresh (no slimy areas.) Smell it. Enjoy the experience! Check out all the fresh herbs you see---cilantro, fresh thyme, sage. Smell them all. If one seems heavenly to you, bring that one home, too! I do this every week, then I make a game of trying to use up my fresh parsley, cilantro or herbs before they spoil. It's fun and encourages lots of variety in my cooking.

When you get home, don't wash the parsley, just tuck it into a paper towel wrap and into a plastic bag. Then, pop it into the veggie drawer. Wash it just before you use it.
  • Tossed Green Salad. Take a couple of handfuls of parsley, and chop it coarsely. Toss it in with your favorite salad. It gives a wonderful new texture and flavor. Great with a splash of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dash of salt and fresh ground pepper. I love it!
  • Soups or Stews. Chop a handful of either type of parsley and add just before serving. Use dried parsley if you'd rather for these.
  • Cottage Cheese Dip. Take your favorite low fat cottage cheese and add a handful (1/3 cup) chopped curly leaf parley, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp. light mayonnaise. Blend well. Serve with fresh veggies or whole grain crackers.
  • Chicken Dishes. So many chicken dishes lend themselves well to parsley. Sprinkle on a a big handful of chopped fresh parsley just before serving.
  • Beef and Pork Roasts. Add a big handful of chopped parsley in the last few minutes of cooking.
This week, take the Parsley Challenge! See how many different ways you can utilize this super food, as you imagine sprinkling on all those wonderfully healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

Let us in on all the great ways you have to use parsley. And remember...

For Your Health, Go for the Green!