Parsley: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the health benefits of parsley, its rich vitamin and mineral content, and its culinary uses in various cuisines with our comprehensive guide.

What Is Parsley?

  • Parsley is a species of flowering plant in the Apiaceae family
  • It is native to the central and eastern Mediterranean region (Sardinia, Lebanon , Israel , Cyprus , Turkey , southern Italy , Greece , Portugal , Spain , Malta , Morocco , Algeria , and Tunisia)

Is Parsley Good For You?

Parsley is very healthy. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

10 Health Benefits Of Parsley

  1. Parsley is a source of flavonoids and antioxidants : luteolin and apigenin
  2. Parsley is a source of vitamins : vitamin K , vitamin C , and vitamin A .
    • Vitamin A plays an important role in our immune system and eye health.
      • Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help prevent age-related macular degeneration.
    • Vitamin C is good for our skin and our immune system and is an antioxidant
    • Vitamin K is a nutrient that supports bone and heart health, and is needed for proper blood clotting.
      • One tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley has more than 70% of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin K
  3. Parsley is a good source of minerals : magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium.
  4. Parsley may help with kidney health , especially for those who suffer from kidney stones
    • A study shows that rats with kidney stones treated with parsley had improved kidney stone status
  5. Parsley may help heart health
    • The Vitamin A in parsley is good because diets high in carotenoids may improve heart disease risk factors like chronic inflammation and high cholesterol
  6. Parsley may help bone health
    • Parsley is rich in vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are all essential to bone health
    • Vitamin K supports bone growth and bone mineral density
  7. Parsley may boost the immune system.
    • Research shows that apigenin (an antioxidant in parsley) regulates our immune system by reducing inflammation
  8. Parsley contains a large amount of the flavonoids (apigenin and myricetin), which may be an anticancer agent.
    • Cooking and/or drying increases the apigenin in parsley
    • Myricetin has been shown in a study to help prevent cancer . Parsley contains one of the highest concentrations of myricetin
  9. Parsley is a natural diuretic and can help reduce bloating and blood pressure
  10. Studies have shown that parsley and other green herbs and vegetables can block the cancer-causing effects of charred foods.
    • If you prefer charred steak, pairing it with green vegetables and herbs like parsley, may help reduce these potentially harmful effects

History, Background About General Facts Parsley

  • Parsley is thought to have been originally grown in Sardinia (Mediterranean area) and was cultivated around the 3rd century BC.
  • Parsley was used medicinally prior to being consumed as a food.
  • The ancient Greeks believed parsley to be sacred, using it to adorn winners of athletic contests and also for decorating the tombs.
  • The Romans were the first group of people to use parsley as a garnish.

What Are The Cuisines That Regularly Include Parsley?

  • Central, eastern, and southern European cuisines- root parsley is used as a snack or a vegetable in many soups, stews, and casseroles.
  • Southern and central Europe- parsley is part of bouquet garni , a bundle of fresh herbs used as an ingredient in stocks , soups , and sauces.
  • French -Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups, green salads, and on open sandwiches with meats or pâtés.
  • Italian -Parsley is the main ingredient in Italian salsa verde : a mixture of parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic, and sometimes bread, soaked in vinegar and also ing remolata , a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, an accompaniment to Italian veal stew and used on vegetable dishes in the US.
  • English - parsley sauce is a roux -based sauce, commonly served over fish or gammon.
  • Brazil - freshly chopped parsley and freshly chopped scallion are the main ingredients in the herb seasoning calledcheiro-verde(literally "green aroma"), which is used as key seasoning for major Brazilian dishes , including meat, chicken, fish, rice, beans, stews, soups, vegetables, salads, condiments, sauces, and stocks.
  • Argentina- chimichurri is an herb-based condiment consisting of parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar.
  • Middle Eastern- salads such as Lebanese tabbouleh ; it is also often mixed in with the chickpeas and/or fava beans while making falafel.
  • Iran -stew ghormeh sabzi.

What Is The Best Way To Store Parsley?

Parsley is an herb that can wilt and lose its freshness quickly if not stored properly. Here's the best way to store parsley:

  1. Fresh Parsley Bunch:

    • Trim the stems: Upon bringing home the parsley bunch, remove any elastic bands or ties. Trim the ends of the stems by about half an inch.
    • Place in water: Fill a jar or glass with a few inches of water and place the parsley stems in it, similar to how you would store fresh flowers. Make sure only the stems are submerged in water while keeping the leaves dry.
    • Cover with a plastic bag: Loosely cover the parsley with a plastic bag, creating a tent-like structure that allows for airflow while preventing moisture loss.
    • Store in the refrigerator: Place the jar with parsley in the refrigerator, ideally in the crisper drawer. This method can help keep the parsley fresh and crisp for up to one to two weeks.
  2. Prepped and Chopped Parsley:

    • Wash and dry: If you've already washed and chopped the parsley, ensure it is thoroughly dry before storing. Excess moisture can cause the parsley to wilt quickly.
    • Store in an airtight container: Place the chopped parsley in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
    • Refrigerate: Store the container or bag in the refrigerator. Chopped parsley can stay fresh for up to a week when stored this way.

What Are The Different Types Of Parsley?

  • The two main groups of parsley are French (curly leaf) and Italian (flat leaf)
    • Flat-leaved parsley is preferred by some gardeners because it is easier to cultivate, being more tolerant of both rain and sunshine, and is said to have a stronger flavor
    • Curly leaf parsley is preferred by others because of its more decorative appearance in garnishing.
  • A third type, sometimes grown in southern Italy, has thick leaf stems resembling celery.

Toxicity and Side Effects Of Parsley

Talk to your doctor if you take blood-thinning medication and want to eat parsley. The Vitamin K in parsley may interfere with the medication.

What Is The Best Substitute For Parsley If I Don't Have Any?

If you don't have parsley available or need a substitute for it in a recipe, there are a few alternatives you can consider depending on the purpose and flavor profile you're aiming for. Here are some options:

  1. Cilantro: Cilantro, also known as coriander leaves, can be a suitable substitute for parsley in many recipes. It has a fresh and slightly citrusy flavor. However, keep in mind that cilantro has a distinct taste that may not work well in all dishes. Use cilantro in the same quantity as parsley or adjust to taste.

  2. Basil: Basil can provide a pleasant herbaceous flavor and bright green color, making it a viable substitute for parsley in certain recipes. It has a slightly sweet and peppery taste. Use basil in a smaller quantity than parsley, as it can have a stronger flavor.

  3. Chervil: Chervil is an herb that is closely related to parsley and has a similar delicate flavor. It has a mild anise-like taste and is often used in French cuisine. Chervil can be used as a substitute for parsley in recipes that call for a milder and slightly sweet herb. Use it in the same quantity as parsley or adjust to taste.

  4. Dill: Dill has a distinct flavor with notes of anise and citrus. While it has a different taste profile than parsley, it can work as a substitute in some recipes, especially those that call for fresh herbs. Use dill in a smaller quantity than parsley, as it can be more potent in flavor.

  5. Green Onion or Scallion: Green onion or scallion tops can be used as a substitute for parsley, particularly for garnishing or adding a fresh flavor to dishes. The green parts of green onion or scallion have a mild onion-like taste that can complement various dishes.

Nutritional Facts
1 bunch
Amount per serving
3.5 g
0.4 g
1.6 g
Saturated Fat
0.1 g
30.8 mg
1.8 g
0.5 g

Best Parsley Recipes