Parsley – the vitamin pill that comes in the shape of a leaf

Here’s an easy way to add vitamins and minerals to your body — add parsley.

Once you learn that including this superfood in your diet is like taking a vitamin pill, you’ll be happy to make the effort.

It is possible that parsley gets its latin name from ‘petros’, meaning rock, as parsley was used to dissolve kidney and gallstones.

You will find two main types of parsley. Flat leaf (Petroselinum neaolitanum), also known as Italian, parsley has a distinctive flat, saw-toothed leaf and a stronger, sweeter flavour than the curly variety.

Curly leaf (Petroselinum crispum) is milder and works well with other herbs.

Parsley is rich in iron, iodine, chlorophyll and vitamins A, C and K. The high iron content is very good for anaemia and the associated lethargy.

Chlorophyll is oxygenating and this helps to increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood. Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and without it undiagnosed coeliacs can suffer from internal bleeding.

Parsley also contains more vitamin C than citrus fruit.

Storage Tips

Fresh parsley should be wrapped in a slightly damp kitchen cloth, covered, or placed in an airtight container, and kept in the salad drawer of the fridge.

Alternatively, you can keep it fresh like a bunch of flowers on your kitchen counter. Snip off leaves when needed.

Parsley pesto (Makes one cup)

Cup fresh walnuts

3 cloves garlic

2 cups of curly leaf parsley, no stems

2 cups of basil leaves

Cup extra virgin olive oil

Tsp sea salt


Lightly toast the walnuts in a clean dry pan.Using a food processor or pestle and mortar, grind the walnuts finely.Add the garlic cloves and mince finely. Pour in the olive oil and salt and grind or process the parsley and basil in batches.Continue until you have a thick paste. Add more oil for thinner consistency.

How to use parsley pesto

Coat a piece of salmon or chicken, allow to marinade for 20 minutes and grill.Toss through cooked pasta with a Parmesan cheese.Spread on bread and add tomato and mozzarella.Use as a pizza topping instead of tomato paste.Stir through cooked or roasted vegetables.Mix through cooked brown rice or couscous.Add a spoonful to a bowl of soup or a casserole.Thin down with olive oil and add a squeeze of lemon for a salad dressing or sauce.Mix with sour cream for a baked potato topping.Stir through a white soda bread dough for pesto bread.

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