What to do with fresh parsley

Curly parsley

I love fresh herbs.   Sometimes what would otherwise be a mediocre meal can become really fantastic with just a bit of fresh dill or parsley.  A bunch of fresh herbs can be pretty frugal too.  You’d be hard pressed to spend more than $1 for a pretty big bunch of something.  The only problem is how to use it all up.

I used to avoid buying fresh herbs because even though they were cheap, I still felt bad about throwing away half a bunch.   To fix this, I came up with lots of ways to use up fresh herbs so I can enjoy them regularly without feeling guilty.  Below are some of my favorite ways to use up fresh curly or flat-leaf parsley.

  • Sprinkle on everything! Parsley has a strong flavor that holds it’s own against heavy meats and strong spices.  I love parsley chopped and added to meaty soups and stews.  I sprinkle it on everything from chicken and dumplings to sauted squash.  I usually chop about 1/3 of the bunch and store it in a container in the fridge (for up to a week) so it’s ready to use at a moments notice.
  • Add to leafy salads! Fresh parsley goes great in salads.  You can chop it and add it directly with the lettuce or try blending it with your salad dressing.  Either way it adds a very nice flavor.
  • Add to picnic salads! Add fresh parsley to tuna, chicken, potato and macaroni salads to turn them into something amazing.  Use your regular recipe but add just enough at the end to leave some small bits of green.  It’s also delicious in cole slaw.
  • Pesto! Fresh parsley can be added to traditional pesto along with, or instead of, basil.  You can also make your own pesto variations.  Instead of the traditional basil and pine nuts with olive oil, try parsley and walnuts with walnut oil.
  • Parsleyed vegetables! Fried potatoes are made even better with some fresh parsley added near the end.  This works for many kinds of sauteed and fried vegetables.
  • Blend with olive oil! Try blending fresh parsley with olive oil and then drizzling over grilled or sauted vegetables.
  • Chimichurri! This traditional Argentinian marinade and sauce for grilled meat is full of flavor.  Serve this on the side with your next barbeque.  For a real South American barbeque, baste the meat with nothing but salt water while grilling.  You won’t believe the flavor!
  • Freeze it! If there’s any left after all the above, chop it and freeze it.  It won’t be as good for sprinkling on just before serving, but will still add great flavor when added near the end and stirred into a dish.

I hope these ideas inspire you to pick up a bunch of fresh parsley on your next trip to the market.  Let us know if you have an idea of your own to share!

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