Friday, June 22, 2012

A Garnish No More

Parsley ... For Breakfast?

You've heard it's good for your breath, I'm sure.  We've all seen it on our restaurant plates to provide a little zing of green, maybe even chopped fresh over some pasta or other dish, but it's always been, unequivocally, a garnish, an afterthought, just a little extra dash of color, the appearance of "freshness."

Parsley in Juice

I was "reintroduced" to parsley while juicing.  One I really liked (from The Juicing Bible) called C-Blitz is as follows:

1 Grapefruit, peeled and quartered
2 Oranges, peeled and quartered
3 Kiwis, peeled and halved
6 sprigs parsley, washed

Juice, whisk and drink - delicious!

Parsley and Health

 A young flat-leaf (or Italian) parsley plant

Parsley is such an unsung hero.  Among greens, it is the greatest source of vitamin C (it is one of the richest food sources of this vitamin overall).  It provides anti-oxidant protection, helps the body shed excess fluid, is a tonic and a digestive aid.  It's a good source of calcium and combines anti-anemia nutrients.  Its high iron content is combined with a high level of folic acid also needed for making red blood cells.  And all this from a little green plant one might mistake for a weed!

Since that first juice cleanse, and since becoming vegan/nutritarian, I'd certainly been using much more of it.  It's made it into pretty much every salad I've made in the last 6 months.  I'd been chopping it up and adding to the end of most dishes: it's in my Sweet Quinoa with Peppers and Almonds, I use it to finish off my Kale with White Beans and Quinoa as well.  But an entire dish dedicated to it?  Nay, an entire salad made almost entirely of it?  Unheard of.  By me, of course.  But that, my friends, was before this revelation.

PLEASE NOTE: As amazing as parsley is for you, medical professionals warn against an excess of it for for pregnant women.  Seems that it stimulates uterine contractions.  That being said, if you're a week or so past your due date, well...

The Revelation - Parsley Salad

Curly parsley.  My neighbor swears there's a difference in taste between the two.
I'm not yet that much of a connoisseur it seems.

It all started last night with my web search for a Lemon Tahini Dressing recipe.

I'd been loving the Orange-Cashew Dressing (stolen and bastardized from Dr. Joel Fuhrman), but was feeling like I wanted a few other options and remembered seeing this one mentioned somewhere.  I searched and found a recipe for Parsley Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing.  I pulled out the dressing portion and used that to dress my now-de rigueur dinner salad.  I loved it.

Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini paste, at room temperature (not sure why - mine was from the fridge and it was fine)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I happened to have lemons, but I can't imagine bottled wouldn't work just as well)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Blend tahini, lemon juice and garlic until blended
  • Add water, and salt and pepper to taste
  • You're done.

Then this morning, around 9:30, I found myself hungry.  I'd already made us banana blueberry smoothies, but that was at 7:30 or so.  I picked up the recipe I'd printed last night for the dressing and the salad that went along with it, and at first thought "parsley salad...for breakfast?"  And then, almost immediately, "Well, why the heck not?"

We'd been getting flat-leaf (Italian) parsley from our CSA for the past few weeks and, even though I was using it constantly, was still struggling to keep up and finish one batch before it was time for our next produce pickup.  Not to mention the fact that I'm growing some regular (curly) parsley in our garden and that plant was going like gangbusters.  Too much parsley!!!

So there I was, at 9:50 this morning, ecstatic and raving about this salad (ask my wife), for not only did it taste amazing, it was truly a bowlful of incredible health and nutrition.  It was astonishing, incredible and delicious - absolutely one of my new favorite things. 

Parsley Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • 4 cups flat leaf parsley leaves (I used both flat and curly)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 batch Lemon Tahini Dressing (above)

  1. In a small skillet, toast pine nuts over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until golden brown.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Mix parsley(s), scallions, dressing and pine nuts.
  3. Toss well to coat.
  4. Enjoy!
 Well, that's all for now - Happy Friday Everyone!

ps - special thanks to my daughter Phoebe for helping me to edit today's post!

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