16 Best Ways to Use Up a Bunch of Parsley
Parsley is so much more than a frilly, green garnish on the edge of your plate. This underrated and oft-overlooked leafy green is actually a superfood. Known as one of the most powerful disease-fighting plants, parsley packs a wallop of health benefits within its tiny leaves and stems.
Treated as both an herb and a vegetable — depending on the climate, plant varietal, and the local culinary culture — parsley is an easy, low-calorie way to add high-powered health and flavor complexity to your dishes. Whether you're dealing with the curly-leaf parsley or the flat Italian kind, parsley offers a mildly bitter, fresh, herbaceous flavor profile with a hearty makeup that provides a bright crunch.
Here are 16 recipes that put the power of parsley in the limelight, really allowing its health-giving benefits and herbal vibrance to add to the beautiful symphony of each dish.
Bay Scallops with Garlic Parsley Butter Sauce
Parsley provides a pop of herbal earthiness to this buttery seafood appetizer, a longtime favorite of Chef John's. Sumptuous bay scallops flash-fried in garlic, oil, wine, and lemon juice are served with fresh parsley, melted butter, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne atop a warm Italian toast. "They say smell is the sense most closely linked to memory recall, and that was certainly the case while making these," says Chef John. "As waves of the wonderful aromas wafted up from the pan, they brought back a flood of vivid memories of my first kitchen job."
Parsley really shines in this classic Middle Eastern dish. In fact, many have fallen in love with parsley through a delicious dish of tabbouleh. Packed with fresh parsley, mint, tomatoes, and onions mixed into bulgur with a kick of lemon, quality olive oil, and salt, it’s one of those dishes that tastes even better on day two, keeping you coming back for more.
Light Shrimp and Pesto Pasta
A flavorful pesto of parsley, garlic scapes, Romano cheese, and walnuts anchors this pasta dish. "For a quick meal that's elegant enough to serve to company, you can't beat the combination of shrimp, pesto, and pasta,” says BigShotsMom. "Using garlic scapes instead of basil and garlic gives this dish a lighter note."
Patti's Mussels a la Mariniere
An entire bunch of chopped fresh parsley is tossed in with green onions and fresh tomatoes in a buttery white wine sauce, which steams these succulent mussels until they pop open. Serve with a side of the finest crusty French baguette toasts for sopping up the gorgeous briny "mariniere" once the mussels have been devoured. "This dish is reminiscent of dining in an outdoor cafe in the south of France," says Patti. "Serve with a nice chilled glass of white wine. This exact recipe can also be used for clams."
Sean's Falafel and Cucumber Sauce
A heap of fresh parsley lends falafel its signature green hue and fresh flavor. And this highly-rated falafel recipe by Sean doesn't skimp on the parsley or the beautiful combo of spices and fresh vegetables in these falafel, along with a creamy cucumber-dill sauce for dipping. "Everyone that I have made it for loves it," says Sean, adding, "Yum!"
Boudreaux's Zydeco Stomp Gumbo
"This will put a smile on everyone's face that's eatin' it," says Lupe Boudreaux of his signature ‘Texicajun hybrid of a classic' gumbo. He adds, "Throw on some Zydeco music and serve on a bed of rice with cornbread and a cold beer." Chicken, sausage, and shrimp intermingle with veggies — including a whole bunch of fresh chopped parsley — and Cajun seasonings in a flavorful roux base for an out-of-this-world gumbo.
Almond and Parsley Salsa Verde
Sometimes it is the most simple combinations that make the biggest impact, and this salsa verde by Chef John is no exception. With roasted, salted almonds; flat-leaf parsley; garlic; and extra-virgin olive oil, this nutty-herbal-savory combo is simply decadent served over grilled chicken. "The reason I'm calling this ‘salsa verde' and not pesto is because whenever you say pesto, people instantly think of the traditional version with pine nuts and basil. I'm using the term ‘salsa verde' the way it's used around northern California. It's a very generic term for any fresh green sauce," says Chef John.
Lemon-Parsley Green Beans
Well-made green beans can be as addictive as French fries when done right, and this recipe has all the right stuff: A bit of sugar brings out the natural sweetness of the beans; then butter, olive oil, and garlic swoop in for the richness factor; and lemon zest and juice bring out the brightness of the vegetable; while a handful of chopped fresh parsley reminds the dish of its fresh, earthy roots.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is a crowd favorite and easily adapted to fit your particular tastes — and parsley always adds a lovely freshness to the rich meats, cheeses, and olives of this chilled pasta dish, which is brightened with crunchy bell peppers, fresh cherry tomatoes, and an Italian vinaigrette. "A delicious pasta, meat, and cheese combination with a homemade dressing ... serves a crowd and is great for a picnic," says Dayna.
‘The Iron Chef — Suzi-Q' is letting an umami-laden family secret out of the bag: boniet. "Pronounced 'bun-yet,' this is an Old World Italian recipe from my Nonie's kitchen. It is made using mainly parsley and garlic and is meant to be eaten with a crusty warm bread," says Suzi-Q. "It is almost sinful to share its secret with the world, but I know you'll love it as much as my family and I do. Refrigerate [it] overnight for best flavor."
Chef John's Chicken Kiev
Parsley, garlic, salt, and butter combine in a mortar and pestle into a powerhouse mixture that takes this tender fried chicken breast to the next level. "I'm not going to say this chicken Kiev is 'easy to make.' It's really not. So, why try? Because, if and when you pull this off, you'll be enjoying one of the greatest chicken experiences of your life. It's also one of the greatest garlic experiences of your life, as well as one of the greatest butter experiences of your life." says Chef John. (We'll add that it will be one of the greatest parsley experiences of your life!)
Chimichurri Roasted Potatoes
Traditional roasted potatoes get an Argentinian twist with a zippy herb-forward chimichurri sauce. "These potatoes are a great side dish all year round. They stand up to grilled and roasted meats very well," says JennCrippen, who has a variation for spice-lovers. "Sometimes I add a chopped cherry pepper to the chimichurri to add a little heat and color." Yum!
Arabic Fattoush Salad
An Arabic spin on panzanella, this chopped salad with bread combines the beloved Middle Eastern salad herb, parsley, with cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, sumac, garlic, salt, and ground black pepper. It's all tossed with fried pita pieces and crumbled feta for a salad that can't be beat.
Jade Garden Soup
This chilled soup is equal parts parsley, spinach, and butter lettuce, pureed with sauteed mirepoix and cooked rice — a refreshing, filling, and healthy dish! "This is a very savory cold soup! Garnish with dill weed, sour cream, and paprika," says CORWYNN DARKHOLME.
Healthier Mediterranean Tuna Salad
This tuna salad foregoes the creamy mayo factor for a more healthful spin with simple olive oil, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Fresh parsley, red onion, chickpeas, lemon zest, lemon juice, add texture and a citrus pop. Enjoy it as a light snack on crackers or as a filling meal on a salad or sandwich.
Parsley is the only fresh herb called for in this spice-laden recipe for kofta (spiced meatball) kebabs. "These kebabs have six different kinds of spices; the first time I smelled them, I knew immediately that I had to find the recipe," says SRKELZ. "The most affordable way to purchase the spices is in bulk at either a health food store or an Asian or Middle-Eastern market. They are very good! Serve with yogurt, flatbread, lettuce, tomato and cucumber."