Did you know one cup of parsley contains more Vitamin C than a small orange, and more iron than two cups of spinach?
Sure, it makes a pretty garnish, but this familiar herb has so much more potential. Parsley has a fresh, bright flavor, and a tendency to bring out the best in other foods. And then there are its nutritional virtues: high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, beta carotene, and iron, plus folate, an important B vitamin that may reduce the risk of birth defects. In addition, the herb is high in flavones--phytochemicals that work to inhibit the toxic effect of carcinogens. All of this means parsley is an ally in the fight against cancer, as well as cardiovascular and chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
In most supermarkets, you'll find flat-leaf (also called Italian) and curly parsley. They're equally nutritious, but flat-leaf has a finer texture and flavor, and it stands up well to heat. For optimum freshness, wrap it in damp paper towels and refrigerate it for up to four days in a resealable plastic bag left partially open. Then just rinse it and spin it dry, and it's ready to go. After a meal, pass a plate of sprigs around the table--it's a natural digestive aid and a breath freshener, too.
(My Favorite) CHICKEN SOUP WITH PARSLEY DUMPLINGS
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 pounds total), each cut into 3 pieces.
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1/4 pounds total).
- 4 medium carrots (about 3/4 pound), cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
- Coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk
- Bring 2 quarts water, chicken, carrots, onion, clery, garlic, bay leaf, stock and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium pot; skim froth. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently simmer 20 minutes. Add thyme.
- Meanwhile, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, shallot, zest, parsley, and cheese in a medium bowl. Add butter, and blend in with fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir with a fork just until a dough forms.
- Roll dough into 1-inch balls, add all at once to simmering broth. Cover, simmer, undisturbed, until the dumplings are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Divide soup among six bowls.
Per Serving: 386 Calories, 9 G Fat, 143 MGT Cholesterol, 27 G Carbohydrate, 816 MG Sodium, 46 G Protein, 3 G Fiber
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