How great is parsley? Green, fresh, flavoursome! Easy to grow and bountiful, it’s often used as a garnish but this beauty brings great flavour to many dishes. I love flicking through recipe books from the 1950s through to 1980s and now, seeing how they used to display meals with big sprigs of green parsley. Or how Irish Cobble and other warming foods are flavoured with a sprinkling of the herb.
Where it grows and what it likes
Parsley can grow in the shade in a hot climate, though does enjoy the sunshine for a good part of the day. When you pick parsley leaves it encourages the plant to grow more. You can use the leaves in your cooking or even as a lovely green feature in a small vase inside. It needs regular watering, so keep it in easy reach for convenience. It’s great in small gardens but also as a feature in a larger yard. We grow a pot just outside the dining room window – easy access, plenty of rewards. It can also look lovely growing wild as a border.
Who to plant it next to
Check out Our Herb Garden’s guide to companion planting with parsley. We’ve also had great success growing it amongst tomatoes and roses. However, many herby ‘friends’ enjoy their company.
Ideas for use
There are SO MANY ways to enjoy parsley. You can easily jazz up a meat dish or bbq by throwing a handful of freshly chopped parsley onto the dish in the last few minutes of cooking. Or even at the end for a full burst of flavour. Some parsley on top of a soup or fresh in a salad is delicious.
If I’m constructing a super fast sliced meats platter, I find a handful of spinach leaves and a few sprigs of parsley under and around the meat (along with a bunch or two of grapes and some berries) looks really fancy.
One of my favourite locals Hobby Lane serves a smashingly superb corn fritter breakfast which is full of fragrant herbs.
Having recently signed up to Tiffxo fitness program, I went to make dinner and realised I didn’t have the right ingredients for suggested dinner of the day. So getting inspiration from it I made do with what I had available. Luckily just that morning we’d picked a bunch of parsley to test out our new LYFE plant holder from FLYTE. It gave me a giggle to have the parsley hovering nearby ready to add! It seemed a success with a nod of approval from a hungry family and no leftovers.
Quick Vegetable Stir Fry in Oyster Sauce with Wok Noodles* (serves 2)
Stir fry ingredients
- A dash of olive oil
- ½ of an onion roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove sliced
- About 1-2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- Vegetables (any) – for example:
- Half a capsicum (any colour), sliced
- Small carrot cut into thin sticks
- Half a head of broccoli (about 6 pieces) and some slices of the stalks
- ⅓ of a small sweet potato cut into cubes
- A handful of green beans topped and tailed and cut into thirds
- 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach
- A handful of shelled pistachios
- A handful of parsley chopped roughly and including some stalk
- In a wok, fry the onion and a little of oyster sauce for a couple of minutes until the onion is soft and only just starting to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Then add your vegetables (except the spinach leaves) and the rest of oyster sauce. Cook this on a high to medium heat for approximately five minutes. You want the vegetables to be slightly cooked but still crunchy.
- Add the sesame seeds, pistachios, spinach and parsley and cook for a further 1-2 minutes – just until the spinach starts to wilt. Remove from wok.
- A dash of sesame oil
- Wok noodles, e.g. Singapore or rice noodles from a packet or fresh
- A dash of soy sauce
- About a tablespoon of roughly chopped parsley stalks
- 2 mushrooms thinly sliced (optional)
- Chilli roughly chopped and shallots thinly sliced (optional)
- Smoked almonds (optional) for garnish
- Follow the cooking instructions for the noodles you are using. In this case, I used thin rice noodles from a packet so no prior cooking required.
- Heat sesame oil in the same wok. Add noodles, soy sauce, a dash of water, parsley stalks, and the mushrooms and saute for approximately two minutes. You want the noodles to be cooked through and the sauce a little sticky.
- Optional: add thinly sliced shallots and chopped chilli as a garnish.
Plate up the noodles and top with the stir fry. Sprinkle a few smoked almonds on for garnish.
*I added crumbled feta to my plate and only a small serve of noodles.