You guys have already heard me talk about how much I love parsley. It adds such a great flavor to so many foods. Plus, that little green leaf packs almost as powerful a punch as kale and spinach and even outshines them in some categories. It has more iron than kale and has a crazy amount of Vitamin K, which is a little spoken about vitamin (or at least in my day to day life), that plays a pivotal role in helping blood clot. It’s also essential in bone strength and helps fight heart disease. Who knew?
While I may enjoy the flavor of parsley (particularly flat leaf parsley, not such of a fan of the curly kind), I understand that many others do not. However, it’s often, along with many other herbs, disregarded as a garnish when in fact we should be consuming herbs as they offer so many health benefits. So I’ve been trying to find new ways of adding herbs into my diet…
I recently discovered a great way to add my favorite little gem, parsley, to my diet in perfect little concentrated mouthfuls. Maybe you guys already know about this and I’m late to the game: parsley pesto. Pesto made from PARSLEY! I always thought of pesto as being made from basil. Obviously I have seen twists on pesto like sundried tomato pesto, arugula pesto, and whatever other fancy concoctions restaurants come up with these days, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across parsley pesto.
Another reason to use parsley in pesto is it grows like a weed. It really does. Plant it in your garden or a large pot for your porch and just watch how it grows. It’s also pretty tough and can withstand hot and cold weather fairly well. It will eventually die but it’ll last much longer than a basil plant.
Not to knock basil. I love basil too and it’s also full of amazing nutrients and vitamins, like all herbs. The traditional basil pesto is made with pine nuts, which a lot of people do not like. I, for one, seem to have many friends who are specifically allergic to pine nuts so they can never enjoy pesto. Which is another reason this parsley pesto is great because you can do it with almonds or walnuts instead of pine nuts.
On a recent visit to my parent’s house in Florida, I discovered my mother’s garden was being taken over by parsley (this seems to be a theme with her, see my post on the zucchini bread). It was also getting to the point of growing bitter as she hadn’t had a chance to trim it down for new growth. So I thought to myself “Can I make pesto from parsley?” A few clicks on google and I discovered I could.
So I set out to my mom’s overgrown parsley patch and spent about an hour picking out the good parsley and removing what had already outgrown it’s usefulness. I got quite a few big bowls full, washed it in some water to remove the dirt, put it through the lettuce spinner, gathered up the rest of my ingredients and started experimenting.
I tried this a couple of times from a few recipes with different nuts and proportions. In the end I came up with the recipe that’s perfect amounts of garlic, olive oil, salt and almonds for my taste.
The parsley pesto was a huge success! Everyone loved it. We put it on crackers as a snack, on pasta, as an extra something in potato salad, as an accompaniment to leftover, cold chicken…go wild! Use it on whatever you can think of. I like to think every time I’m eating it, it’s like I’m taking my vitamins. Which I basically am. Even though it has some fat from the extra virgin olive oil, it’s good for you fat. So eat up and enjoy!
Almond Parsley Pesto
- 4 cups packed parsley leaves (try to remove the stems as much as possible)
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 cup raw, unsalted, sliced almonds (you can substitute raw, unsalted walnuts)
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add parsley, garlic, almonds, parmesan and sea salt to a food processor. Process until it’s almost a paste, about a minute.
- Add olive oil and continue to process until paste reaches your desired texture.
- Scoop in a bowl and enjoy!
Make sure to keep it covered in the fridge if it’s not for immediate consumption. It will keep quite a while. You can add more olive oil to taste after the fact and just blend it with a spoon. You can also freeze it. It will keep in the freezer for months.