All about parsley: What are its types, how to grow it correctly and much more information in one place!

Parsley is a widely cultivated plant that is consumed both for its root and for its cuttings.

Do you know its types and what they are used for?

How is it even grown?

Or what are its health benefits?

Discover everything you didn’t know before!

What exactly is parsley?

Parsley, also known as Petroselinum, is a genus of biennial plants from the Apiaceae family. It has been a staple of European and Middle Eastern cuisine for many years, and is now used all over the world. It is grown not only for its root, which is used as a vegetable, but also for its stem, which has its uses as a spice and for decoration.

Types of parsley

Although there are more than 30 varieties of parsley, the following 4 are the most common:

  • Flat-leaf parsley

This herb is aromatic and, thanks to its fresh taste, is added to various recipes. The most common type of flat-leaf parsley, Italian parsley, has a slightly peppery flavor and a similar appearance to cilantro. Other varieties of flat-leaf parsley include Titan and Giant of Italy.

  • Curly parsley

You can recognize this variety by its wrinkled leaves and bright green color. It is less tasty than flat-leaf parsley and for that reason is mainly used as a garnish.

  • Garden parsley root

A variety of parsley originating in Germany, recognizable by its larger leaves and strong roots. The leaves of this parsley are used ornamentally rather than cooking, while the roots are used in stews and soups.

  • Japanese parsley

A bitter-tasting type of parsley native to Japan and China, with strong stems that can be eaten alone.

Flat-leaf parsley vs. curly parsley

Both varieties of parsley belong to the so-called common parsley, which is grown mainly for its leaves and is used as an herb. Flat-leaf and curly parsley have many similar features, but there are a few differences between them.

Flat-leaf parsley Curly parsley
Taste Robust and fresh. Stronger taste, can be a bit bitter.
Appearance Slender stems give way to dark flat leaves. Round, curly leaves.
Use in the kitchen The whole herb – stem and leaves – can be used as a whole bunch (bouquet garni and sachet d’epices) to flavor broths, soups and sauces , but more often the leaves are stripped of the stems and chopped before adding to the recipe. They can be used as an ingredient in recipes such as meatballs and meatloaf , or added as a flavoring at the end of cooking. Whole leaves can be incorporated into salads and used as a garnish . It also goes well with chicken and fish and goes well with butter, lemon and garlic. There are certain recipes that call for the leaves from the whole bunch, but usually a few tablespoons will do. This variety of parsley is mainly used as a decorative garnish that adds color to dishes. Use fresh parsley to garnish brown and beige dishes such as soups, roast and cheese dishes or charcuterie for a nice visual effect. Another way to use curly parsley is to include it in a traditional French bouquet garni – a bundle of fresh herbs that are tied together and dipped into a dish during cooking. Or use this herb to make a traditional Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad. Dried parsley is mostly flat-leafed, or a combination of flat-leafed and curly is used, because the significantly muted taste of curly parsley does not make it a suitable dried herb for cooking.
Flatleaf vs. curly parsley.

Use in recipes

· Beef broth
· Chicken broth
· Soup with semolina
· Kaldoun
· Fish meatballs
· Zucchini meatloaf
· Vegetable salads
· Chicken slices with vegetables
· Fish salads

Parsley pesto

You can also make pesto from parsley. Prepare the following ingredients :

  • 60 g flat-leaf parsley (2 large handfuls)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmigiano reggiano or pecorino cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and blend until smooth with an immersion blender.
  2. If using a mortar and pestle, add them to the mortar and pound until smooth.
  3. Season and use as needed.
Parsley pesto in a bowl with a spoon, served with bread slices and lemon wedges.

Get inspired by our other recipes for luxurious herb pesto 5 times differently!

Do you like parsley tea?

  1. Fill a small saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat on the stove.
  2. While the water is boiling, prepare the parsley.
  3. Choose the freshest parsley you can find from the supermarket or from your own garden.
  4. Rinse it well to remove any dirt or residue left on the leaves after harvesting, then remove the leaves from the stems.
  5. Coarsely chop them until you have a quarter cup of leaves.
  6. Place the parsley leaves in a mug or small teapot.
  7. Pour a cup of boiling water over them and give them a quick stir.
  8. Let steep for at least 5 minutes, or longer if you want a stronger cup of tea.
  9. Strain the tea leaves and discard them.
  10. Taste the tea and add a little lemon juice and honey or other sweetener if you like.
  11. Parsley leaves are slightly bitter, and lemon and honey will make strong tea tastier.
Parsley tea in a mug with lemon, with fresh parsley placed next to it.

Fresh or dried parsley?

While most dried herbs have a stronger flavor than their fresh form, this is not the case with parsley. The taste of dried parsley is very little like that of fresh, so it cannot be substituted for the dried version. Dried parsley is best used in recipes that will take a long time to cook, such as soups, stews and pasta sauces, and when combined with other herbs without their flavors overlapping. Dried parsley is usually flat-leafed, or you can find combinations of flat-leafed and curly. The dried curl itself has an uninteresting taste, so it is not used.

Don’t forget to use the fresh stems when cooking, which have more flavor and aroma than the leaves.

Where to buy

You can find flat-leaf parsley here either dried or fresh at farmers’ markets or in some larger grocery stores. You can get a hair curler for a change in almost every larger store. Look for bright green leaves with no signs of yellowing, browning or wilting. The bundle may be slightly moist, but the leaves should not be wet.


To keep parsley fresh for as long as possible, it is best to clean the whole bunch with water, wrap it gently in a paper towel, put it in a ziplock bag and store it in the fridge. It should stay fresh for a week.

Another way you can store parsley is by freezing it, which is the best method if you have grown more parsley in your garden than you can handle right away. Parsley can be frozen chopped and stored in freezer bags, or it can also be chopped and mixed with water and frozen in ice cube trays. In both cases, the parsley will last for up to six months.

Health benefits of eating parsley

  • Parsley is a low-calorie herb rich in nutrients , especially vitamin K, A and C.
  • It contains many powerful antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
  • It is rich in vitamin K , which is an essential nutrient for optimal bone health. Eating foods high in this nutrient is associated with a reduced risk of fractures and improved bone mineral density.
  • The flavonoids and vitamin C that parsley contains help fight cancer .
  • Parsley contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene, plant compounds that protect eye health and may reduce the risk of some age-related eye diseases such as AMD (macular degeneration).
  • It is rich in vitamin B , which protects our heart and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Parsley extract has been shown in studies to have antibacterial properties . Still, more research is needed.

Side effects of consuming parsley

Consuming large amounts of parsley can cause uterine contractions during pregnancy. Eating parsley leaves is also not safe for women who are breastfeeding. It causes increased sensitivity of the skin to the sun, which can cause a rash and inflammation on the skin. Parsley is also responsible for water retention in the body.

Nutritional values in parsley

In the following table, look at the comparison of the nutritional values of 100 g of fresh parsley vs. fresh selected types of herbs.

Nutritional values Parsley
Energy 36 kcal 23 kcal 23 kcal 30 calories
Fats 0.8 g 0.6 g 0.5 g 0.7 g
Carbohydrates 6.3 g 2.7 g 3.7 g 4.4 g
Fiber 3.3 g 1.6 g 2.8 g 2.5 g
Proteins 3 g 3.2 g 2.1 g 3.3 g

Vitamins and minerals in parsley

Also look at the amount of minerals and vitamins that fresh parsley contains compared to selected types of herbs.

Vitamins and minerals Parsley
Vitamin A 421.00 mcg 264.00 mcg 337.00 mcg 218.00 mcg
Vitamin B1 0.086 mg 0.034 mg 0.067 mg 0.078 mg
Vitamin B2 0.098 mg 0.076 mg 0.162 mg 0.115 mg
Vitamin B3 1,313 mg 0.902 mg 1.114 mg 0.647 mg
Vitamin B6 0.090 mg 0.155 mg 0.149 mg 0.138 mg
Folates 152.00 mcg 68.00 mcg 62.00 mcg 105.00 mcg
Vitamin C 133.0 mg 18.0 mg 27.0 mg 58.1 mg
Vitamin E 0.75 mg 0.80 mg 2.50 mg 0.21 mg
Vitamin K 1640.0 mcg 414.8 mcg 310.0 mcg 212.7 mcg
Calcium 138.00 mg 177.00 mg 67.00 mg 92.00 mg
Copper 0.15 mg 0.39 mg 0.23 mg 0.16 mg
Iron 6.20 mg 3.17 mg 1.77 mg 1.60 mg
Magnesium 50.00 mg 64.00 mg 26.00 mg 42.00 mg
Phosphorus 58.00 mg 56.00 mg 48.00 mg 58.00 mg
Potassium 554.00 mg 295.00 mg 521.00 mg 296.00 mg
Selenium 0.10 mcg 0.30 mcg 0.90 mcg 0.90 mcg
Sodium 56.00 mg 4.00 mg 46.00 mg 3.00 mg
Zinc 1.07 mg 0.81 mg 0.50 mg 0.56 mg


Parsley does not like extremely hot areas and is prone to freeze back in cold climates. For its cultivation, choose a sunny place in well-drained soil with plenty of organic supplements . If you plant several plants together, leave at least 36 cm between them to prevent mold on the leaves. Potted plants thrive in a window with indirect light, without drafts and with pleasant temperatures in the home .

If you want to grow it from seed, start in March or April after the danger of frost has passed. Use a fine mixture of soil, peat and sand. Cover with a 3mm fine sprinkling of soil and keep the seeds misted and slightly moist.

Allow the soil to partially dry out between waterings. Water approximately once a week and allow excess moisture to drain. Fertilize the plants with a balanced fertilizer in early spring. If your plant is not growing very well, try transplanting it to a sunnier place. Always cut off the flowers if they appear, as leaf production will be reduced if you don’t.

Parsley is harvested when the plant is about 20 cm and sufficiently branched. In the case of good growing conditions, it can be harvested up to 5 times a year .

Parsley growing in the garden.

Garden parsley root

This variety is grown mainly for its root, which looks like a cross between a parsnip and a carrot. The taste and texture is also somewhere in between. It has a rough white-beige skin and is whiter under the skin. Its bark is also edible, but it is not used as much.

Use in the kitchen

Parsley root is versatile, it is edible raw or cooked and is easy to include in the diet.

Start by removing the green tops, which can be used as a garnish or made into pesto later. Wash the roots well or peel them, but you don’t have to. It is tasty, but needs to be scrubbed thoroughly to remove all dirt.

  • You can cut the parsley root into sticks and enjoy it raw on its own or with your favorite almond, bean or vegetable dip. Otherwise, try grating it as a garnish for salads or sandwiches .
  • You can also stew, roast or saute it. It goes well with other root vegetables and is excellent au gratin or added to a roasted vegetable mix.
  • In addition, you can steam parsley and make a puree out of it and serve it with roast meat or baked vegetables
  • You can also chop it up and add it to soups or stews .
  • You can also dry the root parsley on a shallow baking tray in an oven heated to 77 °C. Allow to cool in a dark place before storing in an airtight container. You can use parsley dried this way as a seasoning.

Use in recipes

How to steam root parsley?

  1. Place the steamer in the pot.
  2. Add water just below the bottom of the steamer.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Add 500 g of prepared parsley root to the steamer.
  5. Cover and reduce the flame.
  6. Cook until crisp.
  7. Half-centimeter slices take 8 to 10 minutes, half-centimeter strips 5 to 7 minutes.

Also get inspired by our recipes from the steamer , which are healthy, tasty and beautifully colored!

How to prepare parsley puree?

  1. Boil the parsley in water, drain and place in a blender.
  2. Beat with butter and spices.
  3. Use 4 to 6 spoons of butter for about a kilo of parsley.
Parsley puree served in a bowl with a spoon and garnished with fresh herbs.

Where to buy

You can buy parsley root at grocery stores or farmers markets. Try to choose those pieces that are beige in color, firm and unscratched. Avoid dried out pieces. If the tops are still attached, they should be deep green and not wilted. Small to medium sized parsley will taste best. Do not cut the leaves until you are ready to use the roots.


Parsley will last up to a week in the fridge if you first wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. The leaves only last 1 or 2 days. You can also freeze it by peeling, cutting and blanching for 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces). Then you wrap it in freezer bags and freeze it for up to 6 months. You can use parsley frozen in this way in soups, stews or purees.

Health Benefits of Consuming Parsley Root

  • Parsley is low in calories and contains several essential nutrients , including vitamin C, folic acid and fiber.
  • Parsley root’s powerful antioxidants include myristicin, apiol, and vitamin C. These compounds may be responsible for many of its health benefits.
  • Several nutrients and antioxidants in parsley root may play a role in reducing inflammation and protecting against chronic disease .
  • Parsley root juice helps the detoxification process of our liver .
  • Parsley root is a great source of vitamin C and fiber, two nutrients essential for a healthy immune system .
  • One study showed that parsley root extract can prevent the growth of breast cancer cells , and the fiber content of this vegetable may also have anti-cancer effects. However, further research is needed.

Nutritional values of parsley

In the following table, see a comparison of the nutritional values of 100 g of fresh root parsley vs. fresh selected vegetables.

Nutritional values Parsley root
Energy 48 kcal 41 kcal 42 kcal 75 calories
Fats 1.0 g 0.2 g 0.3 g 0.3 g
Carbohydrates 6.0 g 9.6 g 9.2 g 18 g
Fiber 4.0 g 2.8 g 1.8 g 4.9 g
Proteins 3.0 g 0.9 g 1.5 g 1.2 g

Vitamins and minerals in parsley

Also look at the amount of minerals and vitamins that fresh root parsley contains compared to selected types of vegetables.

Vitamins and minerals Parsley root
Vitamin B1 0.1 mg 0.066 mg 0.050 mg 0.090 mg
Vitamin B2 0.1 mg 0.058 mg 0.060 mg 0.050 mg
Vitamin B6 0.2 mg 0.138 mg 0.165 mg 0.090 mg
Folates 20.00 mcg 19.00 mcg 8.00 mcg 67.00 mcg
Vitamin C 40.00 mg 5.9 mg 8.0 mg 17.0 mg
Vitamin E 1.7 mg 0.66 mg 0.36 mg 1.49 mg
Calcium 40.00 mg 33.00 mg 43.00 mg 36.00 mg
Iron 0.9 mg 0.30 mg 0.70 mg 0.59 mg
Magnesium 25.00 mg 12.00 mg 20.00 mg 29.00 mg
Phosphorus 60.00 mg 35.00 mg 115.00 mg 71.00 mg
Potassium 400.00 mg 320.00 mg 300.00 mg 375.00 mg
Sodium 12.00 mg 69.00 mg 100.00 mg 10.00 mg
Zinc 0.2 mg 0.24 mg 0.33 mg 0.59 mg


  • Sow the seeds in early spring (from February to April) approx. 0.3 cm deep and 15 cm apart. Grow plants in full sun or partial shade.
  • Before planting , work the soil 30 cm deep , remove stones, sticks and dirt. If the soil is hard, add enough loam, compost or peat. This will allow the roots to grow down into the soil, unimpeded.
  • The soil should be rich and well drained . Keep the soil moist, not wet. Dry soil will cause the roots to branch and split.
  • Add a universal fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
  • Keep the plants well weeded , especially while they are young.
  • Ideal soil pH: 5.5 – 7.0 .
  • Start harvesting the roots when they are 12-15 cm long .
  • The leaves can be harvested and used in the same way as regular parsley (herb).
Parsley roots in the garden.

History of Parsley

Parsley comes from the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and has been cultivated for more than 2000 years . Some historians credit Charlemagne , the Holy Roman Emperor, with making this herb so popular, as he grew it in abundance in all the gardens of his residences.

In mythology, parsley was believed to originate from the Greek hero Archemora , the forerunner of death. According to legend, the plant first sprouted in his Archemora. This myth caused the ancient Greeks to claim that parsley was both sacred and evil. Warriors fed their horses parsley to give them strength. The Greeks placed it on victorious athletes and also on the graves of the dead. The expression De’eis thai selinon , “needing only parsley” was a euphemistic expression equivalent to “one foot in the grave”. Throughout time, parsley was believed to have many unusual and magical effects. For example, it was once believed that this herb was evil and if you were in love, you should never cut parsley, otherwise it would cut and destroy your love.

Parsley was originally a flat-leafed variety, but when the curly variety appeared and began to gain popularity, parsley began to be used more often.

As for root parsley, it has been popular in Germany since the 16th century and has also been a popular vegetable in Austria, Hungary, Poland, Holland and Russia for centuries. Parsley root was apparently first used in cooking in Hamburg, Germany.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)