YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Two Parsley Salads For You

There is a warm and cozy spot in my heart where the parsley goes. Parsley doesn’t usually get people riled up in the same way as basil, thyme, and oregano, but that’s about to change! What’s great about these recipes is that parsley is not the garnish but the main event. It’s the green, the herb, the everything. No competition, no second fiddle. It’s not a decoration, it’s just the parsley, and it’s definitely meant to be eaten this way.

The first time I ever ate parsley this way, as nature intended, it came from the kitchen garden of our old friends Jerry and Sue from Athens, Ohio. I’m pretty sure Jerry considered parsley one of the four basic food groups, which is why he grew an enormous quantity year after year. With the help of some fresh pressed garlic and extra-virgin olive oil, Sue mixed a combination of curly and flat-leaf parsley varieties into a salad all their own. I could easily eat a large bowlful all by myself. That parsley salad was one of the things I most looked forward to whenever an invitation arrived to join them for dinner. So simple, so different, and so wonderful. To this day, I think of them whenever I eat parsley.

Then there’s the parsley salad that our adventurous friend Oded prepared regularly and effortlessly for his beloved wife and four children. Flat leaf only, by the way. After many years of searching, I finally located a recipe that provides me with more specifics than I could ever get out of Oded. This parsley salad, too, is different and spectacular.

2 large bunches of Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, stems removed and chopped coarsely
3/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt, more to taste
Several tablespoons cold water, as needed

Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, and salt in a medium-large mixing bowl until smooth. It will go through a thick, gritty, stubborn phase. Just keep whisking. Add a tablespoon of water, and more if necessary (very slowly, just one tablespoon at a time), as needed to make the dressing consistency thick and substantial, but just shy of runny. Add the chopped parsley, toss well to coat the leaves, and serve immediately. Serves 6-8.

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