thoughts from a future registered dietitian

Parsley

Parsley

I’m a big fan of Michael Pollan’s philosophy on cooking from scratch whenever possible. For example: If you want ice cream – great! Make it yourself! This is also an excellent way to examine how serious a particular craving is… making ice cream from scratch is no simple feat! I mostly appreciate this concept because it encourages the use of natural ingredients, “real food” and cooking more at home.

An advantage of the Mediterranean Bake recipe listed below is the endless possibilities of vegetable substitutes! Use what’s in season or those random veggies hiding in the back of your fridge 🙂 Last time I made this Mediterranean Bake, all the ingredients either came from Imperfect Produce* or my little backyard garden!

Health Benefits

A key ingredient in any Mediterranean dish is our HERB OF THE WEEK – Parsley! Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of the globe. Although parsley is widely used as a garnish, it has a bright flavor and surprising number of health benefits!

All parts of the parsley plant (Petroselinum crispum) are safe for consumption, but most individuals only eat the leaves. Parsley provides our bodies with carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K and multiple of the B vitamins! The combination of these nutrients contribute to a long list of benefits including:

Anti-cancer properties – parsley contains a flavonoid called apigenin, which has anticarcinogenic effects and induces apoptosis (death of cancer cells)
Reduces inflammation – parsley has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that benefit gastrointestinal and digestive health (and potentially menstruation!)
Stabilizes blood sugar – managing diabetes is difficult and there is research showing parsley aids in lowering blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion, and helps decreases insulin resistance

Recipe

This recipe is great any time of year! It can be used as a side dish or as the main course. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Bake – inspired by Simple Eats MKE
(note – I like to stir in chickpea-based pasta for added protein)

1 Can Artichoke Hearts
1 Small Cauliflower (chopped)
1/2 Eggplant (medium cube)
1 pint Grape Tomatoes
1 Medium Zucchini (half-mooned)
1/2 Red Onion (chopped)
1 Bell Pepper (chopped)
2 T. EVOO
1 T. of Red Wine Vinegar
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
1⁄2 T. Oregano
1 t. Thyme
Salt to taste
Crushed Red Pepper to taste
1/2 C. Parsley
1/2 C. Kalamata Olives (pitted, chopped)
1/4 C. Toasted Pine Nuts
Feta Cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle with EVOO. Mix in red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Add garlic, other seasonings and toss. Add salt and red pepper flakes per preference.
3. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until tender. I recommend using parchment paper as lining for the baking sheet.
4. Remove from oven and top with the shining star = parsley! Then add olives, pine nuts and/or feta cheese.


*BTW if you haven’t heard of Imperfect Produce, you should definitely check if they deliver in your area! It’s an awesome service that helps prevent food waste by saving any unwanted or “damaged” produce for purchase on their site. I’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of the food I’ve received. (Click here for $10 OFF your first box!). They even have herbs!