Sometimes a recipe may call for Italian parsley in a dish. And you may wonder: What’s the difference between parsley vs. Italian parsley? Is the disparity more than the appearance of their leaves?
What is Parsley?
Parsley, or garden parsley, is a flowering plant used in cooking as a herb or vegetable. This specie, Petroselinum crispum, is the common cultivar we see in kitchens worldwide and has distinct ruffled leaves. Native to the Central and Eastern Mediterranean region, this herb has charmed itself into many recipes from different cultures. It is often used as a garnish in dishes like potato dishes, meat dishes, salads, vegetables, rice dishes, and stews, to mention but a few.
This herb is packed with many nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K, antioxidants, folate, etc. Parsley adds an element of brightness and flavor to dishes even though it is slightly bitter. The herbaceous taste adds a clean peppery taste that elevates dishes and provides a wonderful contrast to other flavors present in the meal.
What is Italian Parsley?
Italian parsley, or flat-leaf parsley, is a similar cultivar to the more common garden parsley. This specie, Petroselinum crispum, has serrated broad leaves. The leaves are dark green and more aromatic than herbs in the same family. It is native to Southern Europe but cultivated and used worldwide in various dishes. Italian parsley could be used fresh or dried in salads, egg dishes, sauces, stews, and even as a garnish.
The aromatic herb is rich in a host of nutrients such as vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals like iron, potassium, copper, etc. Italian parsley adds vibrancy to a dish. It is slightly peppery and fresh, with a hint of citrus that hits just right. This flavorful herb marries all the flavors in a dish beautifully.
Parsley Vs. Italian Parsley
Parsley and Italian parsley are cultivars of the same herb, so they share many similarities and can be substituted for one another. However, they are also as different as they are similar, and here are some differences you should note.
- Appearance: Garden parsley is curly-leafed, while Italian parsley has broad flat leaves. Italian parsley leaves are serrated and darker in color compared to garden parsley, which is very bright green. Also, the stems of garden parsley are more delicate than those of Italian parsley.
- Flavor: Although they share similar flavor profiles, Italian parsley flavors are bold and aromatic, whereas the flavors of garden parsley are muted.
- Culinary Uses: Italian parsley is more versatile than garden parsley in cooking. This is due to its intense flavors, while garden parsley is mainly used for decoration and garnishing. The bright green of the parsley adds a pop of color to the dishes.
Parsley and Italian parsley may be cultivars of the same herb plant. Still, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. This article has highlighted the main differences between the two parsleys.