04/02/2015 09:18 am ET | Updated Apr 02, 2015

Parsley Recipes, Because We All Need A Little Help Figuring Out How To Use It

Naturally Ella

Spring vegetables like artichokes, ramps and snap peas may take center stage this time of year, but a supporting cast of characters deserves just as much attention. We're talking about fresh herbs, the kind we'll use all season long: dill, basil, mint, cilantro. And perhaps the most versatile of all: parsley.

This humble herb packs so much flavor that it wakes up any dish. While mint or dill may overpower (and we're not complaining), parsley never steals the limelight. We're such big fans of this herb that we're even into a straight-up parsley salad. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

When you're buying parsley, the first step is establishing whether your need curly- or flat-leaf parsley. While the curly version is often thought to be tasteless and just used as a garnish, it can actually be quite flavorful. The Kitchn explains that the flavor is due to how and where the herbs are grown. Before buying one or the other, use the smell test to see which variety is more potent in your grocery store or farmers market. As a general rule of thumb, flat leaf is great for salads and sauces. And Bon Appetit suggests you use curly-leaf parsley in tabbouleh and in a bouquet garni to season stock.

Here are 17 parsley recipes to try out this spring. If you aren't already a parsley convert, these should do the trick.

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  • 1 Sawtooth Coriander (Or Cilantro)
    Andrew Bret Wallis via Getty Images
    The jagged edge leaves of this plant are wonderfully fragrant and are one of the most ubiquitous herbs found in Vietnamese food. They're used to garnish soups and salads and to bring zesty freshness to everything from fish dishes to spring rolls.
  • 2 Sweet Potato Plant Leaves
    Alison Spiegel
    Before the sweet potato even grows, the plants sprout large, spade-shaped leaves that Vietnamese cuisine puts to good use. Both the stems and stalks are good for soups.
  • 3 Amaranth
    Alison Spiegel
    Most of the herb plate is various shades of green, but amaranth adds color with its purplish-reddish hue. It's often sautéed or boiled and served with dipping sauces.
  • 4 Bitter Herb
    Alison Spiegel
    Not just for the Seder plate, bitter herb, is, as its name suggests, bitter. It's used in noodle soups, and thrown into stew-like hot pot dishes.
  • 5 Asian Basil
    Alison Spiegel
    Another ubiquitous herb, Asian basil is dropped into soups, wrapped in pancakes and served as a garnish for just about anything. Also known as Thai basil, it is ever-so-slightly spicier than its Italian counterpart, with hints of anise.
  • 6 Mint
    Margarita Komine via Getty Images
    Another blockbuster in everything from soups to banh mi, mint is probably the most refreshing herb. You won't find an herb plate without it.
  • 7 Lemongrass
    Alison Spiegel
    Citrusy, slightly sweet and a little pungeant, lemongrass adds layers of complexity to whatever it touches. You might find a stalk adding a wealth of flavor to your soup or steeping in honey-sweetened hot water for a tea. You might also see the ends chopped off and cooked with a vegetable or beef dish. However lemongrass finds its way into your food, you can't miss it.
  • 8 Water Spinach or Morning Glory
    Alison Spiegel
    Typically stir-fried -- stems and all -- with garlic and seasoned with spices or chilis, water spinach or morning glory is a very common side dish in Vietnam.
  • 9 Dill
    lacaosa via Getty Images
    Dill is a common herb in Northern Vietnam, and is one of the essential ingredients in some speciality dishes of Hanoi, like Cha Ca, a fish dish made with scallions and dill.