Meatless Mondays: Parsley Salad

The workhorse garnish steps into the spotlight in this summery side dish.

(Photo: Ian Knauer)

Jul 28, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He has worked for Gourmet and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook The Farm.

Why meatless on Mondays? Not only is eating less animal protein a healthy diet choice, but curbing your meat consumption can have a significant environmental impact too. In 2006 the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that animal agriculture accounted for a full 19 percent of greenhouse gases—more than the transportation sector. Best of all, with recipes like these, going meatless can be a delicious weekly habit.

My first exposure to parsley salad was about 10 years ago. A coworker at Gourmet was developing a garden-heavy summer menu for the magazine and included a salad that was basically just parsley leaves. I was a skeptic.

The salad took a relatively long time to make; picking individual leaves of the herb—one at a time—is a lot slower going than ripping apart lettuce leaves. Besides, I associated parsley with garnish, a last-minute sprinkle, instead of a predominant flavor. As I jabbed a forkful of the dark green leaves and brought them to my mouth, I thought that if parsley salad were that good, it would already be on my radar—instead, I’m about to feel like a rabbit in the garden, not a cook in the kitchen.

Then everything changed.

Since that first bite, parsley salad has been my favorite salad. I look forward to it all year. This week is the week of parsley salad. Everything has come together in the garden. There is the parsley, of course, but the cherry tomatoes are ripe enough that they’re starting to fall off the vines. They are the perfect sweet balance to the verdant earthiness of the herb.

If you’re of sound mind and have never had parsley salad, you probably feel like I did all those years ago—you’re not convinced. But I urge you to try this one for yourself. Grab bunches of parsley and mint, spend the requisite time plucking the leaves from the stems, and toss them with cherry tomatoes and a simple vinaigrette.

ParsleyMintCherry Tomato Salad

Serve 6

1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley

1 large bunch mint

1 quart cherry tomatoes

1 small shallot, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pick the leaves from the parsley and mint and place in a large bowl. Halve the cherry tomatoes and toss with the parsley and mint leaves.

Combine the shallot, mustard, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in the oil until emulsified, then toss the dressing with the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste.