You probably think all parsley is the same, I mean, after all, it’s a fairly common green herb that we use to flavor food and you don’t usually get distinctions in the TYPE of parsley needed when reading recipes cards, etc, so what’s the actual difference?
It turns out that parsley has two main types: curly and flat-leaf. And each has its own unique set of benefits.
So, if you’re looking to get the most out of this versatile herb, it’s important to know the differences between curly and flat-leaf parsley and what variety you should go for when shipping.
Keep reading to learn more!
Flat-Leaf Parsley Summary
Flat-leaf parsley is a member of the Apiaceae family, including many familiar vegetables like kale and Brussels sprouts. Flat-leaf parsley is a native plant to the central Mediterranean region, Morocco through Algeria and Tunisia.
This dried herb has been used for centuries as a food coloring and flavoring in cooking.
Curly Parsley Summary
Curly parsley is a herby, leafy veggie that can be used as an appetizer or flavoring in dishes. This variety comes year-round and has curly leaves with green stems on them.
Curly vs. Flat-Leaf Parsley
Curly parsley and flat-leaf parsley both belong to the same species of plant. While they share a lot of common traits, they have their distinct differences.
Curly parsley has crisper leaves than flat-leaf parsley, making it ideal for garnishing dishes for beauty or presentation purposes.
On the other hand, flat-leaf parsley has a more profound flavor than curly parsley.
While both types of parsley are used to garnish different foods and dishes, flat-leaf parsley is better for cooking purposes.
Below we will discuss some of the differences between curly parsley and flat-leaf parsley:
Curly parsley has more vitamin C than flat-leaf, but the latter has much more vitamin A.
Flat-leaf is also rich in iron and calcium, while curly leaf parsley has much lower these nutrients. Curly parsley does have antioxidants like vitamin C, but flat-leaf is higher in many other essential antioxidants like vitamin E.
Flat-leaf is also filled with fiber and low in calories, while curly parsley has almost no dietary fiber and more carbohydrates per volume.
You may also like to read: How Many Calories Are in Leafy Greens?
Curly parsley will stay longer if you store it correctly — it will stay fresh for about a week in the refrigerator if stored upright in an airtight container.
Flat-leaf is much more resilient and will keep for up to two weeks when stored correctly — place it inside a container lined with paper towels, seal tightly, and refrigerate.
Taste & appearance
Curly parsley has thin stems that are relatively easy to break. It also has a milder flavor than flat-leaf, so it’s perfect for fresh salads.
Flat-leaf has tougher stems and is better suited to cooked dishes, soups, or tomato sauces.
This type of parsley also has a much more intense flavor that works well in Middle Eastern cooking.
Wondering Which Type Of Parsley To Use?
There are two main types of parsley: curly and flat-leaf. Flat-leaf parsley is more prevalent in Europe and North America, while curly parsley is more prevalent in Asia and Africa.
So, which one should you use?
It depends on what you’re making. If you’re making a soup or sauce, you might want to use flat-leaf parsley because its more potent flavor will stand out. But if you’re using it as a garnish, you might want to use curly parsley because it has a milder flavor and a more decorative look.
Here’s some more information about both types of parsley.
Curly-Leaf Parsley (European)
Curly leaf (also called English or German parsley) is the more popular type in Europe and North America. At the same time, flat-leaf (Italian or French) is more common in Asia and Africa.
Curly-leaf parsley has a milder flavor than flat-leaf parsley, which is why it’s often used as a garnish. It has dark green leaves that are soft to the touch with curly edges.
This type of parsley can sometimes taste bitter, so you should only use the leaves and discard the stems.
Flat-Leaf Parsley (European)
Flat-leaf (also called Italian or French parsley) is the more traditional type in Europe and North America, while the curly leaf is more common in Asia and Africa.
This parsley has a much stronger flavor than curly leaf, perfect for cooking.
The leaves are dark green with smooth edges, but they’re much stronger than the curly-leaf variety.
If you’re using flat-leaf parsley, be sure to tear or cut it into smaller pieces to eliminate the stem in the middle.
Curly Parsley (Asian)
The curly leaf is famous in Asia and Africa, while flat-leaf is more common in Europe and North America. With its dark green leaves and delicate flavor, this type of parsley is often used as a garnish. But you can also cook with it.
The leaves are soft to the touch with curly edges, but they bruise easily, which means you either need to use them right away or chop them up before adding them to your dish.
Flat Parsley (Asian)
Flat-leaf is very common in Asia and Africa, while the curly leaf is traditional in Europe and North America. Flat-leaf parsley has a strong flavor that stands out very well in cooking, which makes it perfect for soups or stews. The leaves are tender and smooth, and they’re typically shorter and broader than curly-leaf parsley.
This type of parsley holds up well when cooked and doesn’t lose its flavor.
When Should You Use Curly or Flat-Leaf Parsley?
Many people are surprised that curly parsley isn’t always the best choice for a dish.
It all depends on what you want the flavor profile and texture to be like when cooking.
Curly parsley has a strong, distinctive taste and can completely change the flavor profile of any dish if used in too high quantities. If you want delicate, subtle flavors, then curly parsley might not be your best bet.
You should only use this herb if you love its distinct taste and texture because it will overpower anything else in the dish and make it difficult to taste anything but itself.
The best way to incorporate this herb into dishes is by using it as a garnish and adding it at cooking.
Leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley, is used often in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking and widely in European cuisine.
It has a much different flavor than the curly leafed variety and can be more flavorful when paired with bland ingredients such as potatoes. Parsley is also commonly used in soups. It adds a nice accent color as a garnish on soups, stews, or salads.
Parsley is a plant with many qualities, and it can be used in various dishes. It’s essential to know the difference between flat-leaf and curly parsley so you will know when to use each one.
Flat-leaf and curly parsley are essential herbs that can be used in various ways. Be sure to keep them on hand for recipes, garnishes, or just as decoration!
If you’re not yet familiar with these two varieties of this herb, we hope our blog has helped shed some light on the differences between flat-leaf and curly parsley so they can become part of your culinary repertoire.