It's easy being green: Bill Granger gives parsley a starring role with his healthy recipes

Parsley is all too often overlooked or just added as a garnish, says our chef

I'm on a one-man crusade to stop people thinking of parsley as nothing more than a pretty face. It seems like such a waste that one of the world's most popular herbs is more often than not used only as a garnish. Honestly, I can't think of anything more depressing on a plate than a lone, limp parsley leaf. The Middle Eastern approach of using whole bunches of parsley in salads is much more up my street: fresh, inviting and you actually get to enjoy how delicious the stuff is.

I usually know when I've had enough of wintry cooking when I start to tire of braised greens, in favour of fresh leaves. The robust earthiness of parsley makes it the perfect winter herb, able to accommodate my rejection of the slow-cooked while still accepting that the weather hasn't quite caught up with my mood and that it is still freezing out there.

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111,

Parsley, fennel and spinach soup

This is such a lovely, perfumed combination – sweet fennel, earthy parsley and spinach then lots of fresh toppings to add vitality and zing. This soup is also lovely served chilled on a warm day.

Serves 4

125g flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
12 fennel bulbs, chopped, fronds reserved
11 onion, chopped
12 garlic cloves, crushed
1750g chicken stock
1200g baby spinach
Grated zest 1 lemon, plus a squeeze of its juice
14 tbsp ricotta
1Crushed dried chillies, to serve

Separate the parsley leaves from the stalks. Chop half the parsley stalks and discard the rest. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped fennel, onion and parsley stalks and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cook for 8 minutes, until softened, add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil then tip in the parsley leaves and spinach. Stir until wilted then blend with a hand-held blender, or tip into a blender or food processor.

Whizz, then return to the pan. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and check the seasoning. Gently reheat, ladle into bowls and top with ricotta, a grating of lemon zest, the reserved fennel fronds and a little dried chilli.

Smoked mackerel, puy lentil and parsley salad

When I'm in a real hurry, I've been known to use sachets of cooked puy lentils for this salad. I know, it sounds ridiculously lazy, but we all have those days, don't we?

Smoked mackerel, puy lentil and parsley salad Smoked mackerel, puy lentil and parsley salad
Serves 4

200g puy lentils
1Juice and grated zest ½ lemon
11 garlic clove, crushed
13 tbsp olive oil
11 tbsp capers
12 banana shallots, finely sliced
11 tsp caster sugar
1Large bunch parsley, leaves only
15 radishes, finely sliced
1300g smoked mackerel, skinned and broken into large flakes

Put the lentils in a pan and cover generously with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, until al dente. Drain and tip into a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, garlic, olive oil and capers and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small bowl and toss through the shallots. Set aside.

When the lentils are almost at room temperature, toss through the parsley, radishes and shallots. Gently fold through the mackerel and serve.

Daily grind: Bill's pesto mix (Kristin Perers) Daily grind: Bill's pesto mix (Kristin Perers)
Pasta with parsley, anchovy and pistachio pesto

I also like to serve this pesto with barbecued meat or fish – it's particularly delicious with lamb.

Serves 4

75g roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
12 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
14 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
1Large bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
11 red chilli, finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
15 tbsp olive oil, plus extra if storing
1400g garganelli or penne pasta

Pasta with parsley, anchovy and pistachio pesto Pasta with parsley, anchovy and pistachio pesto
To make the pesto, place the pistachios, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, chilli and anchovy in a mortar and pound lightly with a pestle. Add some sea salt then stir in the oil.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, keeping back a ladleful of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan and toss through the pesto, adding a little cooking water to loosen, if needed.

Serve immediately with grated Parmesan.

Food preparation: Rosie Reynolds and Marina Filippelli; Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes

Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform