How To Cook With Herbs

Find out how to use herbs in your daily cooking, including tips and tricks on when to add them. We’ll show you which herbs work best with what types of food!

For vibrant and healthy cooking, try adding herbs to your kitchen pantry. Fresh herbs can be used as they are, in seasoning and marinating, cooking, and as tasty garnishes. Herbs are sold in cut bunches or as potted plants, often with little price difference, so try adopting a plant or two for your kitchen.

You’ll notice a new look and smell right away, and most require little care. There are no rights and wrongs when using herbs, just take a sniff and experiment. Here are some easy ways to incorporate herbs into your kitchen and into your daily cooking.

Chopped, fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley enlighten salads, the fresh green kind or the prepared, dressed kind like chicken or seafood salad. Lemon thyme leaves are a treat in tuna salad, taking away that fishy smell and giving a lovely fresh burst of flavor.

Seasoning and marinating meats or vegetables with herbs is a good way to kick-start flavor in your favorite dishes. Buy a big bunch of herbs and make up a marinade. It’s simple and they can be made well ahead of time and stored in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for several days or freeze it for a longer time. Chop your fresh herb, garlic, and onions (green, red, yellow or white) and combine with your favorite oil and vinegar.

Try a splash of fresh fruit juice or blended fruit to complement. Here are some recommended pairings: Parsley with lime; basil or oregano with tomato; rosemary or thyme with cranberry, lemon, cherry or guava; sage with apple or cherry.

A traditional Argentine condiment, chimichurri, is made with fresh finely chopped flat leaf parsley, onions, and garlic, then slightly blended into a mixture of lime, olive oil, salt and dried pepper flakes. Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. This mixture improves with age and is a great way of marinating steaks, chicken, seafood, or pork. It’s also a delicious sandwich spread or side item, used like a salsa.

Rosemary is traditionally used to season lamb, but try it on grilled salmon, too. Use it in a marinade and transfer the rosemary stalks with the meat or fish into the oven when cooking. Lamb dishes are often served with mint sauce, which is full of sugar. Try marinating and cooking the lamb in a rosemary and mint marinade for a more delicious and healthful dish. When roasting chicken or pork, fresh sage and thyme are extremely good complements: just add to your marinade and leave it in during cooking.

Cilantro is an amazingly versatile herb. It’s the secret ingredient in Asian and Mexican cuisine, so the next time you’re making a curry dish or your favorite taco, fajita or burrito recipe, pick off a handful of cilantro leaves and add during and after cooking.

If you’re in the mood for Italian, fresh basil and oregano are must’s, tempering the acidity in tomato-based dishes and infusing a slightly sweet aroma; you won’t need to add sugar. A basil plant is probably the easiest herb to care for. When you’re ready, pluck a few leaves from this lovely smelling kitchen plant and toss them into a simmering pot of tomato sauce. You can even do as the Italians do and scream at the plant for good luck. That’s bound to add flavor to your kitchen.

Fresh herbs intensify flavors in your soups, so you won’t need to rely on sodium-filled stock cubes. Try cilantro and parsley in chicken soup, thyme and parsley in beef soups, and any herb in vegetable or bean soups.