How many herbs do you keep stocked in your kitchen? I keep the ones I use for making Italian dishes or Mexican food: basil and cilantro. Those two herbs also happen to be the ones I’ve had the most luck growing in containers. My grandma always keeps dried bay leaves on hand for making homemade vegetable soup.
Cooking with herbs can give your dishes new, delicious flavors. You can buy herbs at the grocery store, farmers markets or you can grow them at home. There are probably many herbs that you’ve never thought about cooking with before.
More about herbs:
If you haven’t used many herbs in your cooking before, here’s a guide to pairing herbs with your food. A lot of herbs are versatile and can be used on meat and vegetables as well as in salads and sauces. Some recipes will specify if dried or fresh herbs should be used. Recipes also typically indicate if herbs should be whole, chopped, diced or minced.
Here are some popular cooking herbs and what they pair well with:
Basil — lamb, veal, seafood, game meat, Italian food (pesto, tomato sauce, spaghetti), tomatoes, beans, eggplant, eggs, vinaigrette, soups (pea, potato, vegetable, minestrone)
Bay Leaf — beef, veal, tomatoes, soups
Chives — Meats, fish, eggs, cheeses, butters, breads, salads, vegetables, sauces, vinegars
Cilantro — Mexican cooking, Asian cooking, Caribbean cooking, chicken, shrimp, rice, salsa, tomatoes
Dill — Fish, eggs, yeast breads, potato salad, cole slaw, green beans, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cucumber, summer squash
Fennel — Fish, eggs, salads, sauces, seasonings
Lavender — use lightly in desserts; rhubarb, strawberries, honey, cream
Lemon Balm — Use dried lemon balm for meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, sauces
Marjoram — Beef, veal, chicken, fish, carrots, green beans, peas, summer squash, tomatoes
Mint — Lamb, peas, carrots, salads, fruit salads, sauces, desserts, teas
Oregano — Beef, veal, pork, chicken, game meat, clams, spaghetti, green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, soups (tomato, minestrone, bean)
Parsley — pasta, corn, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, salads
Rosemary — Beef, veal, poultry, lamb, game meat, fish, dumplings, eggs, beans, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, summer squash, cauliflower, turnips, stews, soup (pea, vegetable)
Sage — Beef, pork, poultry, game meat, rice, stuffing, cottage cheese, carrots, peas, potatoes, summer squash, soups (vegetable, minestrone, chicken)
Tarragon — Chicken, fish, eggs, green beans
Thyme — Beef, veal, poultry, lamb, game meat, fish, oysters, eggs, rice, salads, vinegars, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, red potatoes, breads, butters, cheeses, chowders, soups (onion, tomato, vegetable)
Winter savory — dried bean dishes, stews
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