12 Best Herbs to Use in Cooking

There are many kinds of wonderful herbs that enhances the flavor and aroma of food.  Each one is versatile in many ways.  Fresh herbs are used in stews, soups, pasta, salads, marinades, roasts, ice cream, baked goods, meat loaf, dips and vegetables.  Some herbs like mint are popular in making cocktails.

I grow a lot of herbs in my garden and I use them in my everyday cooking.  If you grow them, it is very convenient to just snip it as you need them.  They are easy to grow.  Some of them are perennials and don’t die out in the winter.  Others grow as annuals in some areas.

Basil is very flavorful in pasta and salads, pesto, and sandwiches.  You can snip it with your fingers or julienne it with a knife and add it at the end as a garnish. Any pasta with tomatoes is good with basil.  Pasta salads with italian dressing are excellent with basil.  Try adding basil with parsley to the dressing in  French Nicoise salad.  It’s delicious! I also add it to a grilled panini with fried egg, tomato and cheese.

Italian parsley to me is the most versatile herb there is.  I use it in soups, stews, pasta, salads, meatloaf, chimichurri or salsa verde, sautéed vegetables, frittatas and as a garnish.

Rosemary has an earthy, woodsy flavor.  It is great used in marinades for meat like pork chops, lamb, and chicken.  As a marinade, it is excellent when mixed with balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper or with lemon.  It is also used for infusing olive oil.   I use it in stews and soups.  Try adding a sprig of rosemary on top of the meat you are grilling.

Chives has a light onion flavor.  It is popular in making eggs, quiches, frittata, deviled eggs and as a garnish.  The purple flowers are an added bonus to this plant!

Thyme is lemony in flavor.  It is  used in stews, soups, meatloaf, sautéed vegetables, and even in cocktails.  Try making ratatouille with thyme and goat cheese.

Oregano is widely used in Latin and Mediterranean cuisine.  In Greece they use it to marinate chicken and to flavor stews. The Italians use it in pasta sauce, meatballs, and salad dressing.  The Latin countries use it in stews and marinades. It has a bit of strong flavor so a little of it goes a long way.

Tarragon has a slight licorice flavor. It is used in salad dressing and to infuse olive oil and vinegar.  Try adding  a little to deviled eggs for a different flavor. Mix it into your chicken salad and I promise you will love it!

Lavender is used in making ice cream and baked goods.

Mint is delicious with lamb.  Add it to your sauce with roasted lamb.  It’s also great with cocktails such as mojitos.  Add it to your iced tea or lemonade and it is so refreshing!

Cilantro is used in making salsa, fajitas, chimichurri sauce, rice and as a garnish.

Sage is commonly used in roasting turkey, stuffing, and vegetables.  Try it with butter as a sauce for pumpkin or butternut squash ravioli.  It is also fried and use as a garnish.

Dill is used in potato salad, grilled fish, deviled eggs, and egg sandwiches.