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10 Deliciously herbal recipes

Marnely Rodriguez-Murray is the author of the food blog Cooking with Books. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, she has worked as an overnight bread baker in Colorado and a chocolate maker in Virginia. She currently resides ...

Herbs make food taste better

Herbs are Mother Nature's flavorful gift to cooks and bakers. Whether you're cooking with fresh herbs from your garden or with dried herbs, the possibilities are endless.

Herbs take your recipes to the next level. Whether their presence is strongly noticeable or barely there, they are infusers of flavor and aroma unlike any other ingredient. Imagine a mojito without freshly muddled mint or your favorite salsa without fresh cilantro. What a horrible world it would be if we didn't have fresh herbs.

And for those months when we can't get fresh herbs, dried herbs become our faithful companions. By gently crushing them in the palms of our hands, we're coaxing them to release their natural oils and infuse our recipes with their aroma and flavors.

Cook's Note

Just make sure to refresh your dried spices once a year. Clean out your spice cabinet and throw out spices you don't even remember purchasing. If you haven't used a spice in six months, consider making a challenge and using it more for the next week.

Cooking with herbs

The most common way we use herbs is directly in our savory recipes, whether it's a basil pesto or a lamb roast crusted with rosemary, salt and herbs. Cooking and herbs go hand in hand.


Buttermilk herb dressing

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: An Edible Mosaic

This buttermilk herb dressing would pair well with both hearty winter greens and soft, tender spring greens. Just dress them at different times: Hearty greens can be dressed ahead, while soft greens would benefit from being dressed at the table.


Tomato and basil bake

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: Taste and Tell

Throw this tomato and basil bake in the oven, and the aroma of the sweet basil will infuse your kitchen with dreams of summer. Wait for the perfect summer tomatoes to make this recipe, you won't regret it.


Herb-marinated grilled chicken

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: EverydayMaven

Proteins taste better after a soak in some sort of marinade, like this herb-marinated grilled chicken. Tender and flavorful, this is the perfect way to showcase your favorite herbs.


Grilled salmon with green onions and basil

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: The Heritage Cook

This grilled salmon with green onions and basil is topped with a fresh herb mixture that makes us swoon. Don't have salmon? Use any other fish such as halibut or swordfish.

Baking with herbs

Some baking with herbs:


Wild blueberry basil hand pies

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: Crumb

Why bake an entire pie when you can bake wild blueberry basil hand pies? Perfectly portable, use whatever fresh berries are in season.


Sourdough rosemary bread with olive oil

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: Karen's Kitchen Stories

Baking bread with herbs goes without saying: The flavor is superb. Bake this sourdough rosemary bread with olive oil and serve alongside a big salad.


Strawberry basil fruit rolls

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: spabettie

A perfect snack for kids, these strawberry basil fruit rolls showcase one of the best herb/fruit pairings: strawberries and basil.

Bartending with herbs

Some bartending with herbs:


Basil and bourbon pomegranate cocktail

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: Sweet Remedy

Why sip on bourbon neat when you can make this basil and bourbon pomegranate cocktail? Bottoms up.


Rhubarb basil smash

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: Nutmeg Nanny

It seems basil is the bartender's herb of choice, so we love this rhubarb basil smash. Perfect to make when rhubarb is in season.


Blood orange rosemary cocktail

Herbs make food taste better

Photo credit: Sweet Remedy

This blood orange rosemary cocktail showcases winter citrus and a strong, but lovely herb — rosemary. We're loving the color as well.

Cook's Note

Preserve herbs by freezing them in ice cube trays with olive oil or hanging them to dry in a cool, dry place. Better than buying them at the store.

More on herbs

3 Herb-infused cocktail recipes
Lemon herb chicken and potatoes

Creamy goat cheese polenta with herb pesto

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