Herbs to Your Dishes to Make Them Pop

Herbs to Your Dishes blog 06 22 Image licensed under Shutterstock

With rising costs of groceries, more processed foods on store shelves and a plethora of fast-food chains, it has become harder to eat with nature. Roughly over the past two decades, the number of adults consuming produce has decreased by 11%.

We all know fruits and vegetables are good for our health, but it can be hard to think of ways to incorporate them into our meals every day. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend eating four-and-a-half servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Although this might sound like a lot, it really isn’t. One serving is about ½ cup, which is equivalent to how much you can hold in one cupped hand.

In honor of Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Day on May 21, here are a few ways you can incorporate more of these nutritious (and delicious) foods.


Photo used licensed by Shutterstock

A cornerstone of Italian cooking, basil is a strongly flavored herb that adds a distinct flavor to pizza, salads and pasta. Although it’s the main ingredient in pesto, it also brings out the best in vinaigrettes, tomato sauces and soups. It doesn’t hurt to sprinkle a few fresh basil leaves on a Margherita pizza, either.

Try this basil-packed recipe from Epicurious: White Pizza with Shaved Vegetables and Pesto


Photo used licensed by Shutterstock

Most popularly used in Mexican cuisine, cilantro is definitely a love-or-hate herb due to how people perceive its taste. Although it looks similar to parsley, cilantro leaves are more rounded than parsley’s pointed ones. It also has a spicy, citrusy scent (although some believe it tastes like soap) while parsley’s aroma is more herbal and mild. Use cilantro with lime to really bring out its flavor.

Try this summer recipe from Taste of Home: Shrimp Tostadas with Lime-Cilantro Sauce


Image used licensed by Shutterstock

Ah, sweet, pungent dill. This herb has a distinctive yet light flavor that goes especially well with pickles. Dill really brings out the best in potato salads, fish, meat and vegetable dishes. When using dill, be sure to add it at the end of cooking since it loses its flavor in heat.

Try this recipe from The Kitchn: Ukrainian Dill Potatoes


Photo used licensed by Shutterstock

You can find dishes in plenty of cuisines that use parsley as its star herb or even just as garnish. Italian (or flat leaf) parsley is the type most commonly used in kitchens since it provides more flavor than Chinese (or curly) parsley. With its mild, herbal flavor, it doesn’t overpower dishes, but it does provide them with the right touch of good taste.

Try this parsley-loaded recipe from Food52: My Mother's Lebanese Tabouleh


Photo used licensed by Shutterstock

Rosemary is a particularly fragrant herb with pine-y and lemony overtones. It’s best to use this herb to season vegetables, tomato sauces and meats. Its flavorful benefits also apply to cocktails: You can make a delicious rosemary simple syrup or add a sprig of rosemary as a garnish to your favorite drink.

Try this recipe featuring rosemary from Epicurious: Grilled Rosemary Lamb with Juicy Tomatoes


Photo used licensed by Shutterstock

Sage isn’t just for keeping bad juju away. Known for its fuzzy texture, sage’s woodsy and fragrant aroma makes it a more popular cooking herb for autumn, brightening up heavy dishes like butternut squash soups, sausages and pasta.

Try this recipe from Bon Appétit: Grilled Fontina, Mushroom and Sage Sandwiches


Photo used licensed by Shutterstock

If you’re a licorice fan, this “King of Herbs” (at least in France) is for you. Set apart from other herbs for its skinny, glossy leaves, tarragon has a subtle flavor that shines in many French dishes (especially Béarnaise sauce). However, its light flavor also makes it a beautiful addition to chicken, eggs and fish.

Try this herb-packed recipe from Food52: Fennel-Pistachio Pesto Lasagna


Photo used licensed by Shutterstock

We couldn’t finish this list without including thyme. Its magical little leaves with their earthy aroma make vegetables, meat, chicken and even desserts sing. Since it has an intense flavor, we recommend only using it in small amounts.

Try this recipe featuring thyme from Food and Wine: Olive Oil-Thyme Cake with Fig and Black Pepper

Remember, you can always pick up herb plants at any Doris Italian Market location.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *