Fresh Herb & Food Combos

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Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster Countyherbs

A quick snip of a fresh herb into a dish instantly kicks the flavor (and appearance!) up a notch. Following are some popular combinations.

Unless directed otherwise by your recipe, add the more delicate herbs -- basil, chives, cilantro, dill leaves, parsley, and mint -- a minute or two before the end of cooking or sprinkle them on the food before it's served. The less delicate herbs, such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme, can be added about the last 20 minutes of cooking.

BASIL - a natural snipped in with tomatoes; terrific in fresh pesto; other possibilities include pasta sauce, peas, zucchini

CHIVES - dips, potatoes, tomatoes

CILANTRO - Mexican, Asian and Caribbean cooking; salsas, tomatoes

DILL - carrots, cottage cheese, fish, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes

MINT - carrots, fruit salads, parsley, peas, tabouli, tea

OREGANO - peppers, tomatoes

PARSLEY - The curly leaf is the most common, but the flat-leaf or Italian parsley is more strongly flavored and often preferred for cooking. Naturals for parsley include potato salad, tabouli, egg salad sandwiches

ROSEMARY - chicken, fish, lamb, pork, roasted potatoes, soups, stews, tomatoes

THYME - eggs, lima beans, potatoes, poultry, summer squash, tomatoes

Approximate equivalent amounts of different forms of herbs are:

  • 1 tablespoon finely cut fresh herbs
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried herbs
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground dried herbs

Begin with ¼ teaspoon of most ground spices or ground dried herbs for these amounts; adjust as needed. Use more herbs when using a crumbled dried or a fresh form.

  • 4 servings
  • 1 pound of meat
  • 1 pint (2 cups of soup or sauce)

(Red pepper intensifies in flavor during cooking; add in small increments.)

When doubling a recipe, do not double spices and herbs. Increase amounts by 1½ times. Add more if needed.

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