Pairing and Combining Your Fresh Grown Herbs with Food

Cooking with Your Fresh Grown Herbs

Pulled Beef Tacos
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When cooking with the fresh herbs you grow, the only rule is to please yourself and your guests. The following table lists flavorful herb and food combinations and herb substitutions, if you should find yourself suddenly out of your favorite herb. Use it to experiment and learn which herbal flavors you enjoy most.

Some general rules of thumb when cooking with fresh herbs:

  • Flavors will vary. Taste your herbs before you add them to your cooking.


  • Freshly picked herbs will start losing their flavor if stored for days.


  • Tender herb leaves, like basil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel and parsley should be shopped just before use and added at the end of cooking, to retain their flavor.


  • Thicker and woodier herbs, like bay, oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary can be adding during the cooking process to allow them time to meld with the other flavors.


  • Thicker herb leaves, like rosemary and sage, can be very pungent and should be finely chopped and used sparingly or added whole and removed before serving.


  • To substitute dried herbs for fresh, the general rule is:

    1 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped =

    1 tsp. Crumbled Dry or

    1/4 tsp. Ground Dry.

Herb Pairings

BasilMost vegetables. Anything to do with tomatoes.Marjoram, Mint, Anise
BayUsed mainly in soups and stews, where the flavor can develop.Thyme
ChivesSalads and Cold PlatesScallions / Green Onions
CilantroSalsa, Asian and Caribbean DishesFlat-leaf Parsley. Spicy Basils.
DillFish, Chicken, Eggs, Salad, Beans, Carrots, Cucumbers, Cabbage, Potatoes, Pickles & Sour Cream or Yogurt Dips.Caraway
Lemon GrassThai Dishes, Chicken, Beef, Curry, often combined with coconut milk.Lemon Zest
Lemon VerbenaFish, Poultry, Marinades, Salad Dressing, Jams, Sauces, Teas.Lemon Grass, Lemon Zest
MintLamb, Eggplant, Desserts, Teas, Salads, Vegetables, Fruits.Spicy Basils
OreganoBeef, Chicken, Pasta, Tomatoes, “Blacken” RubMarjoram, Mint, Basil
ParsleySalads, TabboulehCilantro
RosemaryChicken, Fish, Lamb, Pork, Potatoes, StewsOregano, Spicy Basils
SagePoultry, Beans, Stuffing, PastaThyme, Summer Savory
Savory (Summer)Vegetables, Fruits, CheeseWinter Savory, Marjoram
TarragonChicken, Eggs, FishAnise, Fennel
ThymePoultry, Eggs, Stews, VegetablesLemon Basil