5 Best Herbs for Cooking

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Author Name: Beth Rush
Date: Monday August 24, 2020

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Here’s a quick tip for any novice chefs out there. When you think you’ve created a masterpiece, an herb can take your dish one step further! However, what herbs pair best with certain foods? It’s all about how an herb’s flavor profile works with what you want to cook.

That said, you should always have a few staples handy. Here are the five best herbs for cooking.

1. Oregano

Do you love Mediterranean food? Oregano grows throughout Italy and Greece, where people love to sprinkle this herb on almost any dish. Think pasta, salad, pizza and meat. It offers a potent taste that’s slightly bitter. It’s best to choose dried oregano over fresh leaves if you want to avoid an overpowering flavor.

Most cooks use oregano to season tomato-based sauces. You can also combine oregano with olive oil to spread over meat as a marinade. Oregano supplies many health benefits, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle it on everything!

2. Mint

What’s more delicious than a little mint for your iced tea? Mint creates a slightly sweet flavor that complements several recipes, from lamb chops to chicken thighs. You can find this herb throughout most continents. You’ll discover that it balances out spicy dishes, which makes it terrific for certain dressings.

You can even grow a mint plant so that you have a constant supply! It’s always nice to drink a mint julep while you cook, right?

3. Basil

From sweet to holy, there’s a basil type that’ll fit perfectly inside your spice cabinet. Asian countries tend to use Thai basil, which has a more licorice-like taste. Most chefs like to use basil as a garnish after they cook a meal. You’ll also find it as a dried herb, which works well for many Italian sauces.

You can use basil for almost any recipe — soups, sandwiches and salads. You can even make homemade pesto with basil. These plants grow well inside houses, so many cooks like to keep a basil plant handy for their recipes.

4. Sage

If you’ve ever helped cook a Thanksgiving dinner, you may have used sage. This herb comes from the Mediterranean region. It’s earthy and peppery, with lemon and eucalyptus notes. Today, it’s incorporated into heartier dishes that people eat throughout the fall. Think Thanksgiving turkeys and stuffing, as well as squash and sausage.

You can also use sage to create a sage butter sauce, which some like to pour on pasta.

5. Rosemary

A rosemary plant possesses needle-like leaves that break off into sprigs. Like oregano and sage, it comes from dry areas throughout the Mediterranean. Rosemary tastes somewhat piney, even though it’s apart of the mint family – who knew? Unlike most spices, it’s well preserved when dried. That said, it’s often easy to use too much.

Many recipes call for rosemary. You can use this herb to season roasted potatoes. You could also create a rosemary butter for steak. What about a rosemary lemon cake? There are so many applications.

Keep These Herbs Stocked for Your Favorite Recipes

These are the best herbs for cooking. Whether you want to make spaghetti and meatballs or a roasted chicken, you can’t go wrong with these picks.

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