One of the best ways to elevate your cooking is by using fresh herbs. Without much extra effort or cost they can add so much flavor, color and sophistication to an otherwise simple dish. Today I’m sharing my top 5 favorite herbs. I usually have at least one of these ready in my fridge to spruce up recipes or add as a finishing touch. Unfortunately my sad apartment gets zero natural light, so having an herb garden is impossible, but as soon as I move somewhere with a sunny window, these 5 herbs are sure to be in it.
If I’m playing favorites, rosemary is my absolute number 1 herb. It has such an earthy, woodsy, slightly piney aroma to it that literally gives me goosebumps when I smell it. I’ll use chopped rosemary in everything from roasted potatoes, to salad dressings, to marinades for chicken, meat and fish. It has a pretty strong flavor, so a little goes a long way, and you will not be disappointed!
Oh basil, you teacher’s pet. Is there anyone that doesn’t love basil? This super fresh, kinda lemony-greeny tasting herb, instantly transports you to Italy. From pesto to marinara, you cannot cook Italian food without basil on hand.
No, not the curly, tasteless parsley that comes on top of an orange twist at the diner (useless garnishes really annoy me). We’re talking about flavorful, bright green, flat-leaf parsley. Adding fresh parsley to jarred tomato sauce instantly brightens the flavor. Or it’s great in heavier pastas or stews to add a freshness and lightness to the dish.
Dill always reminds me of summer. The smell of dill brings on memories of potato and pasta salads at backyard BBQs. This slightly oniony tasting herb works wonders in salads, especially those that are mayo-based; it adds a nice tang and lightness to the dressing.
Try it in Sweet Potato, Bacon & Egg Salad
I know, cilantro is one of the most polarizing herbs out there, and I happen to be on the extreme love pole. Some people claim that cilantro has a soapy taste (they’re crazy); but what some people call soapy, I call unique. I love lots of cilantro in my guacamole, salsa and Asian-inspired dishes.