Herbs are a special category of vegetables. They are aromatic plants, meaning they have strong smells and flavors. Herbs, along with spices, garlic, and onions, give distinctive tastes to our favorite dishes. Many of the traditional flavor combinations of different cuisines from around the world are because of the herbs from that culture. Oregano is the underlying flavor of Italian tomato sauces. Cilantro is the love it or hate it flavor in fresh salsa or pico de gallo. Basil is the key flavor in pesto. Parsley adds to tzatziki’s unique flavor.
Grow Your Own
If you have a green thumb, herbs are a great addition to a home garden or container garden. Most herbs are continuously harvested, keeping your kitchen stocked all season long. Some are even perennials, so they will come back year after year. Growing your own makes fresh herbs more affordable. It can also be a great learning experience for kids to help grow some of their own food, too.
Health Benefits of Herbs
Herbs are full of antioxidants, special substances in plants that help protect the body from damage. Herbs are also very low in calories and naturally low in sodium, adding lots of flavor without salt. Different herbs can contain vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene (plant-based vitamin A), iron, potassium, and many other important nutrients.
Cooking with Herbs
Check out this list of flavor combinations to inspire you in trying new herbs. This list shows many common herbs with serving suggestions. Herbs bring recipes to life, adding great flavor without fat or sodium. A sprinkle of fresh herbs on a dish adds a touch of elegance to an ordinary meal. Fruit and herb infused water helps kids and adults alike drink more water and less sugary drinks. If your plate needs a little zing, try these recipes that feature flavorful herbs.
Homemade Seasoning Blends
Sauces from Scratch
Flavorful Side Dishes
- Brown Rice Tabbouleh
- Whole Wheat Garlic Bread Sticks
- Herb-Stuffed Mushrooms
- Herbed Popcorn and Pretzel Mix
- Herbed Vegetables
Delicious Dips and Dressings