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How to Use Fresh Herbs

During my family’s rockin’—yes, I mean that literally, because my stepdad’s band was playing—Fourth of July party this past weekend, I found myself snooping around my mom’s garden to see what I could find. The huge basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and bay leaf plants made it clear that fresh herbs would be my score.


With fresh herbs not quite so plentiful the rest of the year, some people aren’t sure how to use the straight-out-of-the-garden variety. Here’s a quick look at how to use some of the most popular herbs out there, complete with recipe suggestions!

Basil: Basil is often added to Italian dishes, like pizza and pasta, because it goes well with tomatoes and soy cheese. No need to cook this one. Sprinkle fresh basil on dishes right before serving. It’s a great addition to Thai dishes too, like Thai Chickpea Soup.

Rosemary: Sprinkling veggies and potatoes with fresh rosemary before roasting them is one of the most comforting uses for fresh herbs. Try this recipe for Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes.

Parsley: Parsley is often seen as the go-to garnish. Sprinkle chopped parsley onto soups, salads, and pastas, or make it the star of the dish in a recipe like Chickpea-Parsley Dip.

Thyme: The earthiness of thyme is perfect for roasted potatoes and for seasoning soups, but you can also use it in light recipes, like Apple-Fennel Salad.

Cilantro: This herb is perfect for adding freshness to Mexican dishes like salsa and guacamole and is commonly used in Thai and Indian dishes as well. Try it in Curried Chickpeas and Dal.

These are just a few of the most common herbs, but I’d like know, which is your favorite?


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  • tinybanquetcommittee says:

    Herbs can be great in desserts, too. Either rosemary or thyme is great in shortbread cookies or pastry crusts, and rosemary in particular is good with apples. I recently used chervil with strawberries; it has a mild anise flavor that can work with both sweet and savory foods.

  • veggievixen says:

    or make pesto!!

  • Lindsay says:

    I’ve been on a huge cilantro kick lately. We’ve got some growing in our garden, too. I’m so excited.

    Thanks for posting about the thyme. I haven’t cooked with it much for some reason.