The 5 Most Used Herbs In The Kitchen
With the blooms of spring and fresh flavors of summer, now is the time to take advantage of fresh herbs! Herbs are any leafy green or flowering part of a plants used for food, flavoring, medicine, or fragrances for their savory or aromatic properties. The five most commonly used herbs (or at least in my kitchen) are: Mint, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, and Oregano. Typically, the ethnicity of my cooking dish will dictate which herbs I will use. However, I want to expand my kitchen herb usage to incorporate spicy drinks, cool appetizers, and flavorful entrees.
Here is how to take these five common herbs to the next level…
Mint is a sweet, cool herb making it known for its role in fruit salads, curries, cream sauces, soups, marinades, and mojitos. Some of my favorite ways to incorporate mint is infusing water, gulping down fresh mojitos, or making Greek yogurt dishes. These are some of the more common and traditional uses of mint.
Take mint to the next levels by:
- Switching your vodka to whiskey in this Irish Mule
- Bring your smoothie to life with a fresh punch of mint in the Tropical Mint or Mint Chip Smoothies
- Dip your mint leaf in chocolate in a Chocolate Covered Mint Leaf for a real thin mint
- Shove basil aside in this Mint Pesto
- Enhance your veggies with Sautéed Zucchini with Mint, Basil, & Pine Nuts
Basil is a sweet, peppery herb that is common used in pestos, tomato sauces, soups, stews, stir fries, curries, and Italian dishes. I like to scarf basil down on a Margherita pizza, pesto, or any tomato, mozzarella, balsamic combination!
Enhance your basil like this:
- Change from Margherita to Blackberry Basil Ricotta Pizza
- Infuse it in a salad dressing with this Sweet Basil Vinaigrette
- Dip everything from fries to carrots in Basil Garlic Aioli
- Use it in a Basil Peso Hummus
- Turn it into a sophisticated grilled cheese in a Blueberry Basil & Goat Cheese Panini
Cilantro is a bright, citrusy herb that is typically found in salsas, guacamoles, chutneys, soups, curries, salads, and Mexican cuisine. If I’m cooking Mexican, cilantro is in any and every dish, from the margarita to the guacamole to the enchiladas.
Better yourself with these cilantro up-do’s:
- Make a delicious salad dressing with Healthy Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Replace butter with this herby version of Cilantro Lime Butter
- Step up your pesto game in this Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto
- And it’s probably a good idea to make this Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus while you’re add it
- Up your game with this Pineapple and Cilantro Moscow Mule
Parsley’s fresh, grassy taste stands out in sauces, salads, and garnishes. When I use parsley, I’m typically doing all things Italian, from homemade fettuccine Alfredo to garlic bread.
Crazier ways to use your parsley:
- Because you won’t be able to stop eating this Artichoke Dip with Fontina
- Cause I have never used it in a smoothie and this Parsley, Kale, and Berry Smoothie sounds great
- It’s time to finally make these Homemade Falafels
- Finally, Giada knows what she’s doing with parsley in this Italian Whole-Roasted Cauliflower With Parsley and Roast Beef With Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce
Oregano is known for its pungent, peppery tast in many tomato sauces, pizzas, and salad dressing. I have to admit, I typically use dried oregano, so these recipes serve to inspire me to step my fresh oregano herb game up as well.
Bring out more flavor with these new ways to use oregano:
- Infuse oregano in your pizza dough with Oregano Garlic Pizza Dough
- Get inspired and take out your anger with Crispy Oregano Smashed Potatoes
- Have a Oregano Cobbler for your next drink
- Toss on Oregano croutons on your soups and salads
- Decide to double up the oregano in this Eggplant Parmesan
These 5 common herbs are traditional staples in many dishes, however these innovative recipes will take any dish to the next level and blow your taste buds away. Currently, my favorite is the Mint Chip Smoothie… Let us know your favorite herb recipe below or if you have any herby suggestions!
Featured Image Courtesy of GoRedForWomen