Herbs are fragrant plants that are used when we cook our favourite recipes. Adding herbs can transform your ordinary recipes into an exciting culinary experience. They are also an especially good source of concentrated micro-nutrients. This includes antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Different herbs have different flavour profiles, and work to enhance the taste of varying dishes. We have compiled a beginner’s list of the most popular herbs and spices to use when you are testing your skills in the kitchen!
With Basil’s sweet and peppery flavour, it matches well with foods such as white meats, roast beef and lamb. Basil and oregano are good partners in crime, so be sure to pair them together when cooking your meals. Basil exudes a sweet and earthy aroma, proving that it is best served as fresh as possible! Using the herb in your Italian dishes, pestos and stir fries will add a mouth-watering pop of flavour that is likely to create an obsession hard to control!
Salmon, carrots and cucumbers are complemented by the grassy flavour of the herb, dill. The feathery fern-like leaves are best served in stews, cream cheese and potato salads, while it gives a new persona to an ordinary omelet. Pair your dill with garlic, parsley or bay leaves for a tasty surprise in your dishes! The best place to store the grassy herb for full-on freshness is generally in a damp paper towel, which is kept in the fridge.
There is a sweet and cool taste to mint, which enhances the flavours of foods such as pork, potatoes, peas and chocolates. Mint leaves can add a much needed taste element to a plain fruit salad, or it can be used as a healthy way to flavour your water. Marinades and jellies take on the sweet tastiness of mint, which can be a delicious flavour profile for your meats.
Beef, chicken, fried fish, pork and turkey meals mix well with the pungent and peppery flavour bomb of the oregano herb. Add in other herbs and spices like chilli, bay leaves, thyme and basil to compliment the tastes. Oregano is at it’s most tasty in tomato sauces and pizzas!
For the best results when using this powerful herb, chop your rosemary finely and sprinkle into poultry stuffing and sauces. Focaccia bread and roasted veggies also suit the woody taste of the herb perfectly. To match and balance the pungent flavour, use your rosemary with oregano, thyme, garlic or olive oil for full flavour.
Sage’s woody flavour adds to the succulent flavour of beef, pork and turkey, and even goes great with veggies, fried fish and cheese! For an extra burst of tang, using sage with garlic or lemon is a great combo to get your taste buds tingling. Hamburgers are the ultimate taste adventure when it comes to the woody herb. Remember to use the whole sage leaf for ideal tasting pleasure.
For chicken or fried fish with a peppery and a slight liquorice flavour, tarragon is the herb of choice when cooking. Prepare your tarragon spiced meals alongside parsley and chives for delicious sauces, egg and cheese dishes. A top tip when using tarragon in a dish is to use the fresh plant, as it does not dry well.
A sprinkling of thyme makes food, like rice dishes, dips and vegetables absolutely delish. The minty taste is so versatile and can be used with bay, rosemary, cilantro and oregano. It’s best to throw some thyme into egg, lamb, grilled fish and turkey recipes! For storage, roll the herb in a damp paper towel in the fridge.
Cooked with beef, chicken, grilled fish or pork, the combination of coriander with ginger or cardamom is a melt-in-your-mouth experience with flavours that are light, sweet and floral. It’s an appetising element to add to apple pies, stuffings, sausages and even green salads.
The fresh flavours of parsley make it the ideal herb to choose when cooking with your tasty fish recipe, chicken meals, potatoes, veggies, or even eggs. A mixture of basil and chives combine well with parsley, balancing out the fresh and grassy flavours. For the best results when cooking with this vibrant herb, chop finely and add at the very last moment to pasta dishes and soups, and you will create a truly delish dish
The herb, chives, has a much milder onion flavour, which works pleasantly with foods such as potatoes, chicken, shellfish and egg courses. Being quite a versatile herb, chives can easily be used as garnish to add flavoursome taste to your favourite soups, sauces, risottos and rice dishes
Cilantro is the herb to love, for those of us that enjoy our heart pumping from our favourite spicy foods. Bright and full of citrus flavour, it is great to add in tacos, curries and even guacamoles. Add elements of avocado, tomatoes, chicken and fish for a fully balanced meal.
Go on, become a herb-ivore 🙂
Roasted potato wedges are so versatile and easy to make. Try crispy wedges topped with salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika for a spiced up twist on traditional wedges. For crispier wedges, bake them for a few extra minutes and eat them up when they are still warm!
For bite-size delicious finger snacks, these potato bites are perfect. Cut baby potatoes in half and scoop out the insides of the halves. Add cheese, minced beef and butter to the potato insides, salting the mixture to taste. Place the filling back in the halves and sit them on a baking sheet, baking for 10 minutes. Serve these bites of flavour with a dollop of sour cream for a tasty treat.
For a healthy and crispy snack alternative, try making these crispy sweet potato chips. Slice sweet potatoes into paper-thin rounds with a mandolin slicer. Coat each piece in olive oil, and lay single layers of sweet potato rounds out on the baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt, and bake until crisp. Let the chips cool off for 5 minutes and then store in a plastic bag – if they aren’t already finished!
Potato salad is a hit at any braai or dinner gathering! Peel the skins of boiled potatoes and cut into large diced pieces. First mix with chopped onion and sliced hard boiled eggs and then combine with a mixture of mayonnaise, yellow mustard and salt and pepper. Sprinkle with paprika. Remember to let both the salad and yourself chill for at least an hour before serving!
Who doesn’t love crispy potatoes? We sure do. Mix dried off grated potatoes with onions, flour and any seasoning of your choice! Fry tablespoon fulls of the mixture in a frying pan, without overcrowding the pan. Press down on them slightly, letting each side cook for about 2 minutes. Serve with a juicy egg and some fresh herb sauce for dipping!
For a crunchy treat, try these loaded potato skins! After boiling, cut potatoes in halves before scooping out the potato insides, leaving a ½ cm thick skin. Brush the skin with olive oil and use salt and pepper to season, cooking until crisp. When ready, fill the potato skins with cooked bacon and grated cheese and bake until melted. Serve with sour cream and sprinkled spring onions!
For a potato dish that gets your blood flowing, whip up delicious mash potatoes with a wasabi twist. It’s simple! Mash up boiled potatoes with heated milk and butter until smooth and creamy. Add salt, pepper and a dash of wasabi to taste for that unexpected kick!
Need an easy low-carb snack? These sweet potato toast slices are the perfect health-conscious nibbles. Slice a large sweet potato into vertical slices, about 1cm wide . Turn your toaster all the way up and toast each slice twice or until slightly browned. Top off with peanut butter, banana and cinnamon or try a fried egg to top it off.