3 Easy Tips for Flavoring Food with Herbs

April 06, 2010 - Posted by Sarah D-P

The other weekend, I had my friends and family over for a barbeque. As the food was cooking, we got into a conversation about some of our favorite flavors.  My uncle, joking around as always, made the comment, “There are really only three things to flavor food with: salt, pepper and butter.” We all laughed, but the conversation got me thinking. I wanted to explore ways to add flavor to food without adding unnecessary fat and sodium. 

My grandma is a master of cooking with herbs, so I spent an afternoon learning some tips and tricks on how to cook amazing food with herbs. And of course, I wanted to share everything I learned with my readers!  So here are a few of my favorite tips from the afternoon that you can try with your own cooking! 

1. Balancing flavors is key.
When cooking with herbs, it is always important to balance delicate and hearty flavors. Here are a few combinations to get you started.

  • Fish and seafood: dill, parsley and chervil
  • Baked lamb and roast pork: rosemary, oregano and garlic
  • Root vegetables: chives, basil, parsley

2. Substitutions are allowed.
Don’t have fresh herbs on hand?  Don’t be afraid to substitute dried herbs in place of their fresh counterparts. While I think fresh herbs will always have an upper-hand on taste, dried herbs can make a great substitution. Just remember, when using dried in place of fresh herbs, a general guideline is to use 1/3 of what you would normally use in the recipe. This is just a guideline, though, so always trust your taste buds!

3. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Dried and fresh herbs can be used in many combinations.  One thing to keep in mind when trying these different combinations is that they can be altered to your liking.  Don’t be afraid to unleash your creativity by trying and experimenting with new flavors. My grandma has a recipe box of notes she would keep when experimenting with herb combinations, so she could record and remember the successful match-ups.

To get you started, here’s one of my grandma’s favorite herb mixtures: Herbes de Provence. She uses this on braised meat and game dishes. Usually she uses dried herbs, but you can most certainly use fresh herbs instead!

  • 3 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried savory
  • 1 tsp dried lavender flowers

Do you have a favorite herb? Share your favorite combinations by leaving a comment below!


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