Your fave ways to use fresh herbs (when you have lots to get through)

Whether they're coming from the garden in your backyard or on the balcony, your local store or the farmers market—what are your favorite ways to use lots of fresh herbs? We'd love to hear your ideas!

Emily Kochman


PJN July 15, 2022
To upgrade a frozen cheese pizza to a Margherita with flavor and substance, place sliced tomatoes all over the top of the pizza and bake according to directions. As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, generously cover the top with thinly cut strips of fresh basil. Aromatic and delicious!!! Also, always keep a small plant of one of your favorite aromatic herbs on your kitchen windowsill to "ruffle" and inhale for an aromatherapeutic lift!
A H. July 12, 2022
I just love a lot of basil in a fresh garden salad…with a home made fresh salad dressing!! One can never have enough basil and dill.
pamela July 10, 2022
I put them whole on the grill for scent-infused smoke.
Love putting them in fresh flower arrangements throughout the house.
Take a mixed amount and blend herb vinaigrette.
When orzo is drained, stir in butter (or olive oil), lemon zest, and chopped herbs.
VeraP July 10, 2022
Oh, my niece added to my previous post; "drain the boiled potatoes"
arielcooks July 10, 2022
Quick-and-dirty long pasta. Make it al burro with lots of black pepper and freshly chopped basil, or oregano, or any herb you favor.
VeraP July 10, 2022
Boil bite-size potato chunks in salted water. Add a good amount (handful) of fresh dill + finely chopped garlic + butter. Mix. If you have enough leftovers, heat them up in a frying pan the next day, either on their own or with fried eggs. Yum. P.S. I almost never have leftovers of this potato salad.
JJ J. July 10, 2022
I've been fascinated by herbs since I was a child and always have them in my garden. I try to use at least one type of fresh herb nearly every single day, and some of my favorite ways to use them are: in flavored waters (basil+cucumber+peach/nectarine slice or mint+lime+pineapple = heaven!); herbed vegan butter spreads; in soups, pasta, and salads; and herb dipping oils served with cubes of fresh focaccia. When it's time to harvest my herbs, I bundle them in bouquets to make an herb wreath/spray so I can continue to use them throughout the year. If I'm having a stressful day, I'll grab some lavender and cut it up into a small bowl so I can enjoy the calming scent, and if I'm exhausted and need a pick-me-up, I cut some fresh rosemary sprigs and pop them in the tub with some Epsom salts for an energizing bath. Bay leaves are taped to the inside lid of my flour, corn starch, polenta, and rice containers to keep pesty moths away. And I'm getting ready to make some raspberry + mint vinegar for salad dressing. I find a fresh herb can enhance just about any homemade salad dressing or sauce - recent favorites have been marjoram and thyme. My grandmother always used herbs for cooking, baths, teas, and even an occasional tonic. She called them "nature's gift" and I can't imagine not having them around!
AntoniaJames June 18, 2021
Also, Ottolenghi has a great turkey burger recipe full of herbs (so many of his recipes do). Here's a link:

Another Ottolenghi recipe - one that uses even more herbs - is this couscous, cherry tomato and herb salad - full of cilantro and mint:

And let's not forget ice cream: Mint basil chip ice cream. So good!

AntoniaJames June 18, 2021
Oregano fresh from the garden, finely chopped + finely chopped anchovies + a clove of garlic, smashed + oil, salt and lemon juice, slathered on grilled vegetables, after turning them over the last time.

Fresh dill and chives from the garden, plus parsley, in chicken salad, or potato salad. I eat dill from my garden all summer, and never tire of it. Never.

If you have a ton to get through, especially dill, which doesn't hold up particularly well in the fridge, finely chop it and stuff as much of it as you can into a small container; cover with ice cold water and freeze for future use. To use, thaw and drain it well and then use it in potato salad, chicken salad, or in melted butter over chicken cutlets or fish of any kind.

Or, make compound butter: soften butter (salted or unsalted), mix finely chopped herbs into it, roll it in wax paper (I use the paper the stick of butter came in) and then tightly wrap in freezer paper. Save for the fall. Serve over fish or chicken or grilled steak or (especially if the butter is salted) crackers on a cheese board - so decadent, so delicious. ;o)
Miss_Karen June 16, 2021
I make a pesto filled challah bread.
Happygoin June 15, 2021
I just made a killer tabbouli because I have parsley up the ting-yang. Made my own pita chips to go with. Da-lish!
Emily K. June 16, 2021
Perfection :).
Nancy June 15, 2021
Spring herb salad....use a variety of soft spring lettuces & leafy herbs in quantity. Can be simple with vinaigrette and/or garnished with other vegetables (asparagus, artichoke), protein (hard-cooked egg, cheese), etc. First learned of from Chef Frank Stitt of Alabama. Now many recipes out there.
Emily K. June 16, 2021
Healthy, delicious—and versatile! Love this variation, too:
702551 June 15, 2021
My favorite way of using a bounty of fresh herbs is to give them away to family, friends, and acquaintances who I know will appreciate them.

Years ago I decided to start growing the herbs that I use the most frequently for A.) better quality, B.) easier access, and C.) save money.

The last point is funny. Think about it: a $1 or $2 bunch of organic grocery-store/farmers market herbs is more expensive by weight than USDA Prime sirloin steak or sashimi-grade bluefin tuna.

I routinely give fresh herbs to the guy who runs my favorite coffee shop. He knows that the bag of herbs that I pass over the counter is probably $6-8 at Whole Foods Market and my stuff is better because it was picked two hours ago, not a week ago. Occasionally he comps me an espresso drink but that's not my expectation (I still tip heavily if he does). And I know he occasionally shares my gift with some of his other customers who also like to cook.

If I have too much to gift, I'm not going to try to find a way to preserve some scraggly, limp and tired herbs. They end up in the compost bin.

Heck, I grow epazote that I use in small quantities and when I have a bumper crop, I give some to the cooks at the nearby restaurants. Usually none of the dishes on the menu will call for it but they will definitely bring it home for personal use or perhaps for the staff "family meal."

These days I am also gifting transplants (chives are an herb that propagates very easily) as well as seeds. I gave some dried beans to one of my healthcare providers because I know someone in her household likes to garden.

Seed packets are worth $2-3, a live seedling is maybe $4-5. But it's more about the thought, less about saving a buck.
Emily K. June 16, 2021
Thanks so much for your thoughts, 702551. Sounds like you have some very lucky neighbors, and I'm sure they really appreciate your generosity (and great gardening skills!).
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