Cooking with Fresh Herbs | Midwest Living

Cooking with Fresh Herbs

Share your garden's bounty with recipes that capitalize on fresh herbal flavors.

Pea and Mint Pesto

Fresh mint and sweet peas shine in this bright, versatile pesto. We love it as a dip, sandwich spread and pasta sauce (thinned with a little water), but we suspect that you’ll find even more ways to use it for a burst of early-summer flavor.

Pea and Mint Pesto

Fresh Herb Pasta Primavera

A Parmesan cream sauce tops pasta made with your choice of fresh herbs and veggies. 

Fresh Herb Pasta Primavera

Herb Butter Mashed Potatoes

Create herb butter by adding snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, oregano and thyme to softened butter.

Herb Butter Mashed Potatoes

Mini Puffs with Goat Cheese and Herbs

Mix parsley, dill or basil, and pepper into goat and cream cheese for a filling for these delicate puffs. Bake the puffs ahead of time and freeze until needed.

Mini Puffs with Goat Cheese and Herbs

Lemon-Basil Pasta

Lemon, basil and olive oil form a pestolike sauce to complement the linguine and kidney beans. From start to finish, this five-ingredient dinner takes only 25 minutes.

Lemon-Basil Pasta

Fingerling Potato Salad with Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette

You'll have more Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette than you need for this fresh-tasting potato salad; keep the extra dressing on hand for another potato or pasta salad. The recipe is from Chicago chef Myk Banas.

Fingerling Potato Salad with Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette

Pea and Mint Pesto

Fresh mint and sweet peas shine in this bright, versatile pesto. We love it as a dip, sandwich spread and pasta sauce (thinned with a little water), but we suspect that you’ll find even more ways to use it for a burst of early-summer flavor.

Pea and Mint Pesto

Minted Iced Tea

Top this fruit-infused tea with a refreshing garnish of mint for the perfect summer drink.

Minted Iced Tea

Basil Tomato Salad

Designed for a potluck or large family gathering, this make-ahead salad features a mustard-garlic vinaigrette along with cut green beans, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, your choice of pasta and lots of basil.

Basil Tomato Salad

Fresh Rosemary & Lemon Cupcakes

Italian flavors inspired this cupcake with its refreshing blend of fresh rosemary and lemon and topping of lemon glaze.

Fresh Rosemary & Lemon Cupcakes

Sage Potato Rolls

For a pretty presentation, lightly dip the top of each dough ball into flour or brush with egg white. Top each with a sage leaf, brush with egg white, and place on prepared baking sheets.

Sage Potato Rolls

Hearty Boys Cilantro-Garlic Ribs

Combine cilantro, soy sauce and Asian sweet chili sauce to create an Asian-inspired sauce for these ribs.

Hearty Boys Cilantro-Garlic Ribs

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Rub a blend of lemon peel, rosemary, thyme, parsley and garlic on the chicken before baking; Add fresh thyme sprigs and garlic bulbs around the chicken for even more flavor. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots make this a one-pan meal.

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Cheddar-Basil Mini Scones

Snips of fresh basil add color and flavor to these mini scones. Freeze up to a month, and pop into an oven to reheat.

Cheddar-Basil Mini Scones

Fire-Roasted Dilled Potato Medley

Season this colorful potato, carrot and onion combination with just dill, salt and pepper.

Fire-Roasted Dilled Potato Medley

Honey-Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Amateur beekeeper and Chicago chef Myk Banas suggests serving these light cookies with your favorite sorbet or ice cream. His choice is a classic lemon sorbet.

Honey-Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

 

Lemon-Dill Walleye Sandwiches

Our walleye sandwiches showcase fish grilled on a bed of lemon slices with a lemon-and-dill marinade.

Lemon-Dill Walleye Sandwiches

Lamb Chops with Garlic and Lavender

Lemon and lavender top off these hearty lamp chops. Prep the night before for easy weeknight grilling.

Lamb Chops with Garlic and Lavender

Mint Ice Cream

Give homemade vanilla ice cream a refreshing twist of mint. A dash of salt in the cream mixture enhances sweetness.

Mint Ice Cream

Basil-Buttered Salmon

An all-purpose marinade of basil and butter works great on salmon, halibut or sea bass fillets. Broil or grill for an easy meal.

Basil-Buttered Salmon

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad

Combine just five ingredients for this juicy salad. It offers an unusual blend of ingredients that complement each other. We liked the sweet fruit with fresh mint.

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad

Parsley-Herb Rice with Cranberries

This colorful rice makes the perfect side dish for any celebration. Stir in fresh basil and parsley just before serving.

Parsley-Herb Rice with Cranberries

Watermelon-Basil Lemonade

Jazz up traditional lemonade with watermelon slices and fresh basil leaves.

Watermelon-Basil Lemonade

Grilled Green Tomatoes with Garden Herb Salad

This recipe is perfect just before the beginning of tomato season and just as it ends. Grilling the tomatoes gives them a smokiness that complements their natural tanginess. 

Grilled Green Tomatoes with Garden Herb Salad

Scented Geranium Cake

Flowers from scented geraniums do double duty, lending color and flavor to the pound cake and to sugar sprinkled on top.

Scented Geranium Cake

Lemon-on-Lemon Carrot Soup

Lemon thyme and fresh lemon slices add a double dose of refreshing flavor to this nutritious, low-fat side-dish soup.

Lemon-on-Lemon Carrot Soup

Fruit-and-Herb Crepes

Sage, basil or mint flavor delicate crepes filled with a yogurt-fruit mixture. Use whatever fruit combination you prefer.

Fruit-and-Herb Crepes

Herbed Country Twist Bread

You can add a different herb to each rope of this braided bread, or combine them and add them to the whole batch of dough.

Herbed Country Twist Bread

Herb-Lover's Salad

Toss edible flowers and greens with a homemade vinaigrette, then add snipped fresh tarragon, marjoram, and chives.

Herb-Lover's Salad

Herbed Gruyere Ring

Top cream puffs with nutty-tasting Gruyere cheese and stir-fry an assortment of vegetables with basil, chives, and parsley to toss with chicken for a colorful filling.

Herbed Gruyere Ring

Rosemary Biscuits

Whole-wheat flour and rosemary give these biscuits a nutty-herb flavor. Try them with soup or salad.

Rosemary Biscuits

Grow your own herbs

Easy-to-grow herbs thrive in a variety of settings. Try a small kitchen container garden for easy access to fresh ingredients.

Rosemary (pictured): This drought-tolerant shrub likes hot, sunny spots with quick-draining soil. Use rosemary to flavor main dishes, such as chicken, as well as some sweet desserts.

Basil: This annual herb grows best in full sun and rich, moist soil. Once the root system is established, about six weeks after sowing, it tolerates short periods of drought. Use it in pesto or Italian dishes.

Cilantro: Plant this annual herb in well-drained soil. Cilantro grows best in sun, although it tolerates some shade. Because it has a long taproot, place it in a container at least 12 inches deep. Cilantro adds extra tang to Mexican or Asian dishes.

More herbs to grow

Oregano (pictured): This perennial plant likes full sun and well-drained potting mix. The more sun oregano receives, the more pungent the flavor of the leaves. It does not tolerate wet soil. Use oregano in pizza and pasta sauces.

Thyme: Thyme comes in many varieties, and all grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. A sprinkle of thyme adds a savory flavor to roasted vegetables.

Mint: This vigorous plant becomes invasive unless confined to a pot. Grow in full sun or partial shade. Garnish drinks or desserts with a fresh sprig of mint, or use in salads.

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