30+ dishes that bring out the best flavour in herbs

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30+ dishes that bring out the best flavour in herbs

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme… Great lyrics, but these herbs are infinitely more enjoyable in dishes that showcase their signature tastes. We give you the run-down of our favourites with recipes that make them shine.


Why we love it: The strong, slightly peppery, resin-like flavour adds heartiness to everything from home-baked breads to good old-fashioned roast chicken.
Try it in:
Buttermilk, honey and smoked salt bread
Rosemary and bacon-wrapped sausages
Roast rosemary chicken with mushrooms
Lamb cutlets with warm rosemary butter beans


Why we love it: Thyme is a great partner to meats, thanks to its slightly minty, peppery taste, and is the ultimate ingredient in stuffing.
Try it in:
Thyme-roasted baby leeks and radishes with free-range chargrilled steaks
Mushrooms stuffed with Gorgonzola and breadcrumbs
Slow-roasted verjuice-and-garlic onions
Garlicky samp with thyme-roasted chicken


Why we love it: The sweet, grassy flavour adds freshness to an array of ingredients, be they humble buttery spuds or fresh fish. As a key ingredient in classic gremolata, parsley beautifully cuts through rich dishes.
Try it in:
Parsnip rostis with sour cream
Baked tuna-and-egg savoury tarts
Biltong salsa verde salad
Whole-wheat and pumpkin salad with gremolata dressing


Why we love it: We couldn’t imagine our favourite Italian dishes without this peppery and aniseedy staple. Plus, it’s the star of one of our best-loved condiments: pesto.
Try it in:
Tomato risotto with fresh basil
Ricotta gnocchi with basil-and-celery-leaf pesto
Vietnamese prawn, mango and basil parcels with tamarind dressing
Aromatic chicken larb with crispy basil


Why we love it: While some might describe the taste as soapy, we love the pungent, grassy, nose-tickling chutzpah of coriander. Thai, Indian and Cape Malay food just wouldn’t be the same without it, plus it adds oomph to salads.
Try it in:
Korma lamb kebabs with coriander-yoghurt dip
Orange, radish and coriander salad
Thai sweet potato curry with coconut and coriander
Beef carpaccio with coriander, chilli and lime pesto and phyllo sesame chips


Why we love it: Who can resist crisply fried sage leaves with gnocchi and burnt butter? There’s just something about the warm, slightly musty aroma that makes this herb a winner, especially in heartier dishes.
Try it in:
Roasted baby carrots with fennel and sage
Pork belly roasted in milk and sage
Nutmeg and pumpkin gnocchi with Gorgonzola cream
Mushroom barley risotto with goat’s cheese and sage


Why we love it: Fresh, slightly sweet and cooling, mint is just tickety boo in our books. It adds sophistication to salads and is the perfect partner for peas.
Try it in:
Woolworths pork schnitzels with quick smashed minted peas
Baby marrow ribbon salad with hazelnuts, mint and spinach
Pineapple-and-ginger zing
Trout gravlax with minted cucumber-and-yoghurt sauce


Why we love it: Savoury-sweet, these tiny leaves pack quite the punch in Italian and Greek dishes.
Try it in:
Roast baby brinjals with garlic, lemon and oregano
Greek-style shepherd’s pie
Beetroot, strawberry and cherry salad with oregano dressing
Baby spinach soup topped with chunky green olives and oregano

Annette Klinger Article by: Annette Klinger

Woolworths TASTE’s features writer maintains that almost any dish can be improved with butter and cream. She’s a stickler for comfort food, especially German treats that remind her of her late grandmother, such as pork schnitzel with sauerkraut and spätzlen. She is a voracious reader of food magazines and recipe books, and instinctively switches over to the cooking channel whenever she checks into a hotel or guesthouse.

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