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How to Make Herbs the Star of Any Meal

Herbs are often employed as garnishes, but we’re here to prove that tender and hardy varieties are equally worthy of taking center stage. Blended into a citrusy sauce, folded into dough, or mixed into a pitcher of sangria, herbs add a layer of complexity that complements sweet and savory recipes alike. So instead of snipping off a couple stems here and there, grab a handful and get cooking with these herb-forward ideas. 

First things first: store ’em right.

If you haphazardly throw a bunch of fresh herbs into the fridge, it’ll be headed to the compost pile faster than you can say “pesto.” To make tender herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint, and tarragon last longer, lightly wrap the whole bunch in a damp paper towel and store in a reusable zip-top bag. Hardy herbs (think rosemary, sage, and thyme) also benefit from the damp paper towel method. Basil is the one exception to the rule: it’s best stored refrigerated in a glass of water, like a bouquet of flowers. 

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Have a bunch that’s looking a little more wilted than you’d like? Your ice cube tray is your friend! Just chop your herbs up, fill your tray up with olive oil, and mix in the chopped herbs. Once frozen, the herb cubes can be used in any stir-fry, sauce, or pasta that would benefit from a hit of herbs. 

Blend into a sauce:

Sauce is a great entry point for pretty much any herb. And folded into pasta, drizzled over grilled meats, or used as a dip, these recipes have the power of versatility, too. 

  • Pesto can be made with most soft herbs (mint and parsley rank high as basil alternatives), so feel free to get creative 
  • The more acidic chimichurri pairs well with roasted veggies and proteins like steak, pork chops, and chicken (try mixing it into yogurt, too!) 
  • Our Parsley Lime Sauce makes a mean dip for homemade fries, chicken fingers, and fresh-cut carrot sticks 

Make flavor-bomb butters:

Softened butter makes the perfect base for chopped herbs, citrus zest, and alliums (garlic is a great place to start). And once refrigerated, it can be sliced onto warm biscuits and grilled mains anytime. Try this Herbed Compound Butter with whatever herbs you have, plus lots of black pepper and flaky sea salt.

Infuse your cocktails and mocktails:

Drinks are perhaps the easiest way to capture herby flavor. Just mix a handful into a pitcher of lemonade, or a big batched cocktail. 

  • Mint is well-known for its role in the mojito, but we also like to use more uncommon herbs like cilantro and parsley in simple syrups, garnishes, and sangria 
  • Elevate regular water with fun combos like mint and cucumber, or citrus and rosemary
  • Give your breakfast smoothies and juices a boost of earthy flavor
  • In peak summer heat, this celery mint slushie will keep you cool 
  • Infused simple syrups like our Orange Cinnamon Simple Syrup are great additions in coffee drinks, cocktails, and drizzled over yogurt 

Incorporate in your baking routine: 

Sweet and savory baked goods both benefit from a dose of herby freshness. 

And when all else fails:

Like this? Read more:

How to Make Homemade Juice with Misfits Market

Ways to Get Creative with Food Scraps

Make a Fruit Scrap Shrub

Roasted Squash with Chickpeas and Lots of Herbs

3 Fresh Ways to Use Fresh Herbs

Comments (6)

My favorite infused add-in is jalapeno garlic olive oil. I drizzle on Cowboy Caviar, toast or pasta for a real flavorful punch. Store in fridge.

We’re so happy to hear you find this helpful, Maria! We hope you can try these tips out sometime soon. ????

I love the icecube method! I chop up all the basil then ladel in butter or olive oil. Freeze pop out of the trays and place into canning jar and label and freeze. Best sauce ever pop in 2 cubes. Also chop parsely place into ziplock place butter and roll and freeze. Slice off as needed yum

That sounds amazing, Christine! We can only imagine how flavorful your dishes are. Also, we love the idea of using a canning jar to store your cubes! ????

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