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Finally - my own herbs!

I used to smoulder with jealousy when I watched Ina Garten jaunt out to her backyard and pick anything her heart desired to prepare a dish (not to mention the flowers for the table as well). Living in a small, downtown apartment, with no access to the great outdoors, my herb garden was limited. But now - we've got a postage stamp sized back yard! It's now brimming with thyme, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, chives, dill, sage, parsley, basil, mint....and tomatoes!!! I'm overwhelmed with options!
This weekend, I made an omelette with chives, basil and thyme picked fresh from the backyard - such a treat. (I could hear the Barefoot Contessa soundtrack in the back of my head the whole time....)
I'm looking forward to my first summer full of herbs! I know there are tonnes of options - but there have to be things I haven't even thought to do with them all... Do you have a favorite dish/drink/etc to use your abundance of herbs?

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  1. I am in a similar situation, I now have some herbs but the opposite has happened to me. Because I have some basil (not a ton, just some) I find myself waiting for the 'perfect' dish to use it in. And now it is at the point where I just need to use it up already.
    So, I'm looking forward to hearing responses because I am overwhelmed with TOO many options!

    Would particularly like thyme recipes - mine has crowded out my cilantro unfortunately!

    1 Reply
    1. re: laurendlewis

      might not be the 'perfect' dish - but I always crave this simple salad once basil starts appearing. Tomatoes, cucumber, feta, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and basil - for me, it's pretty much the star of the salad. To me, this salad fresh and crisp and satisfies the basil craving. Sometimes we also add olives, artichokes or hearts of palm.

    2. Here is one of our favorite quick pasta dinners:
      - saute either shallots, onions, or leeks (all three versions are good) in olive oil till slightly carmelized
      - throw in a handfull of finely chopped fresh sage and some s&p
      - add some chopped proscuitto
      - toss with angle hair or some other pasta of your choice
      - sprikle with parmesan

      1. How about using fresh herbs to jazz up your dipping sauce? I find this helps keep the plants thinned down a bit. Whenever we have bread with dinner I cut some basil, rosemary, sage, chives and thyme and fine-chop them. (That's what I have growing right now but you can certainly make up your own combination.) I add them to a dish of good olive oil along with salt and pepper and it makes for a nice dipping sauce for the bread.

        1. I'm so envious of your yard - I'm still in a downtown apartment with window ledges jammed with pots of herbs and lettuces!

          The dish that I look forward to every summer is so simple, although depending where you are, it might be too early for it yet.

          I chop up big handfuls of herbs, whatever I have lots of - usually basil, mint, thyme, parsley, oregano - with fresh garlic and throw it in a big bowl. I pour over some good olive oil, a bit of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. I cook and drain some pasta, then dump it on top of the herb mixture - the smell is incredible when the heat of the pasta hits the herbs! Then I add chopped fresh tomatoes, crumbled feta and halved kalamata olives. During tomato season, I usually have several different types and colours of tomatoes on hand from the farmer's market, so it's also a very colourful dish - great for summer dinner parties, and virtually no work.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tracey

            i do that too! if it's just too hot to even boil water i use big big fistfulls of herbs in a cous-cous salad with golden raisins and chopped almonds.

          2. Make some infused vinegars & oils late in the season so you can enjoy those herb flavors once winter sets in. Dill is excellent in any mayo-based salad (chicken, egg, tuna), and with your own mint patch, you need to master the perfect julep and/or mojito.he

            1. Great suggestions so far. Here's two more:

              1) Tempura. Woody herbs don't work well, and stronger tasting ones in moderation.

              2) Flavor the butter for corn on the cob, or, for that matter, popcorn.

              1. Thank you so much for all of the suggestions. I appreciate them and I'm looking forward to trying them all!

                1. For a simple appetizer I take a piece of fresh goat cheese (feta is good here too) and pour over it a mixture of chopped fresh herbs (any combination: mint, basil, thyme, oregano, nepitella, chives, parsley), olive oil, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Serve with bread or crackers.

                  1. One of my favorite summer dinners is one that I had last night. Take a few tomatoes (I used three medium sized Early Girls for a dish for one with some leftovers), seed and chop, toss in a bowl with good red wine vinegar (or sometimes I just use a splash of red wine), olive oil, salt and pepper, and a handful of herbs (I used some basil, mint and parsley) chopped, along with some minced garlic and shallots. Let this all sit together for a while, and then boil your pasta and toss the hot pasta in the bowl. I usually add some cheese to the mixture too (before adding the pasta) -- either feta or mozzerella most frequently, but last night I added a few spoonfuls of ricotta that I had on hand, and it was great.

                    Also, make lots of mojitos or mint juleps with that mint! Yum. It's also great in lemonade.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JasmineG

                      Thyme with potatoes, thyme with potatoes, thyme with potatoes!!!! ANY kind of potatoes. Mashed, creamed, scalloped, fried, in salad...love it!

                      And, mint is always nice in lemonade. We grow borage, and the blue flowers are also a great addition...and they turn pink from the acid in the lemons.