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Seven Ways to Use Herbs

June 15, 2020

By: Duke Health and Well-Being Nutrition Team

Make herbs the highlight of your next dish! Add fresh or dried savory leafy herbs to elevate the flavor and appeal of the most basic of dishes. Combine fresh basil with grilled vegetables, cilantro with mixed salad greens, or chives into a favorite dip.

The Duke Health and Well-Being Nutrition team created the Seven Ways series to share the many ways to utilize herbs to transform your next dish at home.

How to get started? Check out our Get Comfortable Cooking with Herbs and Spices Basics Guide.


Seven ways to use Basil and/or Oregano

  • Breakfast: Add to scrambled eggs with mozzarella; top with fresh tomato. Spread pesto on toast and top with shredded parmesan cheese.
  • Blended: Add to sundried tomato or roasted red pepper hummus. Blend fresh basil into a classic pesto.
  • Combination: Stir into cooked whole-wheat pasta, tomato sauce with meat, white beans or tofu; or use basil pesto.
  • Cooked: Brush roasted or grilled vegetables (squash, zucchini, and peppers) with olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper.
  • Sandwich or Wrap: Layer fresh basil leaves with cooked chicken or a bean burger, cheese, and sliced tomato; garnish lettuce wraps with fresh basil.
  • Salad: Create an Italian chicken salad with the flavors of basil and oregano, add olives and grape tomatoes, and serve over a bed of fresh greens. Basil complements watermelon or strawberries in salads.
  • Soup or Stew: Garnish a hot bowl of minestrone, tomato, or Italian Wedding soup just before serving.

Download the Basil-Oregano Guide

Seven ways to Use Cilantro

  • Breakfast: Sprinkle fresh cilantro over a plate of eggs, beans, and salsa for “Huevos Rancheros”.
  • Blended: Mash with avocado, garlic, lime, salt, and pepper to dip veggies or spread on whole-grain toast or crackers.
  • Combination: Top your Latin or Asian-inspired grain, bean, and veggie bowl with cilantro.
  • Cooked: Garnish chicken, garbanzo, or veggie curry with chopped cilantro.
  • Sandwich or Wrap: Sprinkle on your favorite tacos.
  • Salad: Include in a bean, corn, avocado, and tomato salad or combine with mint in a refreshing cabbage, radish, and shredded carrot salad.
  • Soup or Stew: Freshen up a black bean soup with a generous handful of chopped cilantro.

Download the Cilantro Guide

Seven ways to use Chives

  • Breakfast: Scramble eggs with chives and a little cream cheese whisked in, or sprinkle chives over smoked salmon and cream cheese on whole-grain toast.
  • Blended: Whip up a creamy dip with chives, goat or feta cheese, Greek yogurt, and a dash of black or cayenne pepper.
  • Combination: A topping of chopped chives is a simple way to add subtle onion flavor to rice and beans, poultry, and pasta or lackluster frozen or canned vegetables.
  • Cooked: Bake any type of fish with chives and lemon, save some to sprinkle fresh before serving.
  • Sandwich or Wrap: Use that creamy chive dip as a layer on your sandwich or veggie wrap.
  • Salad: Toss chives into the bowl of greens or shredded slaw. Mix into a chicken, tuna, bean, tofu, or egg salad.
  • Soup or Stew: Enhance the flavor and presentation by garnishing any bowl of soup with chopped chives right before serving.

Download the Chives Guide

Seven ways to use Parsley

  • Breakfast: Chop a handful to mix into a morning egg, tofu, or potato scramble. Use in a smoothie instead of spinach or kale.
  • Blended: Blend into hummus or combine with other stronger herbs like oregano or rosemary for a special pesto.
  • Combination: Consider parsley as a leafy green vegetable. Add generous amounts to stir-fries or rice dishes.
  • Cooked: Add chopped parsley to meatloaf, meatballs, and meat or bean burgers.
  • Sandwich or Wrap: Add chopped parsley to mayonnaise, hummus, or guacamole and spread on your bread. Sprinkle a layer of chopped parsley before rolling up your wrap.
  • Salad: Toss chopped parsley with other salad greens. Mix into a chicken, tuna, egg, or bean salad.
  • Soup or Stew: Add chopped parsley during the last few minutes of simmering soup. Garnish each bowl with another tablespoon.

Download the Parsley Guide

Seven ways to use Rosemary and/or Thyme

  • Breakfast: Cook eggs or scrambled tofu with a tsp of herb butter, made with finely chopped rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Add to pan-fried white or sweet potatoes.
  • Blended: Whirl into a savory white bean dip.
  • Combination: Add chopped leaves to baby potatoes, cubed sweet potatoes, or cornbread stuffing before roasting.
  • Cooked: Layer whole sprigs under poultry, pork chops, tempeh, or tofu pieces before baking. Baste with rosemary and thyme stirred into olive oil or butter.
  • Sandwich or Wrap: Use that leftover herb-seasoned cooked protein or white bean dip in a lettuce wrap.
  • Salad: Add a teaspoon or two of chopped herbs to tossed salad greens, or garnish strawberries with honey and chopped thyme.
  • Soup or Stew: Flavor stews made with garbanzo beans, navy beans, chicken, beef, or pork with onions, garlic, carrots, and these fragrant herbs.

Download Rosemary-Thyme Guide

About Duke Health & Well-Being Nutrition & Lifestyle Services

Our individualized nutrition services are utilized to treat specific health conditions, manage weight healthfully, and attain optimal vitality through a wholesome diet. Our nutritionists understand that getting on the right path toward your health goals is a process that requires support, adjustment, and taking small steps to make lasting and positive changes. Work with a nutritionist to discover the connection between food, movement, stress, and rest and make strategic changes to your diet that will help you achieve your goals.

Services Available

Integrative Nutrition at Integrative Medicine
Diet & Nutrition Counseling at the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center
Nutrition Consultations at the Duke Health & Fitness Center


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