These days most of us are concerned with health and seeking out new healthier, fresher recipes. Many have even started growing their own fresh herbs as part of the process. Fresh herbs are a great way to inspire healthy home cooking for the whole family and with spring in full swing these herbs are just coming into their best seasons. Of course, many herbs are easy to grow at home on a sunny windowsill and can be used all year round.
If you’re unsure about how much use you’ll really get out of growing your own fresh herbs at home, just take a look at these delicious recipes. We’ve handpicked these tasty recipes with each one using one of our favourite fresh herbs. Plus, all five of the herbs we’ve selected are easy to grow indoors and are available from your local supermarket or garden centre.
Basil: Caramelised onion, goats’ cheese and Parma ham pizza
Basil is synonymous with Mediterranean cooking, especially in Italian cuisine and is easy to grow and cook. In fact, pounded in a pestle and mortar and then blended with pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil gives you the much-loved pesto. You’ll find this herb available all year round and most supermarkets will have a pot of fresh basil; simply keep on a sunny windowsill and get fresh basil whenever you need it.
To keep with the Italian theme, what better way to use basil than in this tasty pizza recipe. This pizza is delicious enough for a family meal and just sophisticated enough for guests and grown ups too. If you haven’t made pizza at home before then you’ll be surprised by how fun it can be, especially when you turn it into a family activity with the kids. Plus, it’s a lot tastier, cheaper and healthier than a takeaway. You can get the full recipe here.
Chives: Smoked haddock, mustard butter sauce and Iberico ham
Chives are a member of the onion family and most popularly used in European cooking with a mild flavour similar to spring onions. Chives are fairly delicate and are most often used as garnishes with little cooking involved. As they’re delicate it’s also best to cut with scissors when cooking rather than chopping. It’s also not wise to substitute fresh chives with the dried variety as this will change the overall flavour of the dish. Fortunately, fresh chives are in season in spring and summer and are easy to grow indoors.
Chives are quite a sophisticated herb, used as a garnish for popular dishes such as eggs benedict. In keeping with this, we’ve selected this smoked haddock recipe, ideal for impressing guests, friends and families at grown up soirees. Chives make their appearance in the powerful grain mustard butter sauce, packed full of flavour with a luxurious buttery texture. You can get the full recipe here.
Fresh coriander: Chicken and vegetable Balti
Coriander is one of the most widely used herbs around the world. It is most synonymous with Asian and Central or South American cooking. Although indigenous to the Middle East and southern Europe coriander is now grown the world over. You should be able to pick up some fresh potted coriander from your supermarket or garden centre. The stalks and leaves are both edible along with the berries which are dried and sold as coriander seeds. You’ll find coriander is a big flavour enhancer with a strong, fresh citrus taste.
We’ve delved back into the Asian roots of coriander with this chicken and vegetable Balti. This is a healthy and hearty meal thanks to some calorie controlled oil spray and plenty of veg. It’s a perfect family dish on any night of the week with only an hour cooking time. Plus, it’s also a great way to introduce your kids to some more exotic flavours. This recipe also lays out ingredients for 2 people, so it can cater to a night in for two, or half it for a tasty treat for one. Get the full recipe here.
Dill: Roasted sea bass with sweet potato, tomatoes and thyme
Dill is a wiry-looking herb which contributes to its other name, dill weed. It is popularly used in Scandinavian and Eastern European dishes and has a very distinctive, bitter flavour similar to fennel and celery. Because of this it often pairs well with fish. When using dill remember to only keep the leaves and discard the thick stems.
Since dill goes so well with fish we’ve selected this roasted sea bass recipe to show it off. With this recipe, you get two herbs for the price of one. Dill is used to flavour the sea bass and thyme is used for the sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Prepping and cooking this dish is quick and easy with all the ingredients baked together for just half an hour, a perfect meal for almost any time. We recommend serving with plenty of roasted or steamed veg of your choosing for a healthy family dinner. You can get the full recipe here.
Mint: Mojito cocktail
There are a variety of species of mint with spearmint being the most popular in Western cooking. Peppermint, however, is most commonly used to flavour ice cream and confectionary. This flavoursome herb is just as good paired in a sauce or jelly with roast lamb as it is in a cool summer salad. Mint is in season at the end of spring and all through summer. You can prepare it by pulling the leaves from the stem and running under cold water.
For our final herb, we’ve swapped out a food recipe for a drink recipe. This mojito is a fresh summer drink ideal for relaxing in the garden with friends. With plenty of ice and the fresh flavour of mint and lime, it’s perfect for cooling down on a hot day. You’ll also find it amazingly easy to make for entertaining guests and friends. With some fresh mint on your windowsill, you’ll be making this drink all summer long. Get the recipe here.
There are of course hundreds of recipes to choose from for every herb. You can also experiment with additional herbs in your everyday cooking. You can get more recipe ideas using fresh herbs here, along with a list of the most popular herbs and corresponding recipes.