Thursday, April 23, 2009

156 Cheap, Healthy Recipes for Ten Common Leftover Herbs

(Sorry for the lateness of the usually-on-Wednesday article, everybody. Finding oregano recipes was much harder than I thought.)

When it comes to fresh herbs, I kind of wish sage was snack food, and go through parsley like most people go through underwear. Basil is a most beloved boat-floater, and during summer salsa season, nothing comes between me and a verdant bunch of deliciously soapy cilantro.


Right now, there are four half-used packs of fresh herbs (dill, sage, thyme, and &*#^$&*% oregano) sitting in my fridge. I can throw thyme in just about anything, but odds are the dill and oregano will make their homes in a Staten Island landfill very, very soon.

It’s a problem I often run into: I prefer cooking with fresh herbs because the flavor is markedly better than the dry ones, yet I rarely use a whole package before it goes bad. Freezing is always an option, but … I forget to do it. A lot.

In order to correct this behavior (and stop blowing $1.79 every time I need a teaspoon of dill), I embarked on a mission: a mission to find simple, healthy recipes that use up a buttload of leftover herbs. (And yes, “a buttload” is a true unit of measurement.) The results are below, and here’s what you need to know about ‘em:
  • The herb is a primary ingredient.
  • Each recipe is healthy and inexpensive according to the standards we usually use on this site. (See our FAQ.)
  • I’ve only made dishes with the CHG tag, and can subsequently vouch for them. All other recipes come from individual food blogs (which I generally trust) or aggregate recipe sites (All Recipes, Epicurious, etc.), where they’ve garnered at least an 85% approval rating from reviewers.
  • After each recipe title, I list the amount of the herb necessary to make the dish. Keep in mind that this is relative: two tablespoons of parsley isn’t a lot of parsley, but two tablespoons of rosemary is a LOT of rosemary.
  • Remember: recipes can be scaled up or down, depending on how much you’re making.
And with that … lots of recipes.


All Recipes: Ham and Fresh Basil Pinwheels (4oz)

All Recipes: Peppers Roasted with Garlic, Basil, and Tomatoes (1/2 cup)

All Recipes: Roasted Mushroom Salad (1/2 cup)

All Recipes: Spicy Basil Chicken (1 bunch)

CHG/Cooking Light: Fresh Tomato Lasagna (2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)

CHG/Weight Watchers: Light Pesto (2 cups)

CHG/Cooking Light: Light Tomato Sauce (2/3 cup)

CHG/Jamie Oliver: Tomato and Bread Soup (1 large bunch)

Cooking Light: Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil (1/3 cup)

Cooking Light: Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Basil (1/4 cup)

Cooking Light: Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad (1-1/2 cups)

Cooking Light: Tomato Basil Soup (1/3 cup + more)

Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Basil Vinaigrette (1/4 cup)

Eating Well: Basil-Cinnamon Peaches (1/2 cup)

Eating Well: Green Bean Salad with Corn, Basil & Black Olives (1/3 cup)

Eating Well: Roasted Corn with Basil-Shallot Vinaigrette (1/4 cup)

Epicurious: Zucchini Basil Soup (1/3 cup)


All Recipes: Fresco Salsa (1 bunch)

All Recipes: Green Chutney (1 bunch)

All Recipes: Roasted Tomatillo and Garlic Salsa (1 bunch)

All Recipes: Simple Texas Salsa (1/2 bunch)

Buff Chickpea: Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus (1/2 cup)

CHG/Weight Watchers: Black Bean Salad with Fresh Corn (2/3 cup)

CHG/Gourmet Sleuth: Cactus Chili (1/2 cup)

CHG/Spring Street Natural Foods: Daikon (Jicama) Mango Slaw (1 bunch)

CHG/Mark Bittman: Falafel (1 cup)

CHG/Beyond the Great Wall: Grasslands Herb Salsa (2 cups)

CHG/Weight Watchers: Guacamole-Bean Dip Mashup (1 cup)

CHG/Beyond the Great Wall: Napa Cabbage and Red Onion Salad (1/2 cup)

Cilantro, Cilantro: Brown Rice Salad (1/4 cup)

Cooking Light: Fresh Corn-Cilantro Salad (2/3 cup)

Cookworm: Chickpea and Tomatillo Soup (1 cup)
Note: ease up on the olive oil.

Eating Well: Chilled Tomato Soup with Cilantro Yogurt Swirl (6 tablespoons)

Eating Well: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette (1 cup)

Eating Well: Grilled Chicken Tenders with Cilantro Pesto (2 cups)

Epicurious: Sirloin Steak with Tomato and Cilantro Sauce (1 cup)

Simply Recipes: Mango Salsa (3 tablespoons)

YumSugar: Cilantro-Lime Rice (1/2 cup)


101 Cookbooks: Vibrant, Tasty Green Beans (1/3 cup)

All Recipes: Dill Gazpacho (1/4 cup)

All Recipes: Garlic Dill New Potatoes (1 tablespoon)

All Recipes: Maple Dill Carrots (1-1/2 tablespoons)

Cooking Light: Cucumber Soup (2 teaspoons & multiple sprigs)

Eating Well: Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill (3 tablespooons)

Eating Well: Lemon and Dill Chicken (2 tablespoons)

Farmgirl Fare: Beyond Easy Beer Bread (2 tablespoons)

Kitchen Parade: Lemon Asparagus Pasta (1/3 cup)

Recipe Girl: Red Pepper Confetti Asparagus (1/2 cup)

Slashfood: German Potato Salad with Fresh Dill (1/4 cup)

A Veggie Venture: Chard & Chickpeas with Feta (1/4 cup)


101 Cookbooks: Fresh Pea Salad (1 cup)
Note: ease up on the pumpkin seeds.

All Recipes: Mint Tea Punch (12 sprigs)

All Recipes: Tomato, Cucumber, and Red Onion Salad with Mint (1/2 cup)

CHG/Epicurious: Cranberry Relish with Grapefruit and Mint (2 tablespoons)

CHG: Limeade (1 medium bunch)

CHG/Mojito Company: Mojitos (6 leaves per drink)

CHG/Cook’s Illustrated: North African-Style Chickpea Salad (2 tablespoons)

Christine Cooks: Watermelon, Cucumber, and Mint Salad (1/4 cup)

Cooking Light: Chocolate-Mint Pudding (1/2 cup)

Cooking Light: Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino (1/4 cup)

Cooking Light: Peas and Pods (2 tablespoons)

Cooking with Amy: Zucchini Mint Soup (1/4 cup)

Eating Well: Minted Peas with Rice and Feta (1/4 cup)

Ellie Krieger: Shrimp Salad with Cucumber and Mint (1 cup)

Epicurious: Eggplant with Tomato-Mint Sauce and Goat Cheese (3 tablespoons)

Epicurious: Mango in Ginger and Mint Syrup (1/3 cup)

Epicurious: Mint Dressing (1/2 cup)

Epicurious: Quinoa with Corn, Scallions, and Mint (1/2 cup)

Israeli Kitchen: Pink Grapefruit-Mint Sorbet (1 cup)

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Cannellini Beans in Mint Marinade (1/2 cup)

Noble Pig: Limoncello Lemonade (1/2 cup)

Once Upon a Feast: Blueberry Mint Granita (1/2 cup)

Smitten Kitchen: Broiled Eggplant with Capers and Mint (1/4 cup)
Note: cut olive oil a bit.


Cooking By the Seat of My Pants: Tomato Basil Soup with Zucchini, Bell Peppers, and Oregano (1/4 cup)

Gluten Free-Bay: Cabbage Salad with Lime and Fresh Oregano (3 tablespoons)

Epicurious: Herb-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Feta (~3 tablespoons)

Ellie Krieger: Marinated Lamb Chops (2 tablespoons)

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans (1/2 cup)


CHG: Curried Chickpeas and Black Beans (2/3 cup)

CHG/Ellie Krieger: Parsley Shallot Sauce (1/2 cup)

Delicious Dishings: Israeli Couscous with Parsley and Shallots (1/2 cup)

Eating Well: Parsley-Olive Relish (1/2 cup)

Fearless Kitchen: Fennel, Parsley and Caper Salad (1/4 cup)

Food for Life: Whole Wheat Linguine with Artichoke Hearts, Feta, and Pine Nuts
Note: use low-fat feta.

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Middle Eastern Bean Salad (1 cup)
Note: ease up just a little on the dressing for less fat.

Use Real Butter: Turkey Burgers (1/2 cup)


All Recipes: Black Olive and Rosemary Foccacia (~1/3 cup)

All Recipes: Roast Chicken with Rosemary (1/4 cup)

All Recipes: Rosemary Roasted Pork Tenderloin (1/4 cup)

Eating Well: Pork Tenderloin with Mustard, Rosemary, & Apple Marinade (2 tablespoons)

Eating Well: Rosemary Red Wine Marinade (2 tablespoons)

Edible Therapy: Rosemary Lemonade (1 cup)

Epicurious: Garlic-Rosemary Roast Chicken (3 tablespoons & garnish)

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Onions, Rosemary, and Parmesan (2 tablespoons)
Note: go a little easy on the oil and cheese.

Martha Stewart: Rosemary Balsamic Marinade (6 sprigs)

Orangette: Chickpea-Tomato Soup with Fresh Rosemary (2 sprigs)

Pink Bites: White Beans with Rosemary (2 tablespoons)

Simply Recipes: Rosemary Chicken Skewers (2 tablespoons)


All Recipes: Creamy Polenta with Roasted Corn and Fresh Sage (3 tablespoons)
Note: to keep fat down, use low-fat milk and cut a little of the olive oil

Andrea’s Recipes: Risotto with Onions and Sage (20 leaves)

CHG: Pumpkin Orzo with Sage (30 leaves)

Epicurious: Butternut Squash and Sage Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs (~2 tablespoons)

Green Lite Bites: Lemon Sage Chicken Packs (25 leaves)

The Kitchn: Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Pine Nuts (1/2 cup)
Note: cut the pine nuts by at least ¼ cup.

Whipped: Sweet Potatoes with Kale, Caramelized Red Onions, and Fresh Sage (1 tablespoon)

Yum Sugar: Sage Lady (3 leaves per drink)


101 Cookbooks: Baked Peas with Tarragon Yogurt and Pistachios (1/2 cup)

Alton Brown: Tarragon-Chive Vinegar (24 sprigs)

CHG/Kitchen Diaries: White Bean and Tarragon Soup (1/4 cup)

Eating Well: Lemon-Tarragon Bean Salad (1/4 cup + 4 sprigs)
Note: follow directions for salad only (not the fish).

Eating Well: Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Tarragon (2 tablespoons)

Epicurious: Green Pea Soup with Tarragon and Pea Sprouts (3 tablespoons)

Epicurious: Carrot Soup With Orange and Tarragon (2 teaspoons plus sprigs)

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Grilled Chicken with Tarragon-Mustard Marinade (2 tablespoons)
Note: the oil’s only in the marinade, so much of it won’t be consumed.

Simply Recipes: Chicken Salad with Tarragon (2 tablespoons)
Note: use low-fat mayo

Simply Recipes: Grilled Chicken with Tomato Tarragon Sauce (3 tablespoons)


Andrea’s Recipes: Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Shallots, and Thyme (4 sprigs)
Note: ease up on the oil.

The Bitten Word: Raspberry-Thyme Smash (2 sprigs per drink)

CHG/Bobby Flay: Parmesan Crusted Portobello Mushrooms (2 tablespoons)

Cooking Light: Turkey-Mushroom Casserole (1-1/2 tablespoons)

Epicurious: Thyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes (1/3 cup)

Figs with Bri: Carrot Leek Soup with Fresh Thyme (2 tablespoons)

Joy the Baker: Honey Roasted Plums with Fresh Thyme and Greek Yogurt (1/2 cup)

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Roasted Butternut Squash with Lemon, Thyme, and Parmesan (2 tablespoons)

Martha Stewart: Thyme, Shallot and Lemon Marinade (16 sprigs)

Pinch My Salt: Sweet Potato Biscuits with Bacon and Thyme (1 heaping tablespoon)


All Recipes: Fresh Mint and Cilantro Melon Salad (3 T cilantro & 1/3 c mint)

Andrea’s Recipes: Parsley Cilantro Marinade and Dipping Sauce (1 c parsley & 1 c cilantro)

Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Creamy Herb Dressing (3 T dill & 1 T parsley)

Cooking Light: Catfish with Dill Sauce (1/2 c dill & ½ c parsley)

Cooking Light: Chicken Salad with Peas and Fresh Herb Vinaigrette (1/2 c parsley & 2 t thyme)

Cooking Light: Fusilli with Green Beans and Oregano (1/2 c parsley & 2 T oregano)

Cooking Light: Lemon-Herb Grilled Chicken, Corn on the Cob, and Onions (1 T oregano & 1 T rosemary)

Cooking Light: Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan (1 T parsley + 2 t thyme + 2 tarragon)

Cooking Light: Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Thyme (1/4 c parsley & 2 t thyme)

DLife: Tilapia with Fresh Herbs and Lime (1/2 c parsley & 1 t rosemary & 1 t thyme)

Eating Well: Mint Pesto (1-1/2 c basil & ¾ c mint)

Eating Well: Parsley Tabbouleh (2 c parsley & ¼ c mint)

Ellie Krieger: Green Herb Dip (2 t thyme & 2 t mint & 1/3 c parsley)

Ellie Krieger: Tuscan Vegetable Soup (1 T each thyme & sage)

Epicurious: All Star Herb Salad (2 oz. each parsley, dill, tarragon, & mint)

Epicurious: Butter Lettuce and Radish Salad (1/2 cup assorted herbs)

Epicurious: Green Goddess Dressing (2 T dill & 2 T basil & 1 T mint)

Epicurious: Grilled Red Onions with Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary (1-1/2 t rosemary & ½ cup parsley)

Epicurious: Spicy Cilantro Sauce (1/2 c parsley & ½ cup cilantro)

Fine Cooking: Grilled Pork Chops with Herb Rub (1 T sage & 1 T rosemary)

Fresh Catering: Fattoush (1/2 c parsley & ½ c mint)

A Fridge Full of Food: Chicken Noodle and Fresh Thyme Soup (1 T thyme & 2 t rosemary)

Garden of Eating: Cider-Glazed Delicata Sauce with Sage (1/4 c sage & 1 T rosemary)

Juan Carlos-Cruz: Herbed Zucchini Noodles (1 T each parsley, thyme, & oregano)

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Chicken Soup with Oregano and Garbanzo Beans (2 T oregano & ½ c parsley)

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Sage, Rosemary, and Garlic Dried Herb Rub (1 c rosemary & 3 c sage)

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Sausage and Basil Marinara (1/4 c oregano & ½ c basil)

Simply Recipes: Watermelon Salad with Feta (1/2 c mint & ½ c parsley)

A Veggie Venture: Lentil Salad with Tomatoes, Dill, and Basil (1/4 c dill & ¼ c basil)

Wasabi Bratwurst: Fresh Tarragon Salad Dressing (1/2 c parsley & 3 T tarragon & 1 t rosemary)

Readers ... any suggestions? What'd I miss?

(Photos courtesy of Iowa State University, Novel Eats, Grabbit, and Thrifty Fun.)


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