31 Delicious, Cheap Recipes That Use Up Your Herb Garden

by Marla Walters on 4 June 2014 1 comment

I have murdered plants in my garden ranging from artichokes to zucchini, but the herbs thrive. And thrive. My basil and oregano look more like shrubs. The lavender staged a garden takeover while the rosemary attempted to build its own hedge. (See also: How to Store Herbs)

What to DO with all of these herbs?

Cookies

Yes, I know, leave it to me to find cookie recipes to use up herbs. Hurray for inventive bakers who started experimenting with herbs in cookies. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Rosemary Lemon Shortbread. Although the sanding sugar is optional, I really like the extra crunch and sweetness.

  • Lavender Shortbread. The lavender is not overpowering, and these are really easy.

  • Like the combination of chocolate and mint? Well, thank me later, after you try these Chocolate and Fresh Mint Cookies.

  • Cornmeal-Thyme cookies really do go well with tea, as suggested. I have a raisin-hater in my house, so I substituted toasted pecans.

  • I really was unsure about basil in a cookie, but the lemon makes it work in these Lemon-Basil cookies.

Cocktails

I'm feeling like a bad influence here, teaching you how to take your herbs and put them into cookies and cocktails. These cocktails are so refreshing, though, and some can easily be made into "mocktails."

  • Lots of cilantro? Try a Cilantro Cooler the next time you make Mexican food.

  • I have grown lemon balm without having many uses for it. A Beekeeper's Balm cocktail is a good one!

  • I have bookmarked these Apple and Thyme Martinis for next year's Thanksgiving festivities.

  • My mother loved a good gimlet, and she'd have been crazy about these Basil Gimlets.

  • Like blackberries? Me, too! Check out these Blackberry Cocktails (with fresh mint).

  • And don't forget the Mojito, which is perhaps the herb-infused libation (mint) that made "fancy cocktails" popular again.

Pestos

A pesto, broken down, consists of herbs or greens, garlic, olive oil, and sometimes nuts and a hard cheese. Let your imagination go! You can also make these whenever you need to use up herbs and freeze in ice-cube trays or small ziplocs. Here are five to get you started in our quest to use up herbs.

Marinades

As long as we are able during the year, we grill dinner outside. This means a little planning on the day before by putting the meat or poultry into a bag with a marinade. Fish does not need to marinate for long, so that's a good one to do spur-of-the-moment. Having an herb garden is a really wonderful thing when you are making marinades to add flavor.

Salads

If you have not tried adding fresh herbs to your salads, you are missing out on some fantastic flavors.

  • This Pea, Butter Lettuce, and Herb Salad contains one of my all-time favorite herbs, tarragon.

  • I had to substitute fresh mozzarella for the burrata cheese here, but I certainly don't think we suffered when we scarfed this Fresh Herb Salad on crostini.

  • Along with the apple martinis mentioned above, I will be adding this beautiful Escarole and Fresh Herb Salad (with apples and pomegranates) to my Thanksgiving menu.

  • Did somebody mention avocados, mayonnaise, and crab? I'm in. Do I have to share this Herbed Crab-Stuffed Avocado with anyone? Because really... serves four? Serves one!

  • I love this healthy take on Herbed Chicken Salad. It's easy to make and also is great in a scooped-out tomato.

Appetizers

The addition of herbs to appetizer ingredients really perks up the ordinary. Cases in point...

  • Almonds are really good for me, but sometimes I find them a little boring. Not so with these Fried Herbed Almonds! I liked them warm from the pan.

  • They had me at "bacon." Herbed Bacon Sun-Dried Tomato Cheese Spread, anyone?

  • On the lighter side, we love this Herbed Garlic-Parmesan Popcorn. Use finely-chopped fresh herbs, and the flavors are amazing. Try chives and basil.

  • This couldn't be easier. Buy pre-made Hummus, add herbs, devour.

  • NJ's "olive oil dip." My neighbor pours out a quantity of olive oil into a pretty bowl, adds salt and pepper, and chopped herbs. Delicious for bread-dipping!

There you have it — 30+ ways to use up those herbs. No more need to let herbs languish in their pots. Snip away!

What are your favorite ways to use the bounty of your herb garden? Please share in comments!

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Marla Zumwalt

I always rely on Marla Walters postings for great ideas, recipes that are tasty and healthy, and new ways of looking at ordinary things! Keep the posts coming!