If you’re looking to put a new spin on a favorite recipe, herbs are an easy and healthy way to do it. Three herbs — thyme, rosemary and savory — pair well with lean meats such as chicken or fish, vegetables, soups, stews or casseroles. Use them to make marinades, dry rubs, flavored vinegars and salad dressings.
Thyme, savory and rosemary are part of the mint family. They can be used separately or added all together to a recipe to create a unique blend that’s also healthy. Herbs in the mint family are known for phytochemicals that protect against cancer and provide antioxidant protection. Each of these herbs provides a variety of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, calcium and potassium.
Creole, Cajun and French cuisines use thyme, which is a component of the French bouquet garni, a bundle of herbs used to season soups and stews. Thyme can be used sparingly as it has an intense flavor. To retain the best flavor and aroma, add it at the end of cooking time. In addition to pairing well with savory or rosemary, thyme can be combined with garlic, lemon, basil and oregano.
With a pine-like aroma and mint flavor, rosemary leaves should be crushed to release the flavor-producing oils. If you are grilling, consider adding rosemary to the coals for a great scent and taste. Try using rosemary with chives, parsley and bay.
The Herb Society of America named savory as the “2015 Herb of the Year.” Described as “underutilized,” savory comes in many varieties, including summer savory and winter savory. Try savory with beans including any of your favorite dried legumes or fresh green beans. Other vegetables, like summer squash and tomatoes (which may be abundant in your garden right now), are perfect matches for savory.
Try these herb-infused recipes as a salute to the end of summer and all those fresh garden vegetables just waiting to be enjoyed:
- Zesty Zucchini Sauté
- Simple Vegetable Stew With Fresh Herbs
- Slow Roasted Tomatoes With Rosemary, Basil and Parsley
Brenda Allison Fay, RDN, is a senior dietitian and cardiovascular nutritionist with the Cardiovascular Medicine Clinic at Domino’s Farms. With more than 15 years of experience as a dietitian, she provides nutritional counseling to help people reduce disease risk and improve health.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.