Whoever said dynamite comes in small packages must have been thinking about the dried herbs in your kitchen cupboard. They add flavor, depth and a distinctive aroma to any meal (and that’s without getting into their many health benefits), which is why they’ve been used in meal preparation around the world for thousands of years.
Here are the top 5 herbs that you need to keep in your kitchen:
With its distinctive aroma, Oregano is a herb native to Europe and a staple of many Mediterranean meals, but that’s not all it’s good for. Besides pizza and pasta, Oregano can also be used in most sauces and chili; it likes to play a starring role, so avoid pairing it with too many other intense flavors.
Whether you’re whipping up a basic marinara or a fresh salad, Genovese basil (the most commonly used variety) is sure to be a feature. Don’t be fooled by the strong aroma, the actual taste of basil is noticeably more subtle and most chefs love to pair the herb with tomato-based dishes as the flavors of the tomato and basil complement each other.
Sage is an interesting addition to this list as it’s one that many tend to avoid. It’s excellent in sauces, seasonings and marinades for meat dishes like chicken and turkey, although it also pairs well with pumpkin.
The woody, earthy flavors of rosemary make this a versatile herb often added to roasts, root vegetables, stews and soups. It has a powerful flavor profile, so less is often more. Don’t forget to adjust your measurements if your recipe calls for fresh herbs. One teaspoon of dried herbs equals one tablespoon of fresh herbs, so you need to reduce the amount you use to between a quarter and half of what the recipe calls for.
If you’re looking for a multi-purpose herb that goes well with just about anything, thyme would be a good addition to your dried herb collection. It’s great with chicken, adds depth and flavor to soups and casseroles and can be added to just about any pasta.
The convenience and value of using dried herbs can’t be overestimated due to their ability to transition a dish from bland to tasty in a single moment. So, next time you find yourself standing at the stove, trying to think what to add to your food, don’t forget your dried herbs – they’re all you need to transform your meal.