Herbs With Vegetable Dishes

HERBS FOR VEGETABLE DISHES: This is the third of four articles that cover: Meats, Seafood, Vegetables and Breads as general categories.  The basic difference between meats and seafood vs. vegetables is vegetables have specific flavors that, when enhanced, yield a lovely accompaniment to any meal.

STAND ALONE OR ACCOMPANIMENT: There are many herbs that can be paired with specific vegetables and this article deals with those combinations.   You can treat vegetables as a stand alone side dish or combine vegetables with meat or seafood as part of the final recipe. Herbs are used as an enhancement to the natural flavor of many vegetables.  Some vegetables without herbs can be quite bland and therefore these recipes have evolved as chefs endeavored to put a little excitement into those dishes.

Your kitchen should have at least one jar of these dried herbs (listed at the bottom of the article).  I have all of these in fresh form as well.  That way I can cut from my garden only what I need for that evening meal.  The addition of the fresh herbs to almost any vegetable dish will result in a culinary delight.

FRESH IS BETTER THAN DRIED: Fresh vegetables are critical to any recipes success. You can substitute dried herbs to a recipe, but the use of fresh herbs will result in a much fresher taste.  Fresh herbs can be added to the cooking water or into the ingredients of most sauces that are an accompaniment to the vegetable dish.

WHEN TO ADD HERBS: Fresh herbs are best added to the vegetable dishes toward the end of the cooking process or just after removing from the stove or grill. A general rule of thumb is a tablespoon of fresh is comparable to a teaspoon of dried herbs. That is about a three to one ratio in most cases

The following is a list of those herbs that have been shown to pair well with vegetable dishes.  Keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive and just because you don’t see a specific herb on the list it does not mean you can’t add it to a recipe.  Specific herbs might be added depending on the additional ingredients included in recipe to yield a beneficial taste result.

GREEN BEAN dishes can be complimented with the addition of onions, almonds and mushrooms.  These dishes can be accented with any of the following herbs; Tarragon, Dill, Marjoram, Basil and Thyme

TOMATOES are another major category that will support a huge herb collection. Many recipes include onions, mushrooms, green peppers, celery, corn and zucchini. Dishes with tomatoes can be accented with the following herbs; Basil, Bay leaves, Chives, Dill, Garlic, Marjoram, Onion, Oregano, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon, and Thyme. Of these herbs, when you are considering any Italian dish the major player is Oregano.  You will find it in almost all Italian tomato dishes because of the subtle flavor it imparts to the final dishes.

CORN has just a few herbs that are considered primary accents and they are: Dill, Marjoram, Onion, Parsley, Savory and Thyme

CARROT dishes are combined with cauliflower and celery and the primary herbs used in many of the dishes are: Bay leaves, Chives, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Onion, Oregano, Parsley, Tarragon and Thyme

SPINACH will be combined with mushrooms and tomatoes in many dishes.  The primary herbs used with spinach dishes are: Basil, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano and Thyme

PEAS are many times combined with mushrooms, pearl onions, carrots and corn.  The primary herbs used with many green pea dishes are: Basil, Chives, Mint, Marjoram, Onion, Tarragon and Dill

EGGPLANT dishes are many times combined with tomatoes and onions.  The primary herbs used with many eggplant dishes are: Basil, Bay Leaves, Chives, Garlic, Oregano, Marjoram, Onion, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme

ONION dishes are usually boiled or creamed. The primary herbs used to flavor onions are: Parsley, Dill, Basil, Bay Leaves, Marjoram, Oregano, Sage, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme

POTATOES can be prepared in a variety of methods. They can be mashed, used in salads; they can be stuffed or baked.  The au gratin or scalloped method of preparation is also a possibility.  The primary herbs used in potato dishes are: Chives, Dill, Marjoram, Onion, Oregano, Parsley, and Thyme

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