A scattering of fresh-cut herbs can completely transform a dish. Think of basil snipped over summer tomatoes, or mint stirred into lemonade, or rosemary roasting on spring lamb.

A scattering of fresh-cut herbs can completely transform a dish. Think of basil snipped
over summer tomatoes, or mint stirred into lemonade, or rosemary roasting on spring lamb. And once you start growing herbs—whether you have a raised box garden in the backyard, a collection of terracotta pots perched on the balcony, or just some small, hopeful plants sitting on a sunny kitchen counter—you realize it’s not just about taste.

Herbs smell wonderful. The aroma of herbs can transport you in time and space, back to the fragrant lavender of your grandmother’s linen closet or the verbena-scented breezes of a long- ago holiday in Provence. Herbs are lovely to look at. The silvery leaves of the sage plant, the glow of golden thyme, the bright blue of hyssop can add colour and texture to your garden. And even humble herbs hold centuries of poetry, history and folklore. In the language of plants, rosemary is associated with remembrance, rue with grace, oregano with joy, parsley with useful knowledge. Many herbs have healing properties: Peppermint is soothing, chamomile calming, and amaranth is traditionally thought to mend broken hearts.

Clearly, when you cook with herbs, you’re bringing a lot to the table. Here are some recipes that celebrate the flavour and freshness of our favourites. 

Recipe Beth Jacob. Styling Kari Wardrop. Photography Jerry Grajewski.

Recipe Beth Jacob. Styling Kari Wardrop. Photography Jerry Grajewski.

Shrimp and avocado salad with cilantro vinaigrette

Court bouillon is a flavourful but delicate liquid for poaching poultry or fish. We use it here to cook shrimp.

Fettuccine with peas, mint and ricotta

Fettuccine with peas, mint and ricotta

With its classic springtime combination of mint and peas, this pasta dish can be served hot or at room temperature.

White pizza with fresh basil and dried oregano

White pizza with basil and oregano

This beautiful pizza is garlicky and herbaceous. Served as a starter, or an entrée, this delicious recipe will bring friends together.

Spring parsley soup

Spring parsley soup

With its gorgeous greens, this is a perfect spring soup! Vegan and gluten-free and with only a short list of ingredients, this soup can be ready in under 30 minutes.