The Best Herb Recipes You Need To Try

Fresh herbs are the perfect culinary secret weapon, adding freshness and loads of flavor to any recipe with minimal effort. Whether you're growing your own herbs in your kitchen garden or simply picking them up at the store, they're ripe for the taking — and the tasting.

Each herb has its own flavor profile, though many marry together nicely. Parsley has a relatively mild, grassy flavor, and the light onion aroma of chives tends to play well with others in blends of two or more. Stronger flavors like oregano, anise-like tarragon and dill, woodsy rosemary and sage, or bright, potent mint are usually better solo players ... however, exceptions are as frequent as they are delicious.

There's nothing like fresh herbs to complete a delicious meal or sauce, like pho or chimichurri. From familiar faves like basil and parsley to the more divisive cilantro (which some people think tastes like soap — their loss!), look no further for the best tips, tricks, and dishes that will make your cooking brighter and more flavorful.

Basil gets a key role in pesto

Herbs definitely steal the spotlight in this Northern Italian sauce! Basil pesto is traditionally made by combining fresh garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, and (of course) tons of fragrant basil in a mortar and pestle. Pounded until smooth, it becomes a rich, aromatic sauce.

In this recipe, pesto becomes even simpler to perfect, thanks to your handy, dandy food processor. Serve with short, twisty trofie pasta to stay true to Ligurian tradition, or simply toss with your favorite pasta shape. You won't be disappointed.

Cilantro lime rice is the perfect side dish

Cilantro is certainly divisive. Some love it, while others think it tastes like soap. If you fall into the latter category, we can't really help you, but fans of this leafy cousin of parsley will love our simple recipe for cilantro rice that's brightened up with lime juice and a hint of garlic. It's the perfect side dish for grilled meats or your favorite Indian or Mexican recipes. Stuffed into a burrito or as a bed for lentil dal, it will add a brightness and verdancy that plain rice just can't.

Chimichurri will bring your steak to the next level

Parsley usually plays second fiddle to other more forward herbs, but in this chimichurri sauce, it mainly stands on its own two feet. Combined with garlic, a touch of dried oregano, and a lovely balance of oil and vinegar, parsley is blended into a tasty sauce that's sheer perfection drizzled over steaks, chicken, or even roasted carrots. If you have any leftovers, this sauce can also be used as a marinade.

This salmon en papillote has a kick of herby flavor

Unlike more delicately flavored fish such as cod or hake, salmon can stand up to bolder flavors without fading into the background. In our recipe for salmon en papillote, it's paired with two headier herbs — woodsy rosemary and grassy dill — creating a dish that belies its own simplicity.

En papillote is a French technique best translated to food that's cooked in a parcel. In this recipe, salmon is packaged with garlic, herbs, and tomatoes before being popped in the oven and essentially steamed with all of those delightful flavors. It's pretty to serve, and best of all, easy to clean up!

This one pan chicken has Italian flavor inspiration

If simple recipes are your jam, this one pan tomato basil chicken and rice combo is where it's at. Chicken breasts simmer on a bed of tomato sauce and rice until juicy and tender. It's a one pan wonder the whole family will love.

This recipe relies on store-bought tomato-basil sauce to infuse it with flavor, making it a feasible dinnertime option any time of year. But feel free to toss in some fresh herbs, too, when they're in season. They'll add a note of freshness you just can't get out of a jar.

Basil is a star player in this caprese salad

Caprese salad unites three classic Italian ingredients — tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil — in a simple salad that's incredibly delicious. For this dish, only seasonal ingredients will do. Summer tomatoes bursting with flavor and juice will blend with the drizzle of oil and vinegar to make this salad pure magic on the plate.

Above all, don't be shy about adding loads of basil. Not only will it kick the flavor up a notch, but when married with white mozzarella and bright red tomatoes, basil's green color evokes the colors of the Italian flag.

Aguachile makes a pretty plate indeed

Aguachile literally translates to "chile water," but this marinated shrimp dish owes as much of its flavor to punchy cilantro. A cousin of ceviche, aguachile consists of raw shrimp marinated in a combination of lime juice, garlic, jalapeños, and fresh herbs. Garnished with even more cilantro — as well as red onion, avocado, and radishes — it's as beautiful as it is delicious. Serve with crunchy fried corn chips to add another textural element to this masterpiece of a dish.

You'll love this traditional Vietnamese soup

Vietnamese pho unites both herbs and spices for a warming, hearty noodle soup. The fish sauce-spiked broth is seasoned with star anise, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. Once the noodles are added, the soup is topped with fresh mint, cilantro, basil, lime, bean sprouts, and jalapeño peppers. The resulting dish is warming, comforting, and oh-so delicious. Our pho recipe is sure to become a staple in your home.

Dip your chips into this pico de gallo

Pico de gallo is a classic Mexican salsa made with finely diced tomatoes, jalapeños, onions, garlic, and, of course, cilantro. This easy recipe comes together in just ten minutes. What more could you ask for?

Crunchy tortilla chips are a no-brainer sidekick to this pico — the perfect dipper. But it can also be enjoyed with crudités if you're on a low-carb kick.

Serve this pico on its own or alongside guacamole. The pair allows you to perfectly unite the bright acidity and spice of the pico with the creaminess of the guac.