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How to Match Herbs and Spices to Vegetables

Three Parts:Pairing Vegetables A-DPairing Vegetables E-MPairing Vegetables O-Z

Matching herbs and spices to vegetables helps you enhance the best features of the vegetable's flavor, in addition to providing a nice complement to any dish. However, with the plethora of options available, it's difficult to know where to start. If you're up for a little experimentation, get ready for your taste buds to be wowed.

Part 1
Pairing Vegetables A-D

  1. Image titled Match Herbs and Spices to Vegetables Step 1
    Pair artichokes with parsley, bay leaves, coriander, and paprika. Coriander (and curry, incidentally) should be added before cooking. Everything else can be added during or after. There are a plethora of ways you can prepare artichokes, too. Try wikiHow's article on the different methods of artichoke preparing to see if one strikes your fancy.
    • Grilled artichokes? Yes, please. Risotto with Artichokes? Definitely worth a try. Have you tried artichokes with a lemon aioli or even barbecued? There's lots to experiment with when it comes to this veggie.
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    Prepare asparagus with dill, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary. Chives and tarragon are good, too.[1] Use these herbs and spices to flavor your butter and then give your asparagus a nice herbed sauté.
    • You can steam asparagus, roast asparagus, blanch asparagus...the list goes on. But a tried and true recipe favorite? Bacon-wrapped asparagus. Mmm.
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    Combine beetroot with pepper, coriander, thyme, dill, chives, ginger, cloves, and sage. All of these herbs and spices go well with the under-appreciated beetroot and can be placed nicely into a soup, stew, salad, or dip. Need some ideas? Try a few of these wikiHow favorites:
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    Match broccoli with sage, chives, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic, marjoram, and nutmeg.[2] Ah, broccoli. The veggie you don't appreciate until you reach adulthood. This versatile veggie goes well with tons of herbs and spices and can be made spicy and savory or creamy and cheesy. With this one, it's pretty hard to go wrong.
    • Broccoli is a great veggie for almost any diet. If you're watching your calories, try it steamed. Watching your carbs? Even broccoli cheese soup is low in carbohydrates. And in almost any recipe, broccoli will gladly welcome whatever spice you choose.
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    Pair Brussels sprouts with rosemary, parsley, caraway, nutmeg, oregano, or marjoram. Brussels sprouts certainly get a bad rap, but prepared the right way will make you wonder why you spent years avoiding them. Use these herbs and spices to lessen the strong taste of this veggie.
    • Have you ever tried Brussels sprouts with maple syrup? Delicious. But if you're looking for a more basic recipe, you can boil, saute, roast, or braise them with some herbs and that should do the trick.
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    Try cabbage with bay leaves, lemon, garlic, curry, marjoram, nutmeg, chives, and parsley. Sometimes cabbage needs a bit of help – and if you do it right, it can transform this veggie into a memorable dish. Herbs are a must with cabbage – the above ones are great, but you could also keep it simple with just a bit of pepper and butter. Bacon never hurts either.[3]
    • This is especially helpful for the cabbage soup diet. It gets pretty boring, so you'll need herbs and spices to gladly come to the rescue in this situation.
  7. Image titled Match Herbs and Spices to Vegetables Step 7
    Eat carrots with parsley, basil, curry, chives, sage, or thyme. Or if you're looking to go a little more exotic, they can also pair with coconut and curry, cinnamon and nutmeg, or ginger.
    • You knew you could make carrot soup and make carrot cake, but did you know you could make carrot pancakes? And if you're not looking to bust out the slow cooker or your baking skills, a simple roasted carrot dish goes nicely with just about any meal.
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    Prepare cauliflower with basil, dill, ginger, curry, nutmeg, oregano, coriander, or mint. Cauliflower is great in an onion/dijon/bacon combination, too. Actually, cauliflower is great with most things because it's able to take on just about every flavor. With a little olive oil, it does well with thyme, tarragon, and parsley, too.[4] There's hardly a spice you could go wrong with when it comes to this versatile veggie.
    • Cauliflower is a savior for those avoiding starchy vegetables and carbohydrates. You can make mashed cauliflower that tastes just like potatoes, make cheesy cauliflower breadsticks, and even cauliflower gratin.
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    Try courgette (or zucchini) with garlic, basil, parsley, and oregano. Zucchini (or courgette) is a very basic vegetable that only needs very basic spices. It's similar to cauliflower in that it can be used in many different ways and as a substitute for other, less healthy ingredients. Here are a few ideas to challenge your zucchini skills:
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    Match cucumber with rosemary, dill, mustard, pepper, basil, or chives. Cucumber likes to stay light and refreshing, so pair it with more light and refreshing herbs and spices.
    • A healthy go-to recipe that should be in your arsenal is a simple cucumber salad. You could also try frying cucumbers or turning them into a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich.

Part 2
Pairing Vegetables E-M

  1. Image titled Match Herbs and Spices to Vegetables Step 11
    Combine eggplant with garlic, parsley, mint, sage, curry, basil, rosemary, and oregano. Also known as aubergine, this vegetable is great when it's given a little kick, like with garlic, curry, or soy sauce. Baked, fried, or grilled, it's all good.
    • Why not do "Meatless Mondays" and make a vegetarian eggplant lasagna for dinner? If that doesn't sound up your alley, try stuffed eggplant, eggplant parmigiana, or eggplant fritters.
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    Try green beans with garlic, basil, dill, nutmeg, and pepper. Green beans are cheap, easy to prepare, healthy, and filling. What's not to like? And to top it off, they don't need too many herbs and spices to be delicious. Just sprinkle on the aforementioned flavors and your job is practically done. Here are some ideas to try:
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    Match leeks with mustard, parsley, dill, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, and celery salt. Leeks are sort of onion-y in flavor, and are sometimes even used as a substitute. If you have a favorite onion recipe or favorite herbs to pair with onions, try pairing the same ones with leeks.[5] Just some butter and garlic works well, too (throw in some ginger if you're feeling crazy).
    • Leeks are considered a "gourmet onion." wikiHow has a great article on different ways to prepare leeks, in addition to great recipes on potato leek soup and vegan leek quiche.
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    Prepare lettuce with basil, chives, thyme, tarragon, dill, and parsley. Lettuce is a staple of practically any kind of diet. Since it's so watery and simple, it can easily be overpowered, so be careful. Just a dash of your chosen herbs will do.
    • Lettuce wraps are a great idea to avoid starchy breads, and a simple lettuce salad is a nice complement to virtually any dish. Feeling frisky? How about a peanut butter, lettuce, and cheese sandwich?
  5. Image titled Match Herbs and Spices to Vegetables Step 15
    Pair mushrooms with ginger, pepper, cumin, parsley, and thyme. Mushrooms – a topping, a flavor, or even an entire dish. Mushrooms themselves have a good flavor, but then can be emphasized even more with the right spices and herbs. They're easily made spicy and tangy, or can be toned down for a more savory touch. They too can take on just about anything, so feel free to experiment.

Part 3
Pairing Vegetables O-Z

  1. Image titled Match Herbs and Spices to Vegetables Step 16
    Cook onions with paprika, celery salt, pepper, coriander, basil, garlic, marjoram, or sage. You can throw onion in to just about any recipe – curries, stir fries, sandwiches, salads, soups – you name it, it could probably do for an onion. Take into account the flavor of the dish before you season the onions; since onions can take on a variety of flavors, you want one that matches the specific dish you're creating.
    • The simplest thing you can do with a new supply of onions is to grill them. But you could also make onion dip, onion rings, or even try your hand at onion soup.
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    Try peas with tarragon, mint, parsley, nutmeg, sage, marjoram, and basil. Peas are great as an add-in just like onions (and are good in just about as many things) or great on their own, especially when cooked in herbs and spices. They too don't need a lot of flavor to make them pungent, so add your flavors little by little until you reach your desired outcome.
    • This is a good time to try making split pea soup. You could also spice up your recipe book with potato and pea samosas.
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    Pair potatoes with garlic, nutmeg, paprika, pepper, rosemary, or thyme. It's hard to mess up a potato. They're good on their own, and they're good with a number of spices, too. Try tossing the herbs in a bit of olive oil and using it to roast your potatoes.[6] And if you're feeling super indulgent, don't forget the cheese and butter!
    • The number of things you can do with potatoes is practically endless. However, here are just a few wikiHow favorites: Make Simple Mashed Potatoes, Make Potato Wedges, Make Roast Potatoes, Make Potato Latkes, and Make Saffron Potatoes.
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    Prepare silver beets (Swiss chard) with nutmeg, basil, coriander, sage, marjoram, bay leaves, garlic, or rosemary. You can also use these guidelines for spinach, too. This healthy veggie is growing in popularity and pairs nicely with anchovies, beef, butter, chicken, garlic, lemons and olives.[7]
    • For dinner tomorrow, try making pasta with Swiss chard and mushrooms. You could also try experimenting with wikiHow's spinach dip and spinach pie recipes and working in silver beets.
    • Silver beets, or Swiss chard, has about a dozen names (perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights, sea kale beet, etc.) If you see something that looks like silver beet or Swiss chard but it's labeled something else, it's probably just a regional term.
  5. Image titled Match Herbs and Spices to Vegetables Step 20
    Try tomatoes with basil, tarragon, garlic, chives, dill, mint, oregano, paprika, fennel, parsley, or thyme. Tomatoes are another great staple to many diets. They're versatile and healthy and with the right spices, can add a definite kick of flavor to any meal. And if they're grown in your garden, eating them is even more rewarding.
    • You know pizza and pasta, but have you ever made your own with fresh tomato sauce? It can make all the difference. The same goes for tomato soup, too. When it's fresh and homemade, it's infinitely better.


  • Always use more of fresh herbs, less of dry herbs.
  • Dried herbs are generally more pungent than fresh. If you're going dried, use less.

Article Info

Categories: Herbs and Spices