Flavoring Salads with Fresh Herbs - dummies

By Alan L. Rubin, Cait James

Fresh herbs are an excellent addition to almost anything, especially salad. Their robust flavors can help you cut down the need for adding fat and salt to your foods. You can mince herbs, but some recipes, such as the one for Summer Tomato Salad, call for herbs to be chiffonade.

Chiffonade literally means “made of rags,” and it pretty well describes what the final product looks like. Leafy lettuce or herbs are rolled together tightly and then thinly sliced width-wise to form long, stringy strips.

Here are a few descriptions of our favorite salad herbs.

  • Basil: Technically a member of the mint family, this herb has a sweet peppery flavor that’s the cornerstone of most pestos. Look for basil varieties like lemon basil and cinnamon basil to spice up your everyday salads.

  • Cilantro: Use the tender stems and leaves of this herb to give a pungent push to any Latin- or Asian-inspired dishes. It pairs extremely well with citrus flavors.

  • Dill: The feathery leaves of this pungent herb are the main ingredient in many a salad dressing and fish sauce. It’s great paired with citrus.

  • Mint: Sometimes thought of as only the dessert garnish, mint is used worldwide in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s an incredibly aromatic herb that can lend its fragrance and flavor to salad dressings, dips, condiments, and beverages.

  • Parsley: Whether you prefer flat-leaf or curly parsley, this herb is recognizable to most people. The best way to describe its flavor is fresh. Some people use it as a natural breath freshener. Chop it up and throw it into your salad along with your greens to brighten your salad’s flavor.

Summer Tomato Salad

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

4 medium tomatoes, diced small

1 garlic clove, minced

6 leaves basil, chiffonade

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and serve the salad at room temperature.

Per serving: Kcalories 99 (From Fat 65); Fat 7g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 152mg; Carbohydrate 8g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 1g.

Try a combination of tomatoes in this salad to add color and flavor. Look for Green Zebras, yellow teardrops, pear tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and everyone’s first favorite tomato, the cherry. So many choices, so little time!