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Herbs & Spices – What Goes With What Food

For the less adventuresome, the table below suggests individual seasonings for a variety of foods.  You will need to experiment to see which appeal to you and your family.

Food Seasoning
Beef Bay leaf, cayenne, chili, curry, dill, ginger, mustard, paprika, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme.
Pork Allspice, basil, cardamom, cloves, curry, ginger, marjoram, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme.
Lamb Basil, cardamom, curry, dill, mace, marjoram, mint, oregano, paprika, rosemary, turmeric.
Poultry Allspice, anise, bay leaf, cayenne, curry, dill, ginger, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme.
Fish Allspice, anise, basil, bay leaf, cayenne, chives, curry, dill, fennel, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, tarragon, thyme.
Fruit Allspice, anise, cinnamon, cloves, curry, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg, pepper.
Vegetables Green Beans -- Dill, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano.Beets -- Allspice, nutmeg.

Broccoli -- Mustard, nutmeg, sage.

Carrots  -- Dill, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, thyme.

Cucumbers -- Basil, dill, parsley.

Eggplant -- Oregano, parsley.

Mushrooms -- Garlic, sage.

Peas -- Marjoram, mint.

Potatoes --Chives, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, mace, rosemary, tarragon.

Squash -- Cardamom, ginger, nutmeg.

Tomato -- Allspice, basil, cloves, cumin, fennel, marjoram, oregano.

Rice Chives, cumin, curry, nutmeg, parsley, saffron, turmeric

Herbal Combinations

Herbs can be combined for specific foods. Having premixed combinations on hand speeds cooking and helps assure consistent quality. Some combinations have special names. They can be added directly to the food or wrapped in cheesecloth and removed before serving. The following are suggested herb blends. (Assume equal parts unless specified.)

Food/Term                                                        Seasoning Blend
Egg Basil, dill weed (leaves), garlic, parsley.
Fish Basil, bay leaf (crumbled), French tarragon, lemon thyme, parsley (options:  fennel, sage, savory).
Poultry Lovage, 2 parts marjoram, 3 parts sage.
Salad Basil, lovage, parsley, French tarragon.
Tomato Sauce 2 parts basil, bay leaf, marjoram, oregano, parsley (options: celery leaves, cloves).
Italian Basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme.
Barbeque Cumin, garlic, hot pepper, oregano.
Fines herbes Parsley, chervil, chives, French tarragon (sometimes contains   a small amount of basil, fennel, oregano, sage or saffron).
Bouquet garni Bay leaf, 2 parts parsley, thyme.  The herbs may be wrapped in cheesecloth or the parsley wrapped around the thyme and bay leaf.
Herb butter One stick unsalted butter or margarine; 1 to 3 tablespoons dried herbs or 2 to 6 tablespoons fresh herbs (any herb or spice may be used); 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice; and white pepper.  Combine ingredients and mix until fluffy.  Pack in covered container and let set at least one hour.
Vinegar Heat 1 quart vinegar in an enamel pan, pure it into a vinegar bottle, and add one or several herbs (4 oz. fresh marjoram, sage, tarragon or thyme).  Do not let the vinegar boil.  Refrigerate for two weeks before using.  Any type of vinegar may be used, depending on personal preference.

Sue Snider, Ph.D.
Professor/Food Safety & Nutrition Specialist



Original Publication Date:

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Disclaimer: Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

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