How to step out of your herb-based comfort zone

Step away from your standard basil and rosemary and experiment with one of these herbs instead.

Press Association
Last updated: 4 June 2018 - 10.53am

This summer, why not try expanding your taste buds with some different herbs?

While herbs like basil, mint and parsley might be tried and tested favourites, branching out with varieties you’re less familiar with can seem a little intimidating – but it’s just a question of giving it a go!

So expand your culinary horizons with a few new flavours…


What it tastes like: In texture it’s tender and juicy, and in flavour, like a slightly sour/bitter spinach leaf.

What to do with it: Chuck it in salads, soups and curries – or eat raw straight from picking.

Thai Basil

What it tastes like: Don’t expect it to be anything like the basil you usually pair with tomatoes, this stuff is very piquant and aniseedy.

What to do with it: Suited to Asian dishes in particular, it goes well in Chinese stir fries and hot, dry curries.

Perilla (or shiso)

What it tastes like: A herb used a lot in Chinese cooking, it’s grassy, spicy, and a little like the aniseed of Thai basil.

What to do with it: They can be stuffed like vine-leaves, used to garnish sushi dishes, and sprinkled atop stir fries.

Lemon Verbena


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What it tastes like: Suitably light and lemony – even a little like lemon sherbet.

What to do with it: Make tea, or use it to flavour delicate puddings, from ice cream and jellies, to panacottas and syrups.


What it tastes like: Very much like celery, but a little stronger.

What to do with it: Follow the flavour and substitute it when you’re out of celery, for soffritos and stew bases. It’ll make a strong addition to a collection of salad leaves too.


What it tastes like: Aniseedy (do you sense a theme?), although it is sweeter, and has a hint of parsley about it too.

What to do with it: Mash it into butter to be smeared on bread, sprinkle on grilled fish and meats.

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