Fresh herbs drive me crazy because most recipes call for such a small amount relative to how much you have to buy at the store. I can't count the number of times I've bought, say, a whole bunch of parsley, then only used a few tablespoons and had the rest go to waste. If you're just using herbs for garnish, it's nearly impossible to get through them fast enough—even if you follow our advice about how to store fresh herbs. There is a solution, though: make recipes where the herbs are a main ingredient rather than a garnish. Half a cup or more of basil, cilantro, mint, or any other fresh herb is perfect for adding a fresh flavor to all sorts of dishes. From chickpea salad with dill and Thai steak salad with mint and basil to shredded chicken with noodles and cilantro, we've rounded up 18 recipes to help make sure you never waste fresh herbs again.
The Best Tabbouleh Salad
While some tabbouleh recipes go heavy on the bulgur, the dish is fundamentally all about the parsley—there should only be enough grain and vegetables to complement the herb. To keep the tabbouleh from getting soggy we salt and drain the parsley and tomatoes, then use the tomato juices to soak the bulgar so that no flavor goes to waste.
Make-Ahead Quinoa Salad With Cucumber, Tomato, and Herbs
Tabbouleh is a wonderful side, but it's not quite filling enough to be a meal in and of itself. This make-ahead salad takes tabbouleh's flavors and bulks them up with quinoa. Asw with tabbouleh, it's important to salt and drain the vegetables (and also drain the quinoa thoroughly).
Fresh Herbs With Corn, Asparagus, and Chickpeas
This fresh, summery salad uses all kinds of herbs: parsley, cilantro, dill, and mint. When we trim them we leave the finer stems for some crunch. Beyond the herbs, we make the salad with crispy chickpeas, shallots, corn, asparagus, and cumin and top with sumac-spiked yogurt.
Grilled Corn, Tomato, Feta, and Herb Salad
We stay with corn for this salad, grilling it until sweet and smokey and tossing it with perfectly ripe tomatoes, salty feta, and whatever leafy herbs are on hand (parsley, basil, and mint are all lovely choices). As long as the produce is good the salad hardly needs a dressing—we use nothing more than olive oil and lemon juice.
Easy Make-Ahead Carrot and Chickpea Salad With Dill and Pumpkin Seeds
Perfect for taking to work or school for lunch, this salad combines chickpeas with grated carrots, toasted pumpkin seeds, tons of dill, and a simple vinaigrette. If you want to make the salad fast you can use canned chickpeas, but dry ones have better flavor and texture.
Roasted-Chickpea and Kale Salad With Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
For this recipe we go with canned chickpeas, but we roast them to concentrate their nutty flavor and crisp them up just slightly. We mix the roasted chickpeas with hearty kale, cilantro, mint, scallions, and a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette to make a satisfying salad that gets even better if you let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Vietnamese Citrus and Noodle Salad With Fresh Herbs and Fried Yuba
Packed with intense textures and flavors, this Vietnamese-inspired salad is simultaneously light and filling. We make it with fried yuba (tofu skin), rice noodles, grapefruit, fresh vegetables like carrot and cucumber, and a big handful each of mint and cilantro. While Vietnamese salads are often dressed with fish sauce, we use soy sauce and Maggi seasoning instead to keep this vegan-friendly.
Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad With Cucumbers, Red Peppers, and Basil
Our version of cold peanut noodles goes heavy on the produce, so much so that it's more of a vegetable salad that happens to have some noodles mixed in. We use all sorts of veggies, including bell peppers, cucumber, mung bean sprouts, and a full cup of fresh herbs. All the ingredients are tossed in a peanut butter dressing made with soy sauce, chili sauce, and lime juice or rice wine vinegar.
Sichuan Shirataki Sesame Noodle Salad With Cucumber, Sichuan Peppercorn, Chili Oil, and Peanuts
Peanut noodles aren't the only option when you're in the mood for a cold Asian noodle salad. This recipe uses shirataki—light, slippery noodles made of yam starch—which are mixed with Sichuan peppercorn and chili-infused oil, black vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, and peanuts. Scallions, cucumber, and cilantro (leaves and thin stems) brighten up the salad.
Easy Vegan Crispy Tofu Spring Rolls With Peanut-Tamarind Dipping Sauce
Salads aren't the only way to use lots of fresh herbs—you can also pack them into spring rolls. Cilantro, mint, and Thai basil are all solid choices for these vegan spring rolls, which are filled with crispy slow-cooked marinated tofu and served with a peanut-tamarind sauce for dipping.
Grilled Vegetable and Jasmine Rice Salad With Herbs and Cashews
This variation on Thai grilled beef salad takes a meat-light approach, replacing the beef with grilled onion, carrots, snap peas, peppers, and jalapeños. The only thing that keeps the recipe from being vegetarian is a tablespoon and a half of fish sauce, which we mix into the vinaigrette that dresses the vegetables, herbs, and rice.
Isan-Style Thai Sliced-Steak Salad
If you want your steak salads to, well, have steak in them, try this Isan-style salad made with beef, onion, tomato, mint, and basil. The dressing really makes the salad—the mix of garlic, dried and fresh chilies, lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar gives the salad that classic sour-salty-sweet-spicy Thai flavor.
Isan-Style Spicy Thai Fried Pork Rind and Herb Salad
Before we leave Northeastern Thailand I've got to share this recipe that stars an ingredient you probably don't associate with salad: store-bought pork rinds. They don't have quite the same texture of homemade chicharrones, but they do let you make this flavorful salad in just about ten minutes.
Steak and Corn Salad With Salsa Verde
This hearty-yet-refreshing salad is a great way to use up leftover steak. We start by slicing the chilled beef into thin slices, then toss it with cooked corn, red onion, and a Spanish salsa verde flavored with pickles, capers, anchovies, fresh parsley and mint, and olive oil.
Grilled Chicken and Cabbage Salad With Creamy Tahini Dressing
Another way to use leftovers, this recipe takes grilled chicken and gives it new life by massaging it with olive oil and lemon juice and mixing it with crunchy cabbage and a creamy tahini-based dressing. To keep the salad nice and light we add half a cup each of chopped parsley, mint, and cilantro.
Shredded Chicken With Soba and Miso-Butter Sauce
This chicken dish is flavored with a combination of salty, savory miso paste and rich, creamy butter. We sear and poach the chicken and then cook the soba in the same pot so that it picks up extra flavor from the drippings. After mixing together the chicken, noodles, and sauce we finish with fresh scallions, cilantro, and bean sprouts.
DIY Chicken and Dill Instant Noodles
This recipe combines the convenience of instant noodles with the satisfaction of a home-cooked meal. We assemble the dish by filling resealable glass jars with chicken base, peas, onion, chicken, and noodles, plus fresh dill sealed in plastic bags. When it's time to eat remove the dill, add boiling water and let the noodles sit for two minutes, then mix the dill back in.
Warm Couscous Salad With Salmon and Mustard-Dill Dressing
Dill, mustard, and salmon is a classic pairing, and here we use it by mixing pearled couscous with flaked seared salmon, dill, mustard, and lemon juice. To make the salad a little more filling we also wilt in a big handful of spinach right before serving.