Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

Common Herbs Used in Mediterranean-Style Cooking

 

 

 

Learn which Mediterranean herbs and spices are commonly used in many of Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen’s recipe experiments.

 

Learn which Mediterranean herbs and spices are commonly used in many of Carrie's Experimental Kitchen's recipe experiments.

 

*May is Mediterranean Diet Month so I’ve updated some of the information from this original post to include some newer recipe links to help get you started on cooking with fresh herbs. ~Enjoy! 

Many assume that when cooking with certain types of herbs, they are restricted to certain types of cuisine. When in actuality, they are also quite popular in other areas of the world as well. Such is the case with many Mediterranean fresh herbs and spices. There are many herbs which you might automatically think would be associated in this list like basil, rosemary and fennel. However, there are some herbs like ginger and cilantro, that are also used in Mediterranean-style cooking as well.

Today I’ll be sharing the most commonly used fresh herbs in Mediterranean-style cooking that I like to use in many of my recipes here at Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen. I’ve also given you a few links to recipes that I have prepared in the past using such herb.

Herbs I use in many of my Mediterranean-Inspired dishes:

Basil 

Cilantro

 Chives

Fennel

Garlic 

Ginger 

Mint
  • Mint is used in eastern Mediterranean cooking
  • According to Greek mythology, the word mint comes from Minthe; a Greek nymph who was loved by Pluto, and was changed into a plant
  • Peppermint is often used to flavor candy and desserts, while spearmint is often found in teas, sauces, and jellies that are served with meat, as well as vegetables, like potatoes and carrots.
  • Mint is also added to salads, stews, soups and stuffings
  • Try Fettuccine with Pink Grapefruit & Mint, Spinach, Pear & Mint Smoothie,
Onion
  • Onion’s are extremely popular to Mediterranean cuisine, as it enhances other vegetables, soups, sauces, seafood and meat dishes, grains and legumes
  • There are hundreds of varieties of onions including the large, round Spanish onion, the red-skinned Italian onion, smaller, yellow or white onions, pearl onions and green onions; all of which vary in appearance and potency
  • Try Italian Onions, Vanilla Almond Onion Straws

Oregano

Parsley

  • Parsley originated in Southern Europe and is used in sauces, soups, meat marinades, dressings, salads, casseroles, stuffings, omelets, soft cheeses, and potato dishes
  •  The two main types are curly and flat-leaf parsley, both rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Try Gremolata Chicken Skewers, Gremolata Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary

Sage

Saffron

Sea Salt

  • Sea salt is found in Mediterranean breads, pickled vegetables, dressings, and with cheeses, meats and grains or any savory dish and a few sweet ones as well
  • Sea salt enhances other flavors, seasons on its own, and provides a necessary nutrient
  • Try Grilled Chicken in a Lime Sea Salt Brine, Sea Salt Steak Fries, Sea Salt SmashedPotatoes

Thyme

If you would like to try some other common herbs used in Mediterranean cooking other than the ones listed here, try these: Bay Leaves, Chervil, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Fenugreek, Marjoram, Nutmeg, and Turmeric. This year, I also found Chocolate Oregano and have added it to my herb pot. It smells amazing so look for new recipes coming soon!

Are you considering following a Mediterranean diet?  

Read my post entitled Should I Eat a Mediterranean Diet? for helpful tips and information! 


8 Comments

  1. Kirsten Madaus
    May 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    This is a comprehensive list, Carrie! I’m missing ginger, oregano, sage, saffron (oh and of course salt) but the rest are growing, or soon will be, in my back yard/side yard/front yard gardens.

    And I found fall-blooming crocus in the woods last year, so perhaps I can source local saffron . . . ?

    Thanks!

    • Carrie Farias
      May 13, 2013 at 11:09 am - Reply

      You’re welcome!

  2. Mia
    May 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    Great post. Thank you.

    • Carrie Farias
      May 13, 2013 at 11:09 am - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Mia! 🙂

  3. Sasha
    November 21, 2015 at 11:52 am - Reply

    This is a great list of herbs here. I’m such a fan of Mediterranean-style cooking, probably because my father was born and raised in Sicilia and I grew up on my parents cooking using only the finest ingredients. I love how you’ve included a bit of background information about each herb, most of which I never knew!

    Thanks again for the great share. Keep the excellent content coming.

    – Sasha from DMT Culinary Sharpeners, the world’s leading knife sharpening products.

  4. Ebon Blackforest
    September 3, 2017 at 12:13 am - Reply

    I am very allergic to Sage. Does anyone have a good substitute for flavouring? I can’t even touch/be near sage without having trouble breathing. Also, Cinnamon, too. I’m allergic. I’ve tried substituting nutmeg on that one, but any suggestions?

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