Five Unexpected Herb/Veggie Pairings We Can't Stop Eating
Tom & Jerry, Simon & Garfunkel, peanut butter & jelly…there are some things that are just meant to be together. Soulmates, if you will. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we’re thinking about food pairings that are desperately in love. Of course, we have to pay our respects to duos like macaroni & cheese and the infamous milk & cookies. But for us, herb/veggie pairings are the partnerships that really rock this world.
You know the classics—tomato & basil or cucumber & dill—so we’ve come up with five unexpected and absolutely delicious herb/veggie duos we can’t get enough of.
ONE. Beets & Basil
Beets are the red beauties whose sweetness is unparalleled in the vegetable kingdom. Add basil’s slightly peppery and spicy flavor, and they shine like the top of the Chrysler building. This food duo is especially beloved by children (whose tastebuds seems particularly geared toward sweetness).
This Basil and Balsamic Beets Recipe is absolutely delicious—add roasted chicken for a complete meal!
-2 lb beets
-1½ Tbsp olive oil
-2 Tbsp chopped, fresh basil
-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1 Tbsp brown sugar
-¼ tsp salt
- Toss beets with olive oil in a 13” by 9” roasting pan. Roast in a preheated oven at 450°F until tender—about one hour. Let beets cool, peel them, and discard the skins.
- Dice the beets. Then, toss with basil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and salt. Enjoy!
TWO. Candy Cane Peppers & Oregano
Oregano contains traces of warm pine and balsamic tendencies that will bring your cool, crisp peppers to the limelight. Together, they’re a delightful duo worth savoring. This duo is perfect for a side dish or to throw in a quinoa bowl.
This Braised Lamb with Peppers and Oregano recipe is the perfect meal for a dinner party or sit-down meal.
-1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
-1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
-Coarse salt and ground black pepper
-3 Candy Cane peppers, thinly sliced
-1 hot chile pepper
-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
-2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion softens—about 3 minutes.
- Add peppers and chile. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar.
- Stir to combine, cover, and cook until peppers soften—about 3 minutes. Toss with oregano leaves.
THREE. Carrots, Mint, & Parsley
Okay, we know. This is a trio, but how could we say no? These three herbs play off each other perfectly. With sweet carrots, cool mint, and Mediterranean parsley, you’ll be eating happily all day. This Pan-Roasted Carrots recipe is the ideal side dish. It’s unique and unexpected, but still somehow classic family-dinner material.
-1½ lb carrots, cut on a diagonal into 3” long pieces, halved lengthwise
-½ cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
-4 tsp olive oil
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-¼ cup chopped fresh mint
-¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
-½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
- Put carrots, broth, and 1 tsp of the oil in a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until carrots are tender—about 12 to 14 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and carrots are lightly browned—about 2-3 minutes. Season with ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
- While carrots are cooking, combine mint, parsley, lemon juice, zest, and remaining oil in a small dish. Season with salt and pepper. Then, toss the cooked carrots with the herb mixture and enjoy!
FOUR. Spinach & Dill
Dill is the most underused herb in my kitchen. So why not pair it with one of my most-used vegetables? Spinach has become such a staple in the global diet that people forget the tender leaves were originally cultivated in ancient Persia. As a Mediterranean staple, dill is spinach’s geographical neighbor and delicious flavor counterpart.
Try this Spinach, Chickpea, and Dill Salad or proper Mediterranean flavor!
-1 large onion, thinly sliced
-1½ cups canned chickpeas, drained
-1 lb spinach
-½ cup minced fresh dill
-2 lemons, juiced
-Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and saute until soft. Add chickpeas and toss in oil.
- Cut off thick stems of spinach and wash. Add undrained spinach and dill to skillet, and cook until spinach is tender—about 2 minutes.
- Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Best served warm.
FIVE. Tomatoes & Rosemary
Everyone knows and loves tomatoes and basil together. So, let’s change it up! Rosemary and tomatoes are a delicious pairing—you’ll discover new, surprising flavors in each item and maximize the expected flavors you love.
This Focaccia Recipe contains all the sweetness of tomatoes with the woodsy piney warmth of rosemary. You won’t be able to stop eating it!
-2 tsp active dry yeast
-1 tsp sugar
-1½ cups lukewarm water
-2 Tbsp olive oil, plus 2 Tbsp for drizzling
-2 cups whole-wheat flour
-1⅔ cup - 1¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus some while kneading
-1¾ tsp salt
-¾ lb Roma tomatoes
-1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
-Salt and pepper, to taste
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, dissolve yeast and sugar in the water. Add olive oil, whole-wheat flour, 1⅔ cup of all-purpose flour and salt. Mix together using the paddle attachment. Change to use a dough hook and beat for 8-10 minutes at medium speed, adding flour as needed.
- The dough should eventually form a ball around the dough hook—it will be sticky. Remove from bowl, flour your hands, and knead for a minute on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball.
- Clean and dry bowl. Oil lightly with olive oil and place dough in it, rounded side down first, then rounded side up. Cover tightly with plastic and let rise in a warm area for 1½-2 hours, or in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours, until size has doubled.
- Punch down dough. Cover with lightly oiled plastic and let dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment and oil. Roll or press out dough into a rentable the size of a sheet pan. While rolling out, stop and rest every few minutes for five minutes so the gluten can relax. Cover with damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Right before baking, dimple dough with fingertips.
- Cut tomatoes into rounds and place atop the focaccia. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary, to taste. Drizzle a Tbsp of oil all over.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until bread is deep golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Check out these unique food pairings, and let us know what you think! Share your favorite herb/veggie duos with us on social media—we’re always looking for more ideas.