Does it seem like the bunches of fresh herbs sold in stores are getting bigger and bigger? This isn’t such a great thing, in my opinion. Most recipes call for 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh herb, and then you’re stuck with the rest. Or, once you use your 1/4 or 1/2 cup’s worth in a recipe, you can use the rest to make pesto or this green goddess salad dressing. Both pesto and salad dressings (such as this one) are wonderful made with parsley or cilantro.
That being said, there are good ways to store fresh herbs so they’ll last longer, and you’ll find those following the recipe box.
Green goddess salad dressing has a luscious flavor, making good use of nutrient-rich fresh herbs. The base is made with tahini (or vegan mayo) and cucumber. Use garlic if you’re a garlic-lover, but it’s just as good without.
The added spoonful of olive oil, in my opinion, helps tie the flavors together, but it’s entirely optional. Use it to your heart’s content on almost any kind of salad. It’s a good way to supercharge pre-cut coleslaw and a nifty dressing for pasta or potato salads.
- 1 good-sized bunch parsley or cilantro, rinsed (some stem is fine)
- 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste) or vegan mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves, to taste, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed, optional
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, optional
- Pinch of salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients in the container of a food processor. Process until herbs are very finely minced.
- Transfer to a bowl or bottle and stir or shake well before each use.
Variation: Substitute or add other fresh summer herbs of your choice, including basil and/or oregano. Note that basil becomes discolored much more quickly, so add it only if you plan to use this up at once.
A few tips for extending the life of fresh herbs
Herbs are past their prime once they get that sad, floppy look. Once they reach that stage, you can puree them with oil and freeze for up to 6 months. Use an ice cube tray for perfect individual portions; wrap the whole tray tightly with plastic wrap before placing in the freezer. Thaw an individual cube or two a hint of fresh herbs in sauces, dressings, and even marinades.
If you know you’ll be using all or most of your big bunch of fresh herbs quickly, simply wrap the stems in some paper towel and put in a plastic bag or container. If you think you’ll be using a little at a time, place them, stem down, in a glass of water, just like you’d do with fresh flowers. Make sure the glass holds the stems snugly so they don’t flop all over the place. Then cover the whole thing with a plastic bag, like a little greenhouse. If your fridge has side door shelves, that’s a good place to put this so it has less chance of getting knocked over.
Or, if you want to use your tired herbs all at once, make pesto, or dressings such as the one above. There are few preparations that make such good use of a large quantity of herbs, and few things that make pasta taste better.
- Here are more sauces and dressings to enhance your plant-based dishes.