Delicious Ways to Pair Foods with Herbs and Spices

Generations of cooks from many cultures throughout the world have discovered that certain herbs and spices make especially good partners for different foods. Try these classic combinations, then experiment on your own.

Pairing Vegetables

Food Herbs Spices
Artichokes Basil, chives, garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme Cardamom, chiles
Asparagus Chives, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme Chiles, saffron, sesame seeds
Broccoli Basil, curry leaves, garlic, marjoram, oregano, tarragon Cayenne pepper, chiles, fenugreek, mustard seed
Brussels sprouts Dill, garlic, parsley, rosemary, tamarind, tarragon Anise, caraway, chiles, mustard seed, turmeric
Cabbage Curry leaves, dill, marjoram, savory, tarragon Caraway, cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric
Carrots Basil, chervil, chives, ginger, lemon balm, marjoram, parsley Anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin
Cauliflower Basil, chives, cilantro, dill, rosemary Caraway, coriander, cumin, turmeric
Corn Basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, thyme Chiles, paprika, saffron, turmeric
Couscous Bay, garlic, parsley, spearmint Anise, chiles, cinnamon, saffron
Eggplant Basil, ginger, mint, oregano, parsley Chiles, cinnamon, coriander, paprika
Green beans Basil, dill, garlic, marjoram, savory, spearmint, thyme Caraway, cloves, coconut, cumin, tamarind
Legumes, dried Basil, bay, garlic, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme Chiles, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, mustard seed, turmeric
Mushrooms Chives, garlic, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme Coriander, cumin, nutmeg
Peas Basil, chervil, chives, garlic, lemon balm, spearmint Caraway, chiles, coconut, fenugreek, turmeric
Potatoes Basil, chives, garlic, lovage, rose- mary, tarragon, thyme Caraway, chiles, cumin, mustard seed, turmeric
Rice Basil, dill, garlic, lemon balm, oregano, parsley, thyme Cardamom, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, saffron
Spinach Basil, chervil, dill, garlic, lovage, marjoram, parsley Anise, caraway, cinnamon, nutmeg, sesame seeds
Squash Basil, ginger, marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme Caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise
Tomatoes Basil, cilantro, lemongrass, oregano, spearmint, thyme Chiles, coriander, mustard seeds, saffron, turmeric
Food Herbs Spices
Beef Basil, bay, ginger, hyssop, oregano, parsley, thyme Caraway, cumin, fenugreek, juniper, paprika
Lamb Bay, fennel, garlic, ginger, oregano, spearmint, tarragon Allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, saffron
Pork Cilantro, fennel, garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme Allspice, chiles, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, turmeric
Poultry Basil, garlic, ginger, lovage, rosemary, tea Allspice, cumin, fenugreek, paprika, poppy seed
Flaky freshwater fish (catfish, perch, trout) Chervil, fennel, ginger, lemon balm, lemongrass, thyme Chiles, cloves, cumin, saffron, tamarind
Firm deep-sea fish (swordfish, tuna) Garlic, ginger, lemongrass, rosemary, thyme Chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, juniper, paprika
Oily saltwater fish (anchovies, bluefish, mullet) Basil, garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme Cayenne, chiles, horseradish
Shellfish (lobster, mussels, fish) Basil, chervil, garlic, ginger, marjoram, mint, tarragon Chiles, coconut, mustard seed, saffron, turmeric