Spring Herbs - The Everything Recipe Guide

As the winter season transitions into spring, fresh herbs offer a continuous medley of aromatic. They are easy to grow and harvest, and whether used as a garnish, seasoning, or focal ingredient, they are the perfect addition to any creative dish, bringing their unique character.

The most commonly known culinary spring herbs are basil, chives, parsley, mint, and rosemary. Here is a brief description and how to use them in cooking.

Basil: A Taste of Summer

Basil, with its unmistakable aroma and bold flavor, is a quintessential herb that signals the arrival of spring and the promise of summer. Its vibrant green leaves are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine, adding a burst of freshness to dishes. From classic pesto sauces to Caprese salads, basil lends its distinctive flavor to a variety of recipes. Try sprinkling freshly torn basil leaves over pizzas or incorporating them into marinades for grilled vegetables and meats to infuse them with an aromatic essence.

Chives: A Delicate Allium

Chives, with their delicate onion flavor and vibrant green hue, are among the first herbs to emerge in spring. These slender stalks pack a punch and are perfect for garnishing salads, soups, and omelets. Their mild taste also pairs well with creamy dishes like mashed potatoes or soft cheeses. Consider snipping chives over baked potatoes with sour cream or folding them into scrambled eggs for a burst of freshness. Tip: use a kitchen scissor for ease.

Mint: Refreshing and Versatile

Mint, with its coolness, is a spring herb that adds a burst of brightness to both sweet and savory recipes. Its distinctive taste pairs well with fruits like strawberries and watermelon, making it an ideal addition to spring salads and desserts. Mint also lends its flavor to savory dishes such as lamb chops or couscous, where it can balance rich flavors with its invigorating taste. Try infusing mint leaves into teas or incorporating them into homemade lemonades for a revitalizing beverage option. Mint is also a perennial and easy to keep. I tried the less common varieties of cola mint or chocolate mint, they had a distinctive scent.

Parsley: The Unsung Hero

Parsley, often relegated to a mere garnish, is a versatile herb that deserves more recognition for its fresh, grassy flavor and nutritional benefits. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, parsley adds a vibrant green pop to dishes while imparting a subtle herbal note. Use it as a garnish for pasta dishes, soups, and grilled meats, or incorporate it into sauces and marinades. My favorite? Flat leaves of parsley, create an incredible salsa verde and make sure to use the stems too, packed with aroma.

Rosemary: Robust and Aromatic

Rosemary, with its woody fragrance and robust flavor, alongside basil, is a staple herb in Mediterranean cuisine that thrives in the springtime. Its needle-like leaves impart a distinctively savory taste to dishes, making it ideal for seasoning roasted meats, potatoes, and vegetables.

Rosemary also adds depth to bread and focaccia recipes, infusing them with its aromatic essence. Consider adding sprigs of fresh rosemary to marinades or brines for grilled chicken or incorporating it into homemade salad dressings. Tip: Planning a BBQ? My Nonno always used to infuse the meat with sprigs of rosemary infused in a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and seasoning. The chicken was the best!

Spring, however, is not only about the traditional known herbs. If you enjoy foraging and immersing yourself in nature,  you can find edible plants closer than you think. I love the connection with nature, it was instilled in me by my nonna. We would embark on a regular adventure in the back garden, a field full of chicories ready to be harvested. I would wear my best wellies and off we went. I can still remember the knife she would bring with her. The handkerchief on her head, the precious aprons with pockets, and the woven basket. We would return to the kitchen with wild fennel, chicories, dandelion leaves, and if we were lucky wild asparagus.

Now, like then, I enjoy spending time looking for edible plants and weeds that I would use in recipes or as the start of the dish. If you are not familiar with foraging though, I would suggest starting by joining a local group, it can be really fun. Although plenty of edible plants are suggested on the Woodland Trust website, the easiest ones to spot are dandelions, nettles, and wild garlic.

How to identify, harvest responsibly, and use them

  • Dandelions are easily recognizable by their bright yellow flowers that will turn into spherical seed heads. Their deeply toothed leaves form a rosette close to the ground, and their hollow stems exude a milky sap when broken. Harvest dandelion leaves in the spring when they are young and tender. Choose plants growing in pesticide-free areas. The leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as greens. Dandelion flowers are edible too and can be used to make wine, syrup, or infused into oil.
  • Nettles are characterized by their serrated leaves and tiny, stingy hairs that can irritate upon contact with the skin. They often grow in dense patches in damp, nutrient-rich soil. Harvesting the tender leaves before they flower, couldn’t be any easier. Just be mindful of wearing gloves. Once the leaves have been blanched, they can be used in the same way as the spinach, in fact their flavor is quite mild and similar to spinach leaves.
  • Wild garlic can be found in woodland areas, damp soils, and shady places. Harvested from late March to early summer, its long, pointed, and lance-shaped leaves, make it easily recognizable. It is all edible and the pretty white flowers make a wonderful garnish too. Despite their pungent and distinguished garlic smell, their flavor is mild and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, as a pesto, or infused in oil for marinades.

    Please if you are trying foraging, do it responsibly, never take more than you need, and ensure to leave the foraged areas as you found them to minimize the impact on wildlife.

The following recipe uses wild garlic, and a creamy filling to bring you the ultimate quiche.

Wild Garlic and pancetta quiche

Blogger: Sofia Gallo

Kitchen tools needed: rolling pin, tart tatin, acacia board to serve

Serves: 8/10 ppl – makes one 24cm round quiche

Prep: 15 min

Baking: 35 – 40 min

Difficulty: Easy


For the pasta brisé

200 gr 00 flour – between 10 and 12% protein

100 gr cold soft unsalted butter

50 ml cold water

1 tsp sea salt  

For the filling:

3 large eggs

200 ml double cream

100 ml milk

250 gr pancetta

75 gr grated cheese – gruyere is my favorite

45 gr wild garlic roughly chopped – plus a few leaves for garnish

Seasoning to taste


  1. Start by preparing your tart case. Place the flour and butter into a food processor. Pulse until of a sandy consistency. Melt the salt into the water and add this to the food processor. Combine unlit a dough that has formed. Roll to 4mm thickness between parchment paper and place into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, prepare your filling. Panfry the pancetta until crispy and set aside. Lightly whisk the eggs, cream, and milk adding the preferred seasoning.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Once the pastry is chilled enough, place this into your chosen bake tin. Start layering your ingredients, firstly the pancetta, the dairy, and the egg mixture, finishing off with the grated cheese and the wild garlic.
  4. Place in the oven at the center and bake until golden brown. Enjoy hot straight out of the oven, or cold.

Author - By: Sofia Gallo – IG: @in_cucinacon_sofia

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