Three Summer Herb and Food Pairings You Must Try

There’s nothing better in the summer than fresh herbs. If I can put herbs in something, I will do it! Cooking with herbs and teas is a delightful way to use the flavors of summer in your food (or beverages). Not only will you boost whatever it is you’re cooking, you’re adding in extra nutrition in the form of bright, flavorful herbs.


Here are three of my favorite summer herb and food pairings. 

Basil + Anything

Hands down, my favorite summer herb to cook with is basil. I feel like it’s so versatile and can work well in sweet or savory dishes. I’ll start growing it in our deck container herb garden in the spring and by the summer, we have a huge crop of basil.

Basil is a fantastic source of antioxidant vitamins, especially vitamin K, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. You’ll also get a boost of dietary fiber from this herb. There are so many varieties, like Genova, Thai, lemon, and Tulsi basil. Some are sweeter and some are a bit more “spicy.”

Basil pesto is a natural (and incredibly nutritious) option to create with this herb. Fresh basil is spicy, savory, and just a hint sweet. Combined with pine nuts, cheese, garlic, and oil, it’s the star topping to pasta, flatbreads, and grilled veggies.

Basil and tomatoes (especially in a caprese salad with mozzarella!) make a great, fresh pairing. I like to add a drizzle of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar to this and tear the basil on top of the tomatoes and cheese to release the flavors and oils in the herb.

Strawberry is another natural flavor to combine with basil. Strawberry basil shortcakes are yummy, as is infusing water with any berries and basil leaves, especially lemon basil!

If you have leftover basil at the end of the season, preserve it for a fresh burst in your fall and winter cooking!


Anything in the mint family (peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm) is easy to grow. In fact, they can take over, so keeping them in pots is a smart option, especially if you want to grow a few varieties without getting them mixed up (or have them take over your garden).

Mints settle the stomach, clear the mind, taste so fresh, and can soften the tastes of other herbs.

A sweeter herb, mints are natural ingredients in baked goods. My Citrus Joy Breakfast Muffins use Citrus Joy tea to create an uplifting, slightly citrusy, and totally delicious muffin that’ll satisfy your morning desire for something sweet without having a ton of sugar before the day really starts.

I also love adding mint to fresh summer salads. They perk up and round out the flavors without overpowering the other fresh tastes. A salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, and berries tastes great when a little mint is sprinkled on top. The same with fruit salad. You can also add mint to your smoothie for a natural, energizing boost.


Lavender is a quintessential summer herb. If I didn’t also love the flavor, I’d love it just for all the little white butterflies that visit the plant, the smell when I am working near it, and the flowers that are great in teas and in cooking. That said, lavender is one of those herbs that people love or hate (like cilantro).

Lavender Mint Dream tisane uses Lavendula angustifolia flowers and it’s one of our most popular tisanes, so I think that says many of you enjoy lavender!

This herb is fantastic in cookies and other baked goods. The aroma is spectacular and it’s neither sweet or savory, rather somewhere earthy in the middle. And just a little bit of lavender goes a long way.

One of my favorite things to make with lavender is cheesecake, especially Lavender Mint Dream Cheesecake. It doesn’t sound like it would work, as this herb is thought of in more relaxing activities (ie: a bath!) but it adds a fresh note and works well with the other herbs in the cheesecake recipe to keep the other herbs from being “too much.” 


Lavender is a natural to go with citrus flavors, so adding this to a glass of lemonade or even a citrusy cocktail or tonic adds an earthy element that brings a burst of summer freshness.

What are your favorite herb and food pairings?