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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Lemon Basil Vinagerette

Lemon Flavored Herbs


On a recent trip to a garden center, I bought what I had thought was sweet basil only to bring it home to realize that it was lemon basil. After pondering what I was going to do with lemon basil, I realized that it really was not much different from other lemon fragranced herbs, such as lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon verbena, or lemon thyme. All are known for their lemon aroma that can bring a refreshing twist to many foods and beverages.

Lemon flavored herbs tend to yield a stronger lemon taste when cooked. However, they should be added during the end-stage of cooking to maintain their finest quality. Whether cooked or not, fresh herbs will yield more flavor when chopped finely. This releases more oils allowing more fragrance to push forth. All herbs with a lemon scent can generally be used in the same manner. Use them in a marinade for chicken, fish or seafood, or create a slightly lemony salad dressing such as the recipe below. Iced teas can be steeped with lemon flavored herbs, or they can be sprinkled on fruit salads.

To extend the freshness of herbs, snip off the ends of the stems on the diagonal. Place herbs in a tall glass with an inch of water and cover them loosely with a plastic bag or plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator and change the water daily. Herbs can also be stored by wrapping the stems in a damp paper towel and placing them in an opened plastic bag. Herbs may last at least one week when one of these storage methods is used.

Lemon Balm Vinaigrette Dressing (Printable PDF)

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons vinegar

6-8 lemon balm leaves, finely chopped

⅛ teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients. Stir or shake dressing before serving. Store dressing in the refrigerator. Serve over lettuce salad, steamed vegetables, or use as a marinade for fish or chicken. Vary dressing by choosing different oils, vinegars and herbs. Oils: Grapeseed, olive or walnut; Vinegar: apple cider, red wine or balsamic; Other herbs: tarragon, basil, thyme or marjoram

Yield: 5 servings, 1 Tablespoon each

Nutrition Facts (per 1 Tablespoon serving): 48 calories, 3 grams fat, 0 milligrams sodium, 5 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 0 grams protein



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