Couscous dish, cookies, and pesto.

Cooking with Herbs - 3 Favorite Recipes!

With the holidays right around the corner, we thought we'd share 3 of our staff member's favorite recipes for cooking with herbs! We hope you enjoy them too... 

Couscous Salad Recipe

Lemon, garlic, oregano and a bottle of oil on a dark wood table.Lemon Oregano Dressing

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1/4 cup oregano leaves - cut with sissors
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions: whisk together and set aside to blend.

Couscous Salad

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups couscous


  1. Heat water, butter and salt to boiling, stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. 
  2. Let stand for FIVE MINUTES ONLY.
  3. Fluff with fork and set aside.

Couscous salad in a bowl.Next Step: in a large bowl, combine the following ingredients:

  • 1 red onion - finely sliced and cut cross ways
  • 1 cup feta cheese - crumbled
  • 1 cup parsley - cut with sissors
  • 1/2 to 1 cup black olives - sliced
  • 1 cup golden raisins 
  • 1 cup cranberry craisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Final Step: mix lightly, then add couscous and toss with dressing.

Note: Add whatever fresh herbs you'd like, such as dill, basil tarragon or cilantro. Keep in mind that if you add other herbs, it will lessen the flavor of the parsley and oregano included in the recipe.  You can also use arugula and arugula flowers, thyme, and salad burnet.  Tip: cut additional herbs with sissors for salads (keep the food processor for Pestos). 

Source: Linda Cunningham of Cunningham’s Herbs Jacksonville, Florida

Perfect Pesto Recipe

Homemade pesto in a jar on a wooden table with basil and oil nearby.Ingredients - Yield 1/4 cup:

  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1/4 cup toasted nuts* 
  • 1/4 cup olive or other vegetable oil
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves, quartered
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dillweed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh chives or green onions
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

* Traditionally pine nuts are used in pesto. However, you can use almonds, pistachios or walnuts if you prefer.


  1. Combine all ingredients in container of an electric blender or food processor. Process ingredients for 30 seconds or until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Storage: Pesto may be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or frozen up to several months. After thawing, stir immediately before serving. 

Pesto Canapes with Naturtium flowers.Suggested Ways to Use Pesto:

  • Baked potatoes and other vegetables
  • Pasta
  • Stuffed tomatoes, cucumbers or zucchini
  • Spread for canapés
  • Spread for French or Italian bread

Source: Cooperative Extension Service, Jacksonville Agriculture Department Family and Consumer Sciences Program, Jacksonville, Florida

Lavender-Mint Shortbread Recipe

Lavender mint cookies with lavender sprigs on a wooden table and in a bowl.Ingredients - 4 dozen cookies:

  • 1.5 cups butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons lavender florets - chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh mint - chopped
  • 2+1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. Cream the butter, sugar, lavender and mint with an electric mixer until light and fluffy—about 3 minutes.
  3. Add flour, cornstarch and salt, and beat until incorporated.
  4. Roll dough in long rolls—about the size/diameter of a quarter. 
  5. Wrap in saran wrap and chill.
  6. Cut in 1/4 inch rounds and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until brown.

Source: Linda Cunningham of Cunningham’s Herbs Jacksonville, Florida

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