Fresh herbs are one of the best ways to impart tons of flavor for few calories and make any meal extraordinary, especially this time of year when they're so plentiful. The only problem is that once you use that tablespoon of cilantro in your chilled soup, you're left with a big bunch that sits in the fridge for days until you toss out the wilted remains.
Make that waste a thing of the past with these delicious, simple ways to use up leftover fresh herbs while they're still at their flavorful peak.
Leftover herb: Any
Use it up: Make salad dressing. This creamy herb dressing from Vegetarian Times is versatile, delicious, and vegan, as the recipe uses tofu for a rich, smooth consistency. Combine any leftover herb, such as basil, dill, parsley, or cilantro, with a few pantry staples, and you've got a delicious drizzler in no time.
RELATED: 10 Tasty Herb-Infused Cocktails
Leftover herb: Basil
Use it up: Toss together a tasty salad. Basil doesn't only work well with tomatoes—the herb also helps bring out the sweetness of watermelon and balances the tartness of the ricotta and red onion in this summer salad recipe on the Q Blog by Equinox.
Leftover herb: Cilantro
Use it up: Add it to your smoothie. Start your day off right by getting your fill of antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3s in this delicious green smoothie from Health Warrior. The pungent, slightly bitter taste of cilantro stands up to the bold, tropical flavors of pineapple and lime, and keeps the smoothie from being too sweet.
Leftover herb: Lemongrass
Use it up: Freeze it for drinks. Lemongrass adds a delightful taste to a variety of summertime drinks, including iced tea and cocktails. Try these citrus lemongrass ice cubes from Vegetarian Times to keep beverages cool.
Leftover herb: Mint
Use it up: Make frozen treats. Mint pairs perfectly with sweet, ripe peaches in these Peach-Mint Popsicles from LLBalanced.com. The herb has a cooling effect on the body and serves a digestive aid, making the popsicles soothing to the stomach as well as delicious.
Leftover herb: Thyme
Use it up: Infuse olive oil. Preserve the taste of this summertime herb by allowing it to meld with garlic and olive oil in the fridge for a day or so, then use the oil to drizzle on anything from eggs to pasta or toast. Learn how from Joy The Baker.
Leftover herb: Parsley
Use it up: Make a Mediterranean side dish. Curly parsley replaces lettuce as the base of this vegan bulgur wheat salad from Glow Kitchen. It's a great way to start any meal, or serve it alongside a lean protein.
Leftover herb: Rosemary
Use it up: Create simple syrup for cocktails. As the name implies, it's easy to do. All you need is sugar, water, a few fresh rosemary sprigs, and this recipe from The Kitchn, and you've got a versatile flavored syrup that will last up to one month in the fridge.
Leftover herb: Chives
Use it up: Mix with basil and cilantro for a fresh salad. This lovely herb salad recipe from 101 Cookbooks combines the best of summer produce: corn, green beans, fresh herbs, and avocado.
Leftover herb: Dill
Use it up: Turn blah quinoa into a flavor-packed dish. This grilled eggplant with herbed quinoa recipe from The Sprouted Kitchen calls for dill, basil, and cilantro, but you can also use thyme or oregano, so experiment to suit your taste.
Leftover herb: Tarragon
Use it up: Make pesto. For a completely new twist, try Dunk and Crumble's recipe that uses cashews instead of pine nuts and tarragon and parsley instead of basil. Then smear on toast or roasted chicken, or dollop on pasta or sautéed veggies.