Fresh herbs are WONDERFUL to use in every day recipes, but not all of us have them on hand and even when we do they sometimes (or often) go to waste or are only partially used.

I love using fresh herbs in my recipes and if you don’t already have a backyard garden or a windowsill garden of herbs, here are some ways you can ensure you always have fresh herbs and use all that you buy without letting any go to waste.

Choosing and Storing Fresh Herbs

Leafy Herbs: Cilantro, Parsley, Dill, Mint, Basil, Tarragon, Chives

Choose herbs that are bright, crisp and fragrant. Avoid any that have wilted or slimy parts.

Store herbs either placed in a damp paper towel in a sealed bag in the fridge, or snip the ends, remove any dead pieces and place in a few inches of fresh water (be sure to not let the leaves sit in the water or they will rot). Change the water daily and store away from sunlight. Rinse and pat dry just before use for best results.

Hardy Herbs: Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Marjoram, Sage, Savory

Store herbs dry and loose in a paper bag in the fridge, in a few inches of water away from sunlight, tie them and hang them upside down to dry, or dry them in a dehydrator.

Neat Trick: Chop your fresh herbs finely and place into ice cube trays, fill with water or vegetable broth and freeze. Pop them out of the tray once fully frozen and seal in a large freezer bag. Drop them into soups, stews, chopped onions or mushrooms, or pasta sauces as needed. It’s a great way to always have fresh herbs on hand without wasting any!

*Also check out these herb-savers you can put in the fridge and keep your herbs fresh and leafy for up to 2 weeks and other herbaceous gadgets :)  

Cuisinepro Herb Keeper ~$20

OXO Soft Works Salad and Herb Spinner ~$25 - My favourite salad spinner. Just push and spin! Quite fun :)

Zyliss FastCut Herb Mincer ~$17

 

RSVP Herb Scissors ~$10

What are your favourite fresh herbs to use?

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Low Fat Vegan Chef's Herbed Tofu Ranch Dip

Readers often ask if I have a secret recipe for making veggie dip – but without all the fat (and the guilt should someone eat say half or the whole recipes while snacking on veggies…) And so I wanted to share this recipe for Herbed Tofu Ranch Dip from Comfort Foods From Around The World. This recipe is incredibly easy to make and hopefully you have most of these ingredients on hand. What I like to do is actually buy parsley, cilantro and green/spring onions fairly regularly and keep them in a little water fanned out to retain moisture without the leaves getting slimy and breaking down. Having some fresh herbs on hand to add to your salads, smoothies and to use as garnishes for curries and soups is wonderful so I highly recommend it.

What I love about making homemade dips is that I can customize the recipe to MY tastes – and you can to. If you looooove lemon, add a little more, if you looove garlic add a little more etc. Learn to work within your palate and taste test your homemade salad dressings and dips and get them just right so you want to make them again and again.

Since giving up dairy my mom has craved a creamy ranch dip for her veggies, so I made this recipe for her and loved it so much it ended up in my cookbook. I hope that it becomes one of your favorite veggie dips too!

That’s all for today, still trying to take it easy on my hands and not type too much as they fatigue quite quickly still.

Low Fat Vegan Chef's Herbed Tofu Ranch Dip

Herbed Tofu Ranch Dip

 
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 12.3 oz. / 349 g package firm silken tofu (like mori-nu)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp. granulated onion
1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
1/4 tsp. Herbamare or salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. green/spring onions, sliced (green tops only)

Directions:

1. Place ingredients (except for parsley and green onions) into blender or Vita-Mix and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if desired. Add parsley and green onions and blend on medium high until the pieces are broken up a bit and distributed evenly.

2. Refrigerate if desired before serving. Serve with veggies or rice crackers.

Nutrition Facts: 4 Servings, Amount Per Serving: Calories 75.3 Total Fat 2.4 g Saturated Fat 0.4 g Sodium 202.3 mg Total Carbohydrate 7.7 g Dietary Fiber 0.2 g Sugars 5.3 g Protein 6.2 g

Additional Notes:

It is important to use SILKEN tofu, not regular tofu even if it’s soft tofu. It will not have a nice smooth “dairy like” texture. Silken tofu is as the name sounds, silky smooth without any grit which is perfect as a dairy/cream substitute in dips, sauces and salad dressings. It is readily available at most grocery stores and health food stores in the Asian section of the store. Usually it is not refrigerated as the mori nu brand are shelf stable.

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Personal Update From Veronica

April 20, 2014

You might have noticed I’ve been less active lately with my website and my mailings, and I wanted let you know what’s been going on. I feel really badly for not creating as much content as I normally do and it’s because I’ve been dealing with several personal struggles in my life. I hope that [...]

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Slowcooker Vegan White Bean Cassoulet by SkinnyMs

March 16, 2014

I love using white beans, especially in Mediterranean cuisine. They are a delicious addition to soups, stews, chillis, salads or even in place of chickpeas in hummus. They have a mild creamy taste and pair well with almost any herb. I instantly liked this recipe for vegan white bean cassoulet because is jam packed and [...]

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Creamy Vegan Avocado Dill Baby Potato Salad

February 16, 2014
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Sometimes you get a craving for a creamy salad, especially potato salad – but how do you make it creamy and whole food based at the same time? Simple! I switch out the vegan mayo (not a condiment I use in my kitchen!) and substitute a fresh ripe avocado and mash it up and season [...]

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Reader Recipe: Vegan Cream of Celery Soup

February 3, 2014
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Photo credit: digidreamgrafix FreeDigitalPhotos.net I received a wonderful recipe last week from a fellow reader named Elke White who was so kind to share this with all of us. What’s great about this cream of celery soup recipe is that it is exactly like I would have designed myself! Simple, oil free, low in fat and using [...]

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Spicy Vegan Potato and Chickpea Stew from SkinnyMs.com

January 14, 2014
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I have another great recipe to share with you from SkinnyMs.com that is right up your alley! Sometimes I just cannot decide what I would rather go for at night – potatoes or chickpeas… Well good news! This recipe has both so it’s hearty, filling yet still incredibly healthy and whole food based. Really you [...]

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Quick and Easy Vegan Mexican Black Bean Corn Soup

January 6, 2014
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  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and happy new year! I cannot believe it’s 2014 now and it’s a new year here at Low Fat Vegan Chef. When the weather is cold and chilly I often like to make quick one pot meals as it’s not only warm and satisfying and makes [...]

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How To Have a Vegan Thanksgiving and Recipe Ideas

November 18, 2013
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  Our Thanksgiving is already long gone in Canada, but I saved this post for my American readers as many of you have a hard time deciding on what to make and spend a lot of time worrying if your guests or family can survive a meal without turkey or ham on a big holiday. [...]

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Skinny Vegan Quinoa with Black Beans

November 13, 2013
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I have a wonderful quinoa and black beans recipe to share today from SkinnyMs.com! Quinoa is a perfected substitute for traditional ‘Rice & Beans’ and it cooks much faster too. If you’ve been skeptical of trying quinoa in the past and are not sure just what to pair it with, this is a great recipe [...]

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