Every region has its go-to spice blend. Louisiana has its Cajun seasoning, India has garam masala, and, of course, Italy has its perfect-for-pasta Italian seasoning.
If you’re making any type of recipe from southern France, there’s a good chance you might come across Herbes de Provence in the ingredients list. This herb blend contains all the seasonings most commonly used Provence, the southeastern region of France along the Mediterranean Sea.
You could certainly find a jar of dried Herbes de Provence, but to experience the maximum flavor of this seasoning, try it with fresh herbs. Cardiologist and chef Mike Fenster, MD, shows how to make the classic Herbes de Provence using only fresh ingredients.
Health bonus: Because you’re sticking with fresh herbs, which have powerful, tantalizing flavors, you’ll be able to keep the salt down in your cooking. Lower sodium means lower chances of hypertension—and that’s a kitchen win!
Dr. Mike’s recipe uses basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and lavender, though there are many variations on Herbs de Provence based on the exact location in France. Savory (the herb, not the adjective!) and marjoram are also commonly added. Some versions even add mint or fennel.
Since fresh savory (or even dried savory, TBH) can be tricky to find in American stores, this recipe for Herbes de Provence skips it. Luckily, its flavor is quite similar to thyme, so this fresh herb blend will stay close to the original recipe.
The real star of this recipe is the lavender. There’s a good chance you haven’t used fresh lavender in your cooking before, and that’s what makes Herbes de Provence so unique. Yes, lavender has a floral taste, so it’s important to measure carefully so your herb blend doesn’t taste like a Mother’s Day arrangement.
Oh, and read labels carefully: Make sure you buy culinary lavender, not ornamental lavender. (If it’s at the grocery store near the herbs, it’s probably a safe bet.)
Once you’ve mixed your homemade Herbes de Provence, try it in a dijon-marinated salmon, sprinkled onto roasted potatoes, stirred into ratatouille, or swapped for any herb or spice blend on a roast chicken or pork.