The Herb Stop Blog
Spice Up Your Winter Soups and Entrees with these Delicious Herbs and Tea Pairings!
Nothing is better than cozying up with a delicious bowl of comforting soup on a cold winter day, especially when served with hearty sourdough bread or hot tea that’ll warm you from the inside out.
As a time of reflection, healing, and quiet, winter is a unique time of year. It’s harder to get outside, and our bodies are naturally in a “hibernation” mode, making us want to curl up with a blanket and sleep the day away. While listening to your body and getting rest is super important, taking preemptive measures to protect yourself from the common cold and other viruses circulating during this time is also helpful.
One of the easiest (and most delicious!) ways to do this is by adding new, tasty, supportive herbs or drinks to your daily life. You’ll reap the benefits without even thinking about it. Here are some of our favorite herbs to spice up winter dishes that’ll encourage improved energy levels, mood, and much more.
Rosemary is an absolute must-have for soups and many other savory dishes. This inviting herb adds a delicious, cheerful aroma to any dish. Unlike many seasonings, rosemary doesn’t lose any of its punchy flavor or smell during cooking, so it’s great for adding a refreshing, pungent, and delicious taste to stews, sauces, soups, salad dressings, breads, and much more.
Studies have shown that rosemary has significant anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and neuroprotective properties. It may even support your mood, memory, anxiety, and sleep — all things that often need a little extra help when winter blues are more common.
Black pepper adds a punchy and warming flavor to our food, making it an ideal winter spice. Traditionally, black pepper has been used to support the body during colds and flu, promote less inflammation in the body, and even improve the bioavailability of other nutrients like turmeric.
Read our previous article here for an in-depth look at black pepper’s unique benefits.
Add black pepper to any dish to satisfy both your savory and spicy preferences. We recommend our delicious Gourmet Four Pepper Blend for added color and visual interest.
If you enjoy the taste of minty or peppery flavors, you’ll love sage leaf. This herb has been used for centuries in cooking, medicine, and spiritual practices.
We definitely recommend using sage leaf with a light touch because it can quickly overpower your delicious soup! However, its strong flavor means it can handle long cooking times, so this herb is a fantastic choice if you’re a fan of cooking with your crock pot.
Like many of the other herbs on this list, sage contains antioxidants, which help your body protect itself against potentially harmful free radicals — many of which are linked to chronic diseases. One study even shared that phenolic acids (found in sage leaf and thought to be responsible for its antioxidant properties) have neuroprotective benefits.
Try our delicious Sage Leaf herb out. We love seasoning our winter soups, chowder, squash, and cheese dishes with it. It’s especially impressive in buttery or tomato sauces.
It’s no surprise that cinnamon is one of the most popular seasonings out there. Its universally loved warm, spicy, and earthy flavor is ideal in sweet and savory dishes, so whether you love creating delicious winter soups or baking bread, this spice has got you covered.
In addition to its tasty flavor, cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Some studies have even found that cinnamon could protect against heart disease by reducing triglyceride and total cholesterol levels.
The best part? Cinnamon is delicious and easy to cook with!
Cinnamon is delicious in cream soups and cuts through their decadence. Add a teaspoon to your favorite cream soup, and you’ll be amazed at how it adds a subtle, warm flavor at the end of each bite.
Wondering what the difference is between these two types of cinnamon? Ceylon’s flavor is a bit brighter, spicier, and lighter and is considered the “true” cinnamon. However, our Cinnamon Ground is also very delicious and packs a more robust flavor, so both are excellent choices depending on your flavor preferences.
We couldn’t write this article without including some literal heat on this list. Cayenne pepper adds a bright, colorful look to your food while packing the heat!
Not only does it pack a strong flavor, but cayenne pepper is rich in vitamins, may protect against inflammation in the body, improve digestion, help with weight maintenance, and clear congestion, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The Best Soup and Tea Pairings
A good rule of thumb for pairing food and teas is pairing like flavors. However, opposite flavors also attract and create unforgettable flavor combinations.
For example, we usually recommend lighter teas like green, white, or herbal tea with brothy soups.
However, you could also drink a bright-flavored tea, like our Mango Honeybush Tea, to add punch (and caffeine) to your meal for an energizing boost. A creamy tea, like our fantastic Vanilla Chai Black Tea, also adds an interesting contrast to a brothy, lighter soup.
Likewise, heavier cream soups, like a rich tomato or creamy potato soup, usually pair well with creamy teas. Some of our favorite creamy tea pairings are Cream Earl Grey Black Tea, Coconut Cream White Tea, and Hazelnut Honeybush Tea. For a more “opposites attract” pairing with creamy soups, try pairing a sweeter tea, like our berry Pisces Tea or Wild Berry Honeybush Tea, with a spicy tortilla soup.
Stay warm this winter with these warming herbs and delicious, cozy teas!
Herbalist Natalie & Herbalist Leilah