Sage Recipes to Spark Your Interest in This Ancient Herb
Sage has been around for a long time, both as a culinary ingredient and a medicinal herb for people all across the world. But of course, we love it because it’s a fantastic addition to many great dishes and a nice little brown butter sauce. Here are a few sage recipes to get you started!
A Little History
Sage actually comes from the Latin word meaning safe, healthy, and whole. The Ancient Egyptians used it to enhance fertility. Ancient Greeks believed it stopped wounds from bleeding and cleaned ulcers. And it’s long been thought that a tea made from sage could soothe sore throats and cure coughs. The Germans used sage it as anti-inflammatory. The Chinese gave it preference in their teas for its digestive properties. And many believe sage improves memory, sharpens the senses, and strengthens the nervous system.
Today people take sage supplements for a multitude of issues like stomach pain, Alzheimer’s, menopause, and asthma.
Supposedly it’s got mystical and spiritual properties too. Native Americans used it for both healing and a sort of “spiritual house cleaning.” They believed smudging sage on spaces and objects could help clear out bad energies.
But it’s also… delicious!
The flavour of sage is strong – sweet yet savoury – so it pairs well with robust foods and peasant fare, rather than more refined and dainty cuisine. That explains why people love it in their stuffing!
Sage is a member of the resinous herb family – the same as oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme – so you wouldn’t really want to eat it raw. (This is opposed to “fine herbs” like basil and parsley which are delicate and should be eaten raw.) If you get your hands on some fresh sage, cooking it will allow its harsh flavours and textures to mellow.
When you cook sage in butter or oil – which you absolutely should! – it becomes crisp, more delicate, and bright in color. Be sure to fry it quickly and thoroughly in a hot pan, so there’s no moisture left in the leaves and you preserve the taste of the herb. The process of cooking it will also flavour the oil and butter… which you can then use to create a great sauce! And there’s nothing better than crispy sage leaves to accompany a savoury dish.
But if you’re just looking to add that distinct sage flavour to your dishes, Zest & Zing’s perfectly ground sage leaf is perfect. It quickly absorbs into broths, meats, and pasta sauces.
The Perfect Sauce
This is your new secret weapon, and its main components are sage and butter. From fish to pasta, this delicate Sage and Brown Butter Sauce will be your new (rich and tasty) best friend in the kitchen.
Trust me. More ideas on how to use it below.
Sage and Meat
Sage lends itself well to light meat dishes. Pork and chicken taste great with the addition of the herb. For a good introductory, super easy recipe, try this 5 Minute Brown Butter Chicken with Crispy Sage, which you could create with fresh or dried sage to attain these flavours. The resulting chicken can be served with pasta, made into quesadillas, or served over rice.
Sage is also fabulous in sauces and gravies, and you can’t get a much better dish than this simple yet decadent Pork Loin with Wine and Herb Gravy. Cook it all on the stove-top for a slightly creamy and herbaceous sauce.
One combination you may not have considered: Sage and burgers! Throw a little dried sage (and even some rosemary) into your mince before grilling the patties to create new savoury flavours. This recipe for Rosemary-Sage Burgers With Apple Slaw and Chive Mayo looks amazing with a blend of beef and pork, but feel free to mix it up.
If you love lamb, you’re in luck because it’s a meat that can really stand up to the flavours of sage. Try this easy-to-prep Sage Roast Lamb and Vegetables with Honey Mustard Dressing. Substitute whatever root vegetables you like to soak up all the juices from the meat.
Another unlikely duo is sage and fish. After you master the sage and brown butter sauce above, use it to top any crispy skinned white, flakey fish after cooking. Or you could test your new skills with this Pan Seared Salmon with Sage Brown Butter Sauce for a healthy-ish meal. But if you’re feeling like something fried (hey, you deserve it) try this Crispy Cod with Sage Butter.
Sage and Vegetables
Potatoes, root vegetables, and sage are the perfect marriage, especially when roasting. These Roasted Potatoes with Sage and Garlic make a great accompaniment to Sunday roasts or a simple side dish for any meal. If you’ve got other veg in the pantry, try this basic recipe for Roasted Vegetables with Sage. Root vegetables work great, but you can also try sage with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli (this recipe throws in pecans too). Test out all sorts of combinations, but remember to play around with garlic, thyme, or even lemon occasionally – they all pair well with sage.
You can cook your vegetables on the stovetop with plenty of fresh ground pepper and sea salt. This Autumn Vegetable Skillet includes sunchokes, but you can can use what you have, like onions, carrots, and celery.
And there’s no cooking required with something like this healthy, easy Sage and White Bean Dip. A smooth blend of cannellini beans, sage, paprika, and cayenne pepper is great for dipping fresh vegetables or grilled pitas. You could also spread it on sandwiches.
Sage and Pasta
Remember that basic brown butter sage sauce? Toss any sort of pasta around in it! Gnocchi is a popular choice, so why not try this recipe for Gnocchi with Sage, Butter, and Parmesan, which you can easily simplify with store-bought gnocchi. And a Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Sage is a minimal (but flavourful) dinner too!
For something a little creamier, have a look at this Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta with bacon, sage, garlic, and thyme. The squash is pureed to create a velvety sauce and the sage gives it even more depth. Butternut squash is a popular pairing with sage, and you can use it in any form, like this Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. Similarly, pumpkin goes really well with the rustic flavours of this herb, like in a Sage Pumpkin Pasta Bake with Kale and Buttered Pecans
Orecchiette with Sausage, Brown Butter, and Sage is a little different and shows just how versatile and warm sage can be when paired with spicy sausage, pecorino cheese, and of course… butter.
Sage and… Drinks?
Yep, they’re trendy for a reason. Herb-infused cocktails are all the rage right now, because muddling those leaves makes your drinks all the more aromatic and unique. Use fresh sage for this light and refreshing Pineapple and Sage Mojito or if you prefer whiskey, try a Sage Gold Rush with bourbon and honey.