Herbs Used in Greek Cooking

Freshly cut dill, chives and flat leaf parsley
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Greek cuisine relies on several different herbs to lend its signature flavors. From arugula to wild celery, they season salads, soups, meat or seafood dishes, and more.

Note on pronunciations:

  • Accented syllables are shown in capital letters.
  • The "hard th" is the th sound in the word "the." The "soft th" is the th sound in the word "thanks."

Name: Arugula
Greek Name: Roka
Pronounced: ROE-kah
Name in Greek: ρόκα

Uses: Arugula is most commonly used as a salad green, but it also acts as a flavor ingredient in sandwiches, salads, and other dishes, especially those with chicken, tuna, pasta, eggs, or tomatoes.

Name: Bay Leaf
Greek Name: Daphni
Pronounced: THAHF-nee (hard th)
Name in Greek: δάφνη

Uses: As in many other cuisines, bay leaves are used to flavor soups, stews, and broths and then discarded before serving.

Name: Dill
Greek Name: Anithos
Pronounced: AH-nee-thohs (soft th, end rhymes with "dose")

Name in Greek: άνηθος

Uses: Dill is used in fish recipes, various types of salads, and the classic cucumber and yogurt dip tzatziki.

Name: Fennel Leaves
Greek Name: Maratho
Pronounced: MAH-rah-thoh (soft th sound)
Name in Greek: μάραθο

Uses: Fennel leaves are used in generous amounts in stews and fritters. They also season vegetables, seafood, meats, and savory pies.

Name: Marjoram
Greek Name: Mantzourana
Pronounced: mahn-dzoo-RAH-nah
Name in Greek: μαντζουράνα

Uses: Oregano's sweeter cousin, marjoram is primarily used to give flavor to lamb and chicken.

Name: Spearmint
Greek Name: Dyosmos
Pronounced: thee-OHZ-mohs (hard th, end rhymes with "dose")

Uses: Cool, cheerful spearmint is widely used in cheese-based dishes, tomato sauces, and rice dishes and to flavor meats. It's also used to make a refreshing herbal tea.
Name in Greek: δυόσμος

Name: Oregano
Greek Name: Rigani
Pronounced: REE-gah-nee
Name in Greek: ρίγανη

Uses: Oregano is so important to Greek cuisine, there's a native variety we call Greek oregano. It's paired with most everything Greeks cook, including meat, fish, cheese, and egg dishes; salads; and such vegetables as tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans

Name: Parsley
Greek Name: Maïdanos
Pronounced: mah-ee-dah-NOHS (rhymes with "dose")
Name in Greek: μαϊντανός

Uses: Mild but bright parsley is used as a garnish, just like in so many U.S. restaurants, and also in soups and salads.

Name: Purslane
Greek Name: Glistritha
Pronounced: ghlee-STREE-thath (hard th)
Name in Greek: γλιστρίδα

  • also known as antrakla, αντράκλα, say: ahn-DRAK-lah

Uses: Purslane grows like a weed in the Greek sun and is made into salads or cooked in vegetable dishes.

Name: Rosemary
Greek Name: Thentrolivano
Pronounced: then-droh-LEE-vah-no (hard th)
Name in Greek: δεντρολίβανο

Uses: Rosemary shines in meat dishes, especially lamb-based ones.

Name: Sage
Greek Name: Faskomilo
Pronounced: fahs-KOH-mee-lo
Name in Greek: φασκόμηλο

Uses: Sage is also primarily used to enhance the flavor of meats, including duck, chicken, and pork.

Name: Savory
Greek Name: Throubi
Pronounced: throo-BEE (soft th)
Name in Greek: θρουμπί

Uses: Beans and savory are a classic combination. Savory is also used in a variety of soups and stews and with fish and eggs.

Name: Tarragon
Greek name: Estragon
Pronounced: es-trah-GON
Name in Greek: εστραγκόν

Uses: Tarragon and chicken are a match made in heaven. This herb is also used in egg and mushroom dishes.

Name: Thyme
Greek Name: Thymari
Pronounced: thee-MAH-ree (soft th)

Uses: Thyme is a constant companion to other herbs, especially oregano, in meat dishes, soups, and stews.
Name in Greek: θυμάρι

Name: Wild Celery
Greek Name: Selino
Pronounced: SEH-lee-noh
Name in Greek: σέλινο

Uses: Wild celery turns up in Greek cooking as a vegetable or herb in soups and stews.