Sage is a lovely woody herb that is very versatile.
My sophomore year of high school I worked in my school’s greenhouse as part of one of my agriculture classes. I got to plant flowers for my school’s annual plant sale, water the things growing in the greenhouse, and start a herb garden.
It was my plant science teacher’s idea to plant herbs in the greenhouse. She had gotten packets of seeds and big plastic planters. We set out to several types of herbs (and vegetables like peppers too.) These planters were meant to be a class project, but, even then, I ended up being the one taking on the gardening adventure.
Every other day when I’d have my plant science class I’d come to the greenhouse to take care of my little plants. They grew well and soon enough I had a few strong sage plants growing.
At the end of spring my high school has their annual plant sale. By that point my sage plants were very established. Leading up to the sale I’d been taking a few leaves from the plants home here and there, because I loved the plants and was so proud of myself for being able to grow them like I had.
I was not expecting for my teacher to send me home from that sale, however, with the sage plants I had lovingly grown during the school year.
Now over four years on, those sage plants are still growing in my garden. They’re very large now and absolutely beautiful. (Sage is a woody herb so grown in zone seven it is a perennial.)
Of course with my plants being as large as they are now, they yield quite a bit of sage! While I could never find enough uses to use up even half of what my two shrubs produce, I do try to use what I can.
I recently harvested another few bunches of sage so I decided I would write a post offering just a few ideas of what to do if you have some sage that needs to be used. Hopefully one of these gets you inspired to make some good food!
Sage is a great herb to use to season potatoes. Steamed new potatoes tossed with butter and fresh sage makes for a great side dish at dinnertime. Sage can also be used in mashed potatoes. Just make sure it is chopped finely before you add it to your potatoes.
If you’re using an immersion blender you can even put the whole leaves in as the blades will chop the sage as it breaks apart the potatoes.
Stuffing (or Dressing)
Thanksgiving stuffing (or dressing) isn’t complete without sage! While dried sage can be used, fresh sage makes it that much better. In this dish sage pairs well with thyme.
The sage can be shredded and folded into the chopped or shredded bread when adding in the (plant) butter. Sage adds a nice herbal flavor that makes this dish hearty and comforting.
I love the scent that fills my kitchen when I make my homemade stuffing with sage every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas too! It fits in perfectly with the mood of the holidays.
I always add sage to my pasta sauce. I like using fresh sage because more flavor gets released into the sauce. When the sage is fresh it still has all of its natural flavor oils.
For my pasta sauce I also add in oregano, thyme, and garlic. The four combined makes for a complex taste that is always good. I cook these herbs with diced tomatoes and tomato paste to make my sauce.
If you want to elevate your sauce even more add chopped vegetables like squash, zucchini, or spinach!
When it comes to marinades, lemon pairs really well with fresh sage. Both lemon zest and lemon juice can be used.
Marinades are great because they allow your protein source (like tofu) absorb lots of flavor. This makes the dish your preparing all the tastier when it’s cooked!
I like the combination of olive oil, fresh sage, lemon juice and zest, as well as a small amount of sweetener like raw sugar or agave syrup. The sweetener isn’t mandatory, but I like the added layer to the flavor.
Marinades are awesome because you can throw a bunch of your fresh sage in a container or ziplock bag with the other ingredients and your protein and forget about it for a few hours. It’s perfect for getting a jumpstart on dinner if you work during the day.
Sage can be a great addition to soups too. A common pairing is sage with a squash or root vegetable like butternut squash or sweet potato. Both are very delicious when cooked and blended with fresh sage.
I like this recipe for a comforting warm soup. It combines sage with butternut squash and root vegetables like carrot, onion, and sweet potato.
When making a soup with sage and squash you’ll have to roast your squash first. This is as simple as baking your squash in a baking dish after combining with oil, salt and pepper at 400° for 35 minutes. You can do this with the squash halved or peeled and cubed like the recipe above calls for.
Sage has many uses. It is a truly versatile herb. Whether you use it in soups or marinades, on vegetables or potatoes, or anything else, it is a good seasoning to try.
So if you find yourself with fresh sage be sure to check out recipes for any of the above examples of sage uses. It’s a good herb to work with that you can use to create really great dishes.
Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog! Whether you stay for a day, a week, a month, or a year I appreciate you. -Kate