Perfect Plant Pairings

comments (18) June 4th, 2010

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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Tomatoes and basil are a perfect pairing in the garden.Click To Enlarge

Tomatoes and basil are a perfect pairing in the garden.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

Like Pairing Wine with Food

It was while I was getting ready to plant a packet of basil seeds with my ‘Sungold’ tomatoes that it hit me. I’ve been planting my garden for years by matching vegetables with herbs just like pairing wine with food.

I always add a few basil plants to my containers of tomatoes to improve their taste. But I also plant basil because I use it in so many of my tomato recipes from pasta primavera to tomato and basil soup to a simple plate of sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

This favorite pairing of mine works so well together, I started thinking about other vegetable and herb combinations I always plant in the garden.

Whenever I plant cucumbers for pickling, like ‘Miss Pickler’ or ‘Bush Pickler’, I make sure I plant dill and garlic for Kosher dills. Fennel is planted to make sweet gherkins.

Cauliflower couldn't be made into the pickled condiment Escabeche without the herbs oregano, marjoram and thyme.

I make sure there’s a pot of Italian parsley growing on the patio to use with easy-to-grow Italian paste tomatoes, like red pear or ‘Roma’. This combination, along with a little oregano, makes a flavorful garden-fresh tomato sauce for pasta or pizza.

Another popular combo is tomatillo planted with cilantro to use in a variety of Mexican food dishes including salsas and sauces. The cilantro can also double in use as coriander once the herb goes to seed.

Sage is planted to pair with celery for fresh summertime stove-top stuffings, tasty chilled soups or salads with mixed greens.

Oregano is the herb I seem to use most with zucchini, especially when mixed into this recipe for Stuffed Zucchini Grillers:

Stuffed Zucchini Grillers Recipe


4 small to medium fresh zucchini
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup fresh tomato, seeded and chopped
1 ½ teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese


1.  Cut off stem end of the zucchini and cut zucchini in half lengthwise.
2.  Scoop out seeds and pulp to make a ¼-inch shell; reserve pulp.
3.  Sauté onion with garlic, tomato and chopped zucchini pulp in a skillet until soft.
4.  Add oregano, Parmesan cheese, ¼ can of soup and salt and pepper.
5.  Place each zucchini shell on a piece of heavy-duty, non-stick aluminum foil.
6.  Scoop stuffing mixture into shells.
7.  Spoon remaining soup over the top of each stuffed zucchini.
8.  Fold foil into individual packets and tightly pinch the sides.
9. Place on medium grill for 20-30 minutes.

Remove packets from grill, open carefully, sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and return open packets to grill for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves 4-6

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posted in: herbs, Recipes, vegetable gardening

Comments (18)

marystoops writes: great job
Posted: 4:47 am on November 8th
nicholasporter2 writes: Impressive :-)
Posted: 2:12 am on November 7th
sethlewis45 writes: Wonderful
Posted: 4:13 am on November 3rd
deniserenatt writes: Great job
Posted: 12:15 am on November 3rd
lewisclayton7 writes: I like your effort
Posted: 5:32 am on November 2nd
jacobtrex writes: nice
Posted: 1:37 am on November 1st
billybaker54 writes: Brilliant
Posted: 12:59 am on October 24th
samcross writes: This is good process.
Posted: 5:42 am on October 8th
ShawnDavis writes: Nice plants.
Posted: 1:40 am on October 7th
tonyjanes writes: very nice.
Posted: 11:06 pm on August 26th
Elodyanson writes: Can I use different type of plants for this purpose?
Posted: 1:06 am on August 22nd
karlhardy55 writes: Nice job
Posted: 5:48 am on July 28th
haroldchipnosky writes: Great ADvice
Posted: 6:32 am on July 23rd
DianaBoyce writes: thanx for share
Posted: 5:54 am on June 13th
CharlottBrown writes: like your work
Posted: 6:07 am on May 22nd
CherylMays writes: gud one
Posted: 3:08 am on May 21st
Robzikshi writes: This is my favorite pairing of mine works so well together, I started thinking about other vegetable and herb combinations I always plant in the garden
Posted: 2:58 am on May 21st
Barbarajhon writes: awesome
Posted: 3:36 am on May 19th
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