Hispanic Herbs

Hispanic Herbs
avocado leaves
avocado leaves
Mexican cooks use these to impart an anise-like aroma to foods. They're often used as wrappers, or crumbled into stews. Toast the leaves before using.
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boldo leaves
boldo leaves
These small leaves have a strong woodsy aroma. They're hard to find, but Hispanic markets sometimes carry dried leaves in cellophane bags.
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culantro
culantro
This herb is popular throughout the Caribbean. It's similar to cilantro, but more bitter.
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epazote
epazote
This strongly-flavored herb is commonly used in Mexican bean dishes, partly because it's supposed to reduce flatulence. Fresh epazote has dark green leaves with serrated edges. If you can't find it, the dried version is an acceptable substitute.
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guajes
guajes
These green or purple flat pods contain seeds that impart an unusual, garlicky flavor to Mexican dishes. The seeds are terrific with scrambled eggs or beans, but they have a reputation for causing flatulence.
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hoja santa leaves
hoja santa leaves
These heart-shaped leaves impart a root beer flavor to dishes, and they're great for wrapping tamales and other foods. They're hard to find; your best bet is a Hispanic market.
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huauzontle
huauzontle
This Mexican vegetable looks like a long, skinny broccoli stick. Mexican cooks dip them in batter and deep-fat fry them.
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papalo
papalo
This Mexican herb is similar to cilantro. It's often added raw to tacos, sandwiches, salads, and guacamole. It doesn't handle heat well, so add it to cooked dishes at the last minute.
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pipicha
pipicha
This Mexican herb tastes a bit like cilantro and mint.
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romeritos
romeritos
This Mexican herb has succulent leaves and is used as a seasoning or cooking green, especially during Lent.
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safflower
safflower
Marketers often call safflower "saffron," but it bears little resemblance to the real thing, except that it imparts a weak, saffron-like color to food. It has very little flavor.
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yerba buena
yerba buena
The Spanish name "yerba buena" ("good herb") is used to describe several varieties of mint, including Satureja douglasii, Satureja chamissonis, and Mentha spicata (spearmint).
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