Posted on 24 August 2008 by

Herbs In The Garden: Oregano (and Recipes)

By Cindy Naas

The stone walkway in my herb garden is edged with oregano.

When the sun heats the stone or when those walking on the path brush against the oregano, the spicy scent fills the air.

It is an easy to grow herb and I use a lot of it.

How to Grow: Like many Mediterranean herbs, oregano needs a lot of direct sun. It also needs well-drained soil and doesn’t need a lot of fertilizing. My herbs grow in a soil which has been amended with sand and fine gritty gravel, and even during this rainy summer they are doing fairly well.

Harvesting Oregano:
Use your scissors to snip off a stem or two of oregano. Strip the leaves from the stems inside, and add to a variety of recipes. You can also cut off entire stems and hang upside down to dry.

Oregano is used in many Greek and Italian foods. It is wonderful fresh, so if you’ve only experienced oregano dried, growing your own and eating it fresh is sure to be a real treat. Here are a few recipes:

Greek Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, or pitted stuffed green olives
  • 3 tablespoons pickled banana peppers
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper

Combine garlic, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper and fresh oregano in a small bowl and let sit while you make the salad.

Cook pasta till just tender, and rinse under cold water. Mix drained pasta and vegetables in a large bowl. Add cheese and pour dressing over all. Serve chilled. This gets better if allowed to sit for a couple of hours.

Raw Tomato Pasta Sauce

  • 2 pounds perfect ripe fresh tomatoes (note: canned tomatoes absolutely will not work in this recipe) cut into cubes, including all juice
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Gently combine all ingredients in a large non-metallic bowl. Cover and allow to sit at room temp. for at least 4 hours, or in the fridge for up to 8 hours.

Serve over fresh hot fettuccine and pass freshly grated Parmesan if desired. This really doesn’t need the cheese, though. It is a very flavourful sauce.

One Response to “Herbs In The Garden: Oregano (and Recipes)”

  1. Lucy Corrander Says:

    Oh, I meant to say re. your previous post that I do, indeed, know arugula by the name ‘rocket’ – and love it.

    Hadn’t previously thought of growing it as an autumn plant but will now do so pronto (providing I can get seed for it at this time of year). Ditto spinach. (No getting seed problem with spinach.)

    Lucy Corrander

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