Winter Savory- The Bean Herb

Winter Savory

This wonderful, easy to grow herb, is one of my favorites. When I talk to people about herbs, savory seems to be one of the lesser known ones. It is called the “bean” herb, because its flavor pairs so well with all sorts of dry beans. I love to add savory to both baked beans and bean soups.

There are actually two different plants that are both called savory. One is a perennial (winter savory) and one is an annual (summer savory). Winter savory is pretty cold tolerant and will often be green into January. It is great used fresh or dried in recipes. The older leaves can be tough, so either chop them before adding to your dish, or use whole sprigs to flavor your dish, then remove before serving.

When asked what it tastes like, I can only say savory tastes a little like thyme, if that helps.

I made a turkey and black bean soup last night, using winter savory, and thought I would share the recipe with you.


Turkey and Black Bean Soup

Turkey and Black Bean Soup

2 T. oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 qts. Turkey, chicken or vegetable stock

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

3 ribs celery, sliced

1 sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped

4 c. cooked black beans, rinsed and drained*

3 c. cubed cooked turkey

3-4 sprigs winter savory- or 1 T. dried**

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste


In soup pot, heat oil and sauté onion until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. If using fresh savory sprigs, remove them and the bay leaf before serving. Adjust seasonings. Serves 8.


* I cooked the dry black beans myself. If using canned black beans use 2 cans of beans to yield about 4 cups.


** If the leaves of the winter savory are tender, you can just strip them off the stems and throw them right into your soup. If leaves are tougher, leave on the stems so you can remove them later.


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