What Does Sage Taste Like?

In this article, we're talking about sage. We're answering your questions about the taste and texture, how to cook with it, and what to do if you're out. We've also got some fabulous recipes to show you if you love this herb.

Let's dive in...

What Does Sage Taste Like? 

Sage is one of those herbs you'll hear a lot about as the holiday menus roll out. It's typically paired with rosemary, marjoram and thyme for tofurkey stuffings and roasted vegetables.

The flavor of sage is savory. It's faintly piney, though not like juniper. It's much softer and mixed with subtle citrus notes. It's also a little on the bitter side, though not harshly so. 

You could say that sage is easygoing. It can easily be the starring herb in a recipe or take a backseat to other spices and herbs with no complaint.

Sage Texture 

Fresh sage leaves are thicker than basil with a soft, downy feeling. They're tender and easily torn, but they're often fried to a crispy texture for pasta and gnocchi dishes.

Ground sage is very light and fine. It's also typically more bitter than fresh sage, and it's easy to go overboard when seasoning a dish. Best to start out with less and add a little bit at a time.

Can Sage Be Eaten Raw? 

It's usually suggested that you cook sage to let the flavors meld and develop, but yes, you can eat it raw. You may prefer to use either fresh sage leaves or powdered sage in a salad dressing, for example.

Whole sage leaves may be rather pungent, but you can slice them thinly and add the ribbons right to a salad, preferably with a blend of other fresh herbs.

What Does Sage Taste Good With? 

Aside from complementing the standard French, Italian and Mediterranean seasonings in a spice rack, sage goes wonderfully with garlic, lemon, onions and vegetables of all kinds. Sauteed carrots and creamy mashed potatoes are good places to start.

This is an excellent herb to have on hand for when you're making vegan gravies as well as creamy and brothy sauces. In fact, we're about to show you some stellar recipes in a few seconds.

Can I Substitute Rosemary for Sage? 

You can, but you're going to end up with a slightly different flavor. Sage and rosemary can be considered good friends as they go together so well, but rosemary is a lot stronger and pinier.

Thyme is a mellower substitute that should work nicely. Marjoram, too. Just remember that any substitution is going to be approximate and not exact (but probably just as good).

Sage Recipe Tips 

If you haven't tried sage yet, we have a feeling you're going to be using a lot of it. Especially when you see these video recipes.

A vegan sage brown butter sauce like this is what you need for cashew cheese or portobello mushroom ravioli.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Vegan butter
  • Fresh sage
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Veggie broth

Butternut squash soup is ideal for this herb. The sweetness of the squash perfectly matches the savoriness of the sage.

Here's what you need:

  • Butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Vegetable stock
  • Carrots
  • Cashews
  • Ground sage
  • Salt
  • Cayenne
  • Bay leaf

Wrap Up 

Sage is a piney herb with gentle citrus notes. It blends well with a wide variety of herbs and spices and makes tasty soups, sauces and heavier pasta and rice dishes. If you're looking for the perfect recipe to start with, make a vegan sage brown butter sauce. It's a quick and easy, and you'll end up with an Instagram-ready pasta dish of restaurant quality.

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