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Sage Toast Recipe: or, Cooking with Herbs for Absolute Beginners

This post is a revision of one I shared ages ago on a blog I have since taken down. If you read this post in those ancient times, rest assured I was the author then as well as now.

Once upon a time I sold fresh herbs at the farmers market. One thing I heard a LOT during those days was “I don’t know how to cook with fresh herbs.”

And though I was surprised the first time I heard this, it’s not hard to understand. Most recipes call for dried herbs, if they call for any herbs at all, and the thought of learning to incorporate a whole new set of variables into your cooking can be daunting, especially if you don’t have a lot of time for cooking in the first place.

So I’m going to share with you a way to cook with herbs that takes less than fifteen minutes and very little culinary skill: sage toast. (Spoiler alert: this isn’t really a recipe so much as it is toast with delusions of grandeur, but people get excited about recipes, and we must feed the search engine goblins somehow.)

Sage leaves on a bamboo cutting board with the words Sage Toast: or, Cooking with Herbs for Absolute Beginners

I chose sage because right now all the sage plants in my garden are enormous and gloriously fragrant. But you can substitute other fresh herbs if you don’t have sage, and I’ve put a few notes about how to do that at the end of this “recipe”.

Two sage leaves on a bamboo cutting board.


  • Two pieces of bread (Any bread you normally toast. I’m diabetic so I make these keto rolls and cut them in half for toast.)

  • Butter (or whatever you use on your toast instead of butter)

  • One large leaf or two small leaves of garden sage (Salvia officinalis): you can use any culinary/edible variety of garden sage including tricolor, purple, golden, or ‘Berggarten’.


  • Butter your bread. Use the amount of butter (or butter alternative) you’d normally use for toast.

  • Take your sage leaf or leaves, and use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut it into thin strips.

Strips of sage leaf and a stainless steel knife on a bamboo cutting board

  • Hold the thin strips together in one hand and snip or chop the strips of sage into teeny tiny rectangles. Use a knife or fork to spread the sage bits around so they’re evenly distributed.

Finely chopped sage leaves and a stainless steel knife on a bamboo cutting board

  • Place buttered bread in the toaster oven on a tray or a piece of parchment paper and toast to desired doneness. Or place on a cookie sheet under the broiler in your oven until it reaches desired toastiness. If you use the oven watch the toast very very closely.

Half a roll with sage and butter on a blue plate.

As I mentioned, you can substitute any culinary herb for the sage. Obviously if the leaves of your herb are tiny, you won’t cut them the same way. Just chop them very small, and avoid adding any woody, hard bits that might be unpleasant to bite into. Fresh herbs can have an intense flavor, so always use a small amount the first time, and increase the quantity as you discover which flavors you like. Once you learn which herbs you enjoy, you can mix more than one kind on your toast and feel extra fancy.

There. Now you know how to cook with fresh herbs. Wasn’t that easy?

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Image by Annie Spratt

Michelle Simkins

polytheist . writer . maker . witch

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