Québec-style herbes salées

Québec-style herbes salées

It’s herbes salées season!


Herbes what season?!  Herbes salées season!  The literal translation for herbes salées is salted herbs. I’ve got to tell you though that it sounds much better said in French – wink!


Herbes salées is a traditional Québécois “seasoning salt” or salted herb preserve, made with a mixture of herbs and the leaves of various kinds of onion plants (chopped).  The mixture is then put in a glass container with alternating layers of coarse salt.  The herbs marinating in the salt create an infusion of sorts bursting with flavour and taste.


I was born and raised in Québec and my mother always had a large jar of herbes salées in the fridge.  Her mother did the same and the family and cultural tradition continues. Each family has their own “recipe” or way of making herbes salées.  Though French Canadians have been preserving herbs this way for hundreds of years, the Acadians brought it to Québec in the 1700’s.


What do you do with herbes salées?

Use it to flavour soups, bouillons, stocks, broths, stews, egg dishes, sauces, vinaigrettes, even as a meat rub and to just about anything that can use a mild, yet complex onion flavour (I say mild because it typically doesn’t use actual onions).


herbes salees ingredients + prepared dishes

It’s herbes salées season because fresh herbs are in season.  My own garden is overflowing with herbs and leaves of all sorts. It’s the perfect time to make herbes salées because of this magnificent abundance.  The bonus is it keeps for a very long time.


Each family has their own traditional way of making herbes salées.  In fact, each region in Québec would likely also have their own ways of making it, based on what grew and currently grows in their area and what the tradition was.


I have permission to share this recipe with you (though the full recipe is available below).


Ingredient 1 – Lots of fresh herbs

Ingredient 2 – Lots of salt

Step 1 – Chop the herbs

Step 2 – Put salt in the bottom of the jar and alternate with herbs until you reach the top, ending with salt


Fresh chopped herbs

You really can’t go wrong!  It’s that simple!


herbes salées


Québec-style herbes salées

September 30, 2020
: 20 min
: 25 min
: Easy

A versatile Québec-style herbes salées (salted herbs) recipe. A blend of herbs preserved is salt.


  • 1 cup fresh chives
  • 1 cup fresh leeks
  • 1 cup fresh garlic scrapes or fresh shallots (green part)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (or herb of choice - this will largely flavour the blend)
  • 1 cup vegetable tops (celery leaves, carrot leaves, fennel leaves)
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 3/4 cup of coarse sea salt, coarse Kosher salt, or Pink Himalayan salt
  • Step 1 Finely chop all vegetables.
  • Step 2 In a large bowl, combine all fresh ingredients (everything except for the salt).
  • Step 3 Cover bottom of a wide-mouth 1 litre canning jar with salt (1/2 inch or so worth of salt).
  • Step 4 Layer 1 inch of herb mixture over salt.
  • Step 5 Continue to alternate salt and herb layers until you reach the top, ending with salt.
  • Step 6 Cover and refrigerate for 2 weeks.
  • Step 7 Herbes salées will keep for several weeks,

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