The volatile oils of oregano include thymol and carvacrol, both both of which may inhibit bacterial growth. Oregano also contains phytonutrients which have a greater antioxidant activity per gram fresh weight than apples, potatoes, oranges or blueberries.

In the Kitchen

Oregano makes an aromatic addition to Mediterranean and Mexican dishes. Add fresh oregano to pizza or pasta sauces.

In the Garden

Oregano is a companion to broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, and grapes. As a competitor it is invasive to other plants.


The name oregano means “mountain joy” and for the Greeks and Romans was a symbol of joy and happiness. It was traditional for Greek and Roman brides and grooms to be crowned with a laurel of oregano. Oregano was hardly known in the U.S. until the 20th century when soldiers returning from Italy brought word of this herb back to the United States.

Penne With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • 1/2cupsweet onion, sliced
  • 1garlic clove, minced
  • 1cupolive oil
  • 1cupsun-dried tomatoes
  • 1can evaporated skim milk
  • 1Tbspbutter
  • 1cupparmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2Tbspfresh basil
  • 2Tbspfresh oregano
  • 1lbpenne pasta, cooked
  1. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft and just starting to brown. Add tomatoes and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the evaporated milk and cook over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Turn the heat to low and stir in the butter, 1/2 of the parmesan cheese, basil and oregano. Stir as the cheese melts and the sauce begins to thicken.
  2. Pour over pasta and mix together.
  3. Serve with the remainder of parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
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This recipe series is sponsored by the Center for Nutrition and Healthy Food Systems at the UVM Medical Center, focused on building sustainable food in health care. 

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