Whole Thyme Leaf, of the more than 100 varieties of thyme, garden thyme is the most widely recognized for culinary use. It is perfectly acceptable to substitute dried for whole thyme. Popular in cooking throughout the Mediterranean, thyme is available in leaf form, or ground for use in sauces. Thyme is used to flavor soups, stocks and stews, and is an essential ingredient in bouquet garni. Thyme is also good with vegetables, and adds excellent flavor to meat dishes cooked in wine and garlic.