The Beginner’s Guide to Cooking With Herbs and Spices
Today in weird holidays, it’s More Herbs, Less Salt Day. While this may seem a little weird to celebrate, there is no denying that (too much) salt is in just about everything we cook — so it’s no surprise that the average American consumes significantly more sodium than recommended. Fortunately, there are lots of ways we can reduce the amount of salt in our favorite recipes without sacrificing flavor…and it all begins with herbs and spices. In honor of today’s holiday, check out this beginner’s guide to herbs and spices below. While there are lots of herbs and spices you can experiment with, these staples are a good place to start.
Basil — Next time you’re feeling like cooking an Italian-inspired meal, make sure you have basil on hand. Basil is a great way to add flavor to low-sodium pasta sauce or season veggies, chicken, fish, and other lean meats.
Chili Powder — Love spicy food? Try incorporating chili powder to add flavor instead of excess salt. We recommend tossing roasted veggies with the spice, adding to your favorite meat, or even adding a dash to whipped mashed potatoes.
Cilantro — Fresh cilantro has a citrusy undertone while also packing a powerful punch. Add it to lime-roasted chicken to spruce up a seemingly bland meal, dice and mix with Greek yogurt for a healthy dipping sauce, or pile atop homemade burrito bowls.
Coriander — Coriander comes from the same plant as cilantro, so it pairs well with similar foods. Besides packing a flavorful punch, coriander seeds also boast health benefits and can control blood sugar, cholesterol and free radical production.
Cumin — Cumin is a versatile herb used in a myriad of dishes. Combine it with garlic and chili powder to season fajitas or tacos and you have a flavorful meal without the excess sodium.
Dill — Dill is an aromatic herb that pairs best with salmon, stews and in pickling. A good source of iron and calcium, dill can also be paired with healthy foods like plain yogurt for added health benefits.
Parsley — If you aren’t already using parsley in a variety of dishes, you should be. This herb is extremely versatile and works well in pasta, sprinkled atop fish and chicken, or added to potatoes.
Rosemary — Rosemary is a unique flavor that pairs wonderfully with dinner, dessert and even drinks! Try adding a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary to spruce up chicken and potatoes, or try this rosemary gimlet cocktail.
Sage — Sage has a slight peppery flavor that pairs with both fruits and veggies alike. If you’re a novice chef, sage is a great herb to experiment with because it retains its flavor even at high temperatures.
Thyme — Thyme is a wonderful go-to herb to sprinkle atop proteins with a mild taste (think chicken, fish and the like) — but it also pairs wonderfully with beans, eggs and recipes with lemon.
Turmeric — Turmeric is a colorful spice use most commonly in curries, but it can also be added to veggies, rice and much more. Better yet, this herb is a good source of manganese, iron, B6, and can provide arthritis relief.
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