Many tantalizing, easy-to-prepare meals can be made even more delectable by the addition of a few simple herbs from your garden. More important, these dishes can be made spectacularly healthy with the addition of a few natural herbs.
Healthy? How could something so insignificant in size help with health?
You’d be surprised at what a power-punch humble herbs can pack.
For instance, rosemary is great on salmon dishes–and adds a tantalizing zing to sweet potato and rice dishes– but—take note!– this medicinal herb has antiseptic properties. Recent studies have shown that it also protects cells and acts as an antioxidant, which helps your body to beat disease. Finally, rosemary helps you stay awake and alert. (Students place rosemary sprigs in their rooms to help with homework.)
Similar health claims can be made about basil, sage, thyme, marjoram, parsley and (a real infection fighter) oregano!
In fact, there aren’t many herbs which DON’T have some beneficial and naturally healthy aspects.
And talk about delicious! Herbs are tantalizing, scents-ational ingredients which “open up” dishes and add a unique, piquant flavor.
Finally, herbs are INSTANT meal transformers. It only takes a sprinkle or, if you’re using a fresh leaf, a bit of shredding and Viola! You have a dish worth writing home about.
Here are a few mouth-watering ideas for what to do with that packet of fresh herbs you bought from the supermarket, or that darling plant of greenery that you planted last spring which has just sprouted tender leaves! As an added bonus, you’re foregoing any excess sodium, saturated fats and chemical additives. Who needs MSG to be creative in the kitchen?
Here are a few suggestions for livening up your meals with fresh herbs:
- Make brown rice, couscous or even quinoa go farther by adding chopped pecans, raisins (or currants), apple cider vinegar, crushed pineapple, a drizzle of raw honey and chopped, fresh rosemary sprigs. If you’re short of ingredients or pressed for time, you can make the dish minus one or two ingredients. Just don’t pass up the rosemary!
- A fresh yam or sweet potato, with a pat of vitamin-fortified butter or olive oil and thyme sprinkled on top, will set your taste buds to singing. Eat half today and leave half for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Basil is excellent with a garlic-infused rice dish—as is parsley and rosemary. Try some finely diced onion for an aromatic flavor enhancer.
- Open up a can of wild Alaskan salmon, slide half of the contents onto your plate, add lemon, fennel seeds and plenty of fresh rosemary. Tasty and nutritious.
- Ever make a 10-minute omelet using fresh herbs? Whisk the eggs together lightly. You can use only the egg whites, but yolks are high in vitamins and minerals. Fold in a splash of whatever milk you have in the fridge–buttermilk, goat’s milk, almond milk, cashew milk—even a small amount of plain yogurt will do; add sea salt, diced mushrooms, diced olives and plenty of fresh parsley.
- Reheating your favorite vegetarian pizza or tofu lasagna? Making some bean curd pasta (quickie cooking time) with tomato sauce? Don’t forget the basil! For a fragrant flavor, basil can be added to any oil.
- Cut up some apples, yams, and squash. Add fresh sage. This classic and aromatic herb adds spark to fish and tofuburger dishes. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Like potatoes? Try some malanga blanca (in your grocer’s produce section). Same texture but creamier taste and cooks in a jiffy. Malanga blanca can be mashed, like potatoes. Add your favorite herb—mint, perhaps?– black pepper, milk and a bit of sea salt.
- Speaking of mint, have you tried chocolate with mint? Got a blender? Mix chocolate powder sans added sugar (Tollhouse is one brand that puts out sugar-free chocolate powder); overly ripe avocados, ripe bananas, and fresh peppermint. Add a bit of Stevia sweetener and milk. Blend on high and place in small cups or ramekins. Garnish with mint leaves. Smoothly delicious and good for you, too!