10 Heart-Healthy Secret Ingredients

6 years ago

As the head recipe curator for wellfedheart.com, I rely on great flavors to take the place of food culprits, especially recipes that call for extra salt, sugar, and some fats.  These herbs and spices are my heart-healthy secret ingredients for recipe success.


Especially now, at the holidays, I like to make sure I’m not going to run out of our favorite herbs and spices, so I check the supply in our drawer. When replenishing, I shop at a bulk section that has large turnover, ensuring the freshest supply.

I simply love it when people ask, what’s that flavor? For this list, I restricted myself to herbs and spices.

Ten of my favorites

In no particular order. Each one links to an example of using the spice in a recipe.

Mint  – the secret ingredient in any salad, grain or green.

Smoked Paprika – the depth of flavor makes me think of my southern roots, especially in stews with fish or shellfish.

Garam Masala – a blend of the most aromatic spices of Northern India. Go the extra mile and make your own to effect the taste you want.

Curry – seems like a big mystery, but it’s the easiest spice to use to make your dish far from bland.

Nutmeg – not just for coffee drinks, a sprinkle gives a lift to anything with spinach.

Red Chili Flakes – sprinkling a little on green vegetables, such as broccoli, creates a whole new taste.

Cayenne – gives heat when salt won’t be used.

Cumin – complements many Mexican and Indian dishes with heat but not hot.

Ginger –provides a lively warm flavor without harshness.

Garlic – begin any recipe with minced garlic and you’re on your way to a successful dish.

Easy to remember

The ratio for fresh to dried herbs is 3 to 1. For example, when a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon dried herbs, you’ll use 3 teaspoons fresh.

Waste nothing

I keep a closed jar in my herb drawer that contains leftovers from filling the jars – such as basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.  That becomes the daily go-to salad mix for the all purpose house dressing.  A liberal pinch, and it’s good to go.

I’ve even been known to bottle and label the mixture; then wrap them for party favors.

What are your favorite secret weapons that provide interest and intrigue to your dishes? Go ahead, you can share and we won’t tell!

 

Susan Levy
Publisher, Well-Fed Heart

This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.
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