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!
Publisher, Well-Fed Heart
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