Three Healthy, Easy Ways to Create Flavor in Your Recipes
This time of year is when I start to get spring fever. Not so much as it relates to warmer weather – I live in Texas, and it’s not like we have long, cold winters. I’m talking about the availability of local, fresh produce. I’m thankful I can maintain a winter garden, so I have access to the few things that can survive a few nights below freezing temperatures. But let’s be honest – we all know that even my little homegrown kale plus the grocery store variety can never be as good as a farmer’s market in June.
So, what do I do to keep that spring fever under control in the meantime? I boost the flavors in my favorite dishes. There are a lot of things you can do to completely change the flavor of a dish – and most require very little effort, and can still be healthy.
Here are three ways to change up your flavors and keep meals fresh and fun while you wait for the first produce of spring!
- Use Spices. A good spice cabinet is key. My spices adorn not only a wall in my kitchen, but also fill two small cabinets above my stove, and there is even overflow in my pantry. I love having all kinds of spices, from the basics (garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning) to the more exotic (garam masala, curry powder, coriander, fenugreek) and everything in between. Try using a new spice on an otherwise traditional dish (such as this Curried Kabocha Squash, or even try adding ginger with chocolate desserts, such as these Chewy Ginger Chocolate Cookies) and you might find a new favorite way to enjoy it!
- Condiments Are Your Friend. A few key condiments and pickles can go a long way towards “perking up” a dish. Keep Dijon mustard on hand for an easy marinade or sauce (like in these Dijon Honey Pork Chops). Stock up on an array of fun pickles, olives, and sauerkraut for easy accompaniments, or even in stuffings such as this Pistachio-Olive Stuffing. Another wonderful condiment worth your time to make is Garlic Confit. It takes a bit of time, but it’s mostly hands-off, and the reward is a lovely, roasted, full-bodied garlic flavor that you can add to many dishes. Also, wine, while not exactly a condiment, can be a lovely contribution to a sauce, such as in this Drunken Garlic Chicken.
- Learn Flavor Combinations. Ever wonder what goes well with chicken? Black beans? Rosemary? Apples? While I’m sure everyone can name one or two things, often, we fall into the same routines when combining flavors, for fear of trying something new that will fall flat. This is where the pros can help us out. I personally adore this book – The Flavor Bible. It’s organized in alphabetical order by ingredient, and lists other ingredients that pair well with that ingredient, highlighting the best combinations. It’s a wonderful way to brainstorm new recipe ideas.
What are some of your favorite ways to boost flavors in your cooking? Alta is the founder of the gluten-free, dairy-free blog, Tasty Eats At Home. Even without gluten and dairy, Alta can show you that meals can be simple and healthy, and treats such as cake, bread, and cookies can be mouth-watering! Her goal is to share with you delicious, gluten-free, dairy-free food that can bring your heart joy and nourish your body, one recipe at a time.
Read all of Alta’s posts here.