One reason some people don’t stick with a vegetarian lifestyle is they feel it gets monotonous, no one likes having the same kind of foods over and over, and we don’t blame you. The problem is often people don’t know quite how to add variety to their dishes instead they just make what they know.
Read on to learn our best tips for creating new and exciting dishes and for adding pizazz using herbs and spices to the old favorites your love.
Health Benefits Of Herbs
All herbs and spices are vegan as they originate from plants, including flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves, roots, and barks.
First, let’s talk a bit about some of the the qualitys of herbs and spices. Besides being low-calorie flavor powerhouses, fresh herbs provide distinct health benefits and some even have healing powers.
Many herbs and spices contain antibacterial and antiviral properties. Many are also high in trace minerals and B-vitamins. They contain antioxidants that help prevent disease and improve wellness; here are just a few examples.
Healthy Vegetarian Spices
Basil is a flavorful herb with many uses. Cooks commonly use basil in Italian dishes. It’s also a healthy ingredient to many other dishes and recipes. Basil has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and is believed to help prevent osteoarthritis. Use Fresh basil in salads, soups, stews, and sauces; sprinkle it over eggs, and steamed vegetables.
Dill Weed And Seed
Dill has a fresh and unique flavor, and potent antibacterial properties. It helps to settle upset stomach and queasiness. Fresh, uncooked dill is best for health and taste. A salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion slices, fresh dill, and an oil and vinegar drizzle are a delicious old Russian favorite.
Cayenne pepper can increase circulation and can be added to creams for joint pain, such as that related to arthritis conditions. Cayenne also revs metabolism, not a lot, but every little bit helps.
Cayenne adds a nutty, smoky flavor to food and of course heat (spiciness). Cayenne is good for adding a kick to boring vegetables. Put it in sauces, soups, tofu stir-fries, and stews.
Mint is a pungent herb that helps ease nausea and alleviate digestive problems. It is often used in dessert recipes, but also tastes great when used fresh in sauces, salads, and tea.
Turmeric is a common addition to Indian dishes. Sadly, turmeric is often overlooked in American kitchens. It contains a compound called Curcumin, which is a cancer-fighting agent.
In the U.S., it is widely used as a medicine for those with inflammation and joint problems. Turmeric can be added to vegan curry, soups, stews, sprinkled over vegetables, in sauces and muffins.
Fresh garlic is flavorful, diverse, supports heart health, and has anti-cancer properties.
to get the most health benefits from garlic, let it sit for 5-10 minutes after cutting and before cooking or eating. The alliin and the enzyme alliinase are separated in the garlic cell struture when whole. Cutting or pressing the garlic ruptures the cells and releases the alliin and alliinase allowing them to mingle and form a powerful new compound called allicin which is a phytonutrient adding to garlic’s health promoting benefits.
Garlic is also excellent in sauces, over salads, grated over steamed vegetables, and used in thousands of recipes to provide great flavor.
Herbs And Vegetarian Diets
Fresh herbs are a great addition to many dishes, both raw and cooked. Herbs and spices can add an entirely new dimension to an old dish. For instance, you can make a dish Italian, or add an Asian flair with the right combination of spices, let’s look at some of the regionally based spices that will give your flat dish a tasty makeover.
If you’re looking for something reminiscent of your favorite Italian dish, get an Italian flavored seasoning. Put in some Oregano; it is loaded with antioxidants that have cancer-fighting agents. It is also a natural antiviral and antibiotic.
The oil and leaves of Oregano are used medicinally to treat body aches, fever, and cold symptoms. You can also make a spice blend with some staples of Italian cooking that include basil, marjoram, garlic, oregano, rosemary and thyme to create a potent anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and cancer-fighting blend. This blend and Oregano by itself can be used in sauces, stews, over vegetables, in pasta dishes, and in salads.
Asian flavors can change the dynamic of your vegetarian dish. Soy sauce is fundamental in Asian cooking and used in all sorts of dishes. Rice Vinegar is another staple that can really change how you feel about boring salad vinaigrette; rice vinegar has a mild, sweet tang and is a fundamental ingredient in many dipping sauces you find in Chinese foods.
Asian style cuisines often use things like coconut milk to add flavor and smooth, creamy texture to soups.
Fresh ginger’s flavor is strong and sweet. You can put ginger in soups, salads, and marinades. It can be a fantastic addition to a vegetarian dish or even eaten on its own when marinated. Ginger is perfect for cleaning the palate.
Vegetarian Spice Combinations
Never underestimate the power of a properly coupled dish. Some things just go together. Here are some of those great combinations.
• Asparagus: Lemon, Garlic, and Tarragon
• Cauliflower: Chives, Coriander, Sage and even Turmeric
• Mushrooms: Garlic, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Sage, Thyme
• Zucchini: Basil and Oregano
• Sweet Potatoes: Allspice Cloves, and Nutmeg
• Potatoes: Rosemary, thyme parsley
These are just a few examples of great pairs you can create with just vegetables alone. Even adding these spices to a standard steamed veggie dish can give it a lot more depth and add flavor to the vegetables themselves.
Another thing to keep in mind is proper seasoning. Use salt and pepper to bring out the flavors in a dish. Make sure to add the right amount of salt (not too much) and pepper to your recipe to bring out all the bright and brilliant flavors vegetables have to offer.
A Word About Dried Herbs
Dried herbs have more flavor than fresh so be careful not to overdo it. Indeed, an overpowered dish is worse than a bland one. Add dried herbs slowly and make sure to taste, taste, and taste again.
Cooks use spices like nutmeg and bark in their dried and ground forms. Ground spices have a strong taste and should be utilized with care. Always follow the recipes directions then taste and adjust spice amounts for the best flavor.
Discover more foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease in an excellent book I refer to every day, How Not To Die by Dr. Greger. Get the book today and I promise you won’t be sorry.
Have a great week see you soon.