Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland in order to be good for you. On the contrary, adding dry spices to your cooking boosts flavor and tickles your taste buds without loading meals with extra salt, sugar or fat. Try these easy ways to perk up your palate!
Spice Rub or Marinade
Take advantage of the lingering warm days, and fire up the grill for ribs, steaks, chicken or pork. For a dry rub, mix 2 tbsp. dry rosemary, 1 tbsp. dry oregano, 1 tbsp. dry basil, 1 tbsp. dry sage and a dash of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend evenly into the meat and let sit 30 to 60 minutes before grilling. For a marinade perfect for meat or veggies, blend ⅓ cup olive oil, 3 tbsp. lemon juice or red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. dry rosemary and two garlic cloves, finely chopped. Place the meat or vegetables in a shallow glass dish, spread with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before cooking.
Butter-Sage Pasta Sauce
Make your pasta taste just like Nonna’s by whipping up a simple sauce full of flavor. Cook a package of pasta until very al dente, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water before you drain it. In a saucepan over medium heat, place 2 tbsp. butter and a generous handful of dry sage. Cook until the butter is a nutty brown, then pour the cooked pasta into the sage-butter sauce and add ½ to ¾ cup of water to form a soupy mixture. Cook for another minute until some of the water has been absorbed. Mix in ½ cup to 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, making a creamy sauce, Add more water if necessary, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Dry spices turn a blah salad into a delicious side dish. Instead of using a store-bought salad dressing, make your own in a snap by whisking together 1 cup olive oil, ½ cup white wine vinegar, 2 tbsp. dry basil, 1 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard. Toss the dressing with your favorite salad.
What are your favorite ways to use dry spices?