Since making adjustments towards eating healthier, I have reduced a lot of salt in my cooking and have turned to other ingredients to add flavour to my food. Those pre-packaged seasonings for meat dishes are often very high in sodium, so I always try my best to use fresh culinary herbs and root vegetables.
What I use to reduce salt:
Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme…
Dill-This herb has a light almost minty taste. Fresh dill pairs nicely with salmon and various fish. I also steam it and add it to rice dishes and garnish for my salads.
Health benefits- Some studies suggest that dill helps to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Thyme- I always make time for thyme and it is now a staple on my grocery list. I use it in many dishes, including, adding it in ground meat for sauce or meatballs, to stews and soups, to season chicken, as well as my vegetable rice pilaf. I remove the tiny green leaves from the stem and into the pot they go.
Health benefits- Thyme can help prevent colds and flu and is an anti-oxidant.
As Rosemary is to the spirit, so lavender is to the soul…
Cilantro- With its unique taste, I use cilantro in dishes that require no cooking. It adds a rich green colour and delicious taste in salsa and goes especially nicely with a mango salsa. Cilantro also pairs brilliantly as a garnish to your fish tacos and on your fresh salads.
Health benefits- Not just a pretty garnish, cilantro is an immune boosting, anti-oxidant that can aid the body in removing toxins.
Rosemary-Thanks to Rosie, I can add a certain something to my marinade rubs. I add olive oil, rosemary, fresh garlic, pepper, a little sea salt and rub over my roast. I let sit in fridge overnight before cooking. I also use rosemary to season poultry or add to grilled vegetables.
Health benefits- reduces inflammation and can lower the risk of heart and liver disease.
Honourable mentions: Fresh garlic, red onions and ginger cannot go unnoticed. All of these vegetables are a must to enhance the flavour profile in stir-fries, soups and stews. Sprinkle your diced garlic over grilled vegetables to enhance flavour.
Herbs for the Wine…
You cannot go wrong with red wine paired with red meat. I drizzle red wine over roasts, steaks and beef medallions before cooking to marinate. A cap full of vino tinto is a fantastic addition in meat sauce and beef stew.
What are your cooking essentials?
Resource: Health benefits found in the book Healing Foods- Eating Your Way to Better Health.