by Blake Herzog
Anyone looking to cut down on their salt without losing flavor in their diet should get more familiar with herbs and spices.
Both bring bold and delicate flavors to any meat- or plant-based dish and contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients that counteract processes that can damage your heart, raise your blood pressure and cause more negative health consequences.
Some of these may be more familiar to you than others, but all of them can make your meals even more delicious than that salt you think you’re missing!
Herbs are easier to find fresh and grow on your own than most spices, but all of them can liven up your diet while making it healthful, sometimes in unexpected ways:
Basil — Besides pizza, pesto and salads, it’s great on cauliflower, tomatoes, lamb, veal, poultry and eggs, to name a few options.
Cilantro — A staple in both Mexican and Vietnamese cuisine, the pungent flavor shines when paired with milder meats like chicken.
Cinnamon — It’s practically synonymous with the sugar it’s used with in sweet baked treats, but also used in savory chicken and lamb Middle Eastern dishes and to flavor Asian curries.
Dill — A fresh-tasting add-on for seafood, salads, sauces, vegetables and vinegar. It also brightens up eggs and potatoes. It’s particularly useful for soups, especially those served cold.
Garlic — It would be shorter to list the ways garlic is NOT used but it’s especially crucial to Chinese, Italian and Mexican cuisine. Use it in dressings, marinades and sauces and with meat, poultry, vegetables, soups and stews.
Ginger — Used in a huge range of Asian dishes, it is excellent at tenderizing and flavoring meat, accenting shellfish, zesting up stir-fries and, of course, stars in classic holiday gingerbread recipes.
Parsley — A terrific source of vitamin C, parsley is mixed into soups and sauces, accents the traditional Mediterranean dish tabbouleh (along with mint), and can be a garnish for salads, grilled veggies and fish.
Turmeric — It’s ubiquitous in Asian curries and in Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and other South Asian dishes. It can dazzle even in some sweet dishes, as well as on soups and eggs.