Food & Nutrition
  • Sweet Basil

    Sweet Basil

    With aromatic hints of clove and mint, fresh basil brightens nearly any salad, especially one with tomatoes or watermelon. Sprinkle snipped basil over soup, pasta sauce, or baked chicken. For a real treat, tuck a few leaves into a sandwich. Dried basil is much less flavorful, so I try to keep fresh on hand.

  • Cilantro

    Cilantro

    Also called coriander, cilantro is common in Mexican and Asian foods. Though it has a mild citrusy scent, its taste is so pungent that often people either love it or hate it. Because its leaves are tender, it’s best paired with cold foods like salads and salsas, or added to hot dishes after cooking.

  • Dill

    Dill

    Dill is for more than pickles! These delicate, feathery leaves add a fresh anise and parsley flavor to yogurt or creamy sauces, salmon, and other fish, eggs, cucumbers, salads, and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. To keep its flavor, add dill to hot food after cooking.

  • Oregano

    Oregano

    Where would Greek and Italian cuisines be without this bold-flavored herb? Enjoy oregano fresh or dried in Greek salads, roasted vegetables, vinaigrette, tomato sauce, pizza, pasta, baked fish or chicken, and lamb, bell peppers, and eggplant.

  • Rosemary

    Rosemary

    These needlelike leaves have a strong pine flavor and are so aromatic and flavorful they can be added early in the cooking process. But use a light hand – the flavor can be extremely powerful and easy to overdo. Grilled beef, lamb, chicken, and vegetables pair well with rosemary, and so do onions, potatoes, and peas.

  • Tarragon

    Tarragon

    These long, thin leaves have a sweet licorice flavor, and are a common ingredient in French cooking. Fresh tarragon is much more flavorful than dried. You’ll enjoy it with fish, poultry, potatoes, and summer vegetables. Try flavoring chicken with fresh tarragon mixed with lemon or mustard.

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Cooking with Herbs

6 tasty herbs that add flavor to food

Herbs – whether fresh or dried – are a wonderful way to take everyday cooking up a notch, especially if you’re trying to use less salt and added fats. Those fragrant leaves can intensify the flavor of so many dishes, and they’re nearly sodium– and calorie-free too! Oregano, for example, has just three calories per teaspoon, while basil has none, but both offer lots of flavor!

Store dried herbs in a cabinet or drawer to protect them from heat, moisture, and sunlight, all of which hasten spoilage. Before adding, rub dried herbs between your fingers to release their aromatic oils. Keep fresh herbs in the fridge; place stems in water and cover the leaves with a plastic bag. Change the water every other day or so.

Robust dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves hold up to about twenty minutes of heat, so you can add them early. Most other dried herbs have a more delicate flavor that can fade and so require shorter cooking times. Milder, delicate herbs like basil and cilantro taste best if you add after cooking. Dried herbs usually have a more concentrated flavor, so substitute one part dried herbs for three parts fresh. Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE*, is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss Week by Week. Weisenberger is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.

© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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