Looking to add a little flavor without a lot of calories or sodium? Add some fresh herbs and spices. Herbs can boost the flavor to your favorite dishes without adding salt and many herbs contain disease-fighting antioxidants.Here are some tips:
Basil is one of the most popular culinary herbs. Sweet basil is used in salads, sandwiches and soups. Try a simple summer salad made with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and olive oil, or add basil to tomato soup for a light meal.
Mint is a very versatile herb and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is often used in fruit and vegetable salads. You can also try adding mint to ice cream, tea, peas, carrots or meats.
Rosemary is one of the most aromatic herbs you can find. It has a very distinct lemon-pine flavor and pairs well with many foods. Try rosemary with summer vegetables such as zucchini and squash, as an addition to tomato sauce or pizza, and in marinades for chicken and beef.
Cilantro is an herb that is typically used in Mexican, Latin America, Asian and Indian cuisines. It is best served fresh by adding to a dish just before serving. It makes a great addition to your favorite salsa. It also works very well with other dishes such as summer salads, fruit salads and sweet potatoes.
Herb Garden Salad :
Fresh herbs make this salad an ideal light meal or side.
6 cups sliced thin romaine
1 cup sliced thin radicchio
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2/3 cup fresh basil, sliced thin
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup diced english cucumber
2/3 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 (15 ounce) can artichoke heart quarters
1 small diced avocado
1/2 cup pearl sized mozzarella balls
salt and pepper, to taste
garlic vinaigrette salad dressing [recipe below]
Toss together the romaine lettuce, radicchio, basil, carrots, and cucumber. Place on a serving platter or salad bowl.
Top the salad with tomatoes, artichoke heart quarters, avocado, and mozzarella balls. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Serve with a white balsamic salad dressing, or if unavailable use your favorite homemade vinaigrette.
Green salads don't have to be boring.
My daughter like to add fresh chopped herbs to the lettuce to add extra flavor and dimension to the dish like in this recipe for Herbed Garden Salad. Adding lots of vegetables and colors makes the salad more appealing too.
Not only are colorful salads more interesting and flavorful, they are healthier as well. It has been recommended that we eat a "rainbow of fruits and vegetables" each day and this salad definitely helps meet those requirements: red tomatoes, orange carrots, green lettuce, herbs and avocado, and purple radicchio. If you want to squeeze yellow in there too, divide the tomatoes up and use some yellow pear tomatoes as well. Those are great!
Garlic Vinaigrette :
1 tablespoon chopped serrano chile
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons anchovy paste
Combine first 3 ingredients in a mortar; mash to a paste with a pestle. Combine garlic paste mixture, vinegar, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
TIP: Store vinaigrette in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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