Common Spices: How to Use Them Deliciously

Updated:Apr 21,2014
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Common Spices: How to Use Them Deliciously




Your spice drawer is a treasure chest of zippy, zesty, sweet, savory and spicy flavors; and one of the best qualities of herbs and spices is they are salt-free. Here’s a how-to guide on the flavor profiles of common spices and how to season with them.
 

Herb/SpiceDelicious PairingsExtra Tip
Basil – Somewhat sweet, earthy
  • Any Italian food like meatless lasagna or pasta with red sauce
  • Thai food like a stir fry with lots of veggies and sprinkled with peanuts
  • Fruit like berries, peaches or apricots
Add dried to dish at least 15 minutes before they are done cooking for full flavor.  Add fresh right before serving to avoid flavor loss.
Curry Powder – A blend of spices usually including turmeric
  • Indian food like lentil potato stew
  • Scrambled egg whites
  • Whole grains like brown rice or quinoa with cilantro
  • Tuna with celery and fat-free, no added sugar yogurt for a delicious sandwich
Some curry powder can be hot and spicy. If you prefer a milder one (or a hotter one) look up the recipe online and make your own mix from spices in your spice drawer.
Cumin – Toasty and earthy with a little spice
  • Mexican food like black bean salsa or fat-free refried beans
  • Fish such as tilapia, especially in fish tacos
  • Root vegetables
Cumin is also part of the Indian spice mix garam masala.  Delicious when paired with coriander in Mexican or Indian food.
Rosemary – Woodsy
  • Roasted meats like chicken, pork, lamb, salmon
  • Mushrooms, raw or cooked
  • Whole grain breads
  • Butternut squash or pumpkin
Long sticks of fresh rosemary can be used to brush marinades on meat or as a skewer stick for grilled kabobs.
Smoked Paprika – Smokey with a fair amount of heat
  • Egg dishes
  • Spice rubs for meats or even tofu
  • In a fruit salsas like mango
  • Tomato sauce
Use it to add the smokiness of bacon to any dish without the extra fat or salt.
Thyme – Earthy
  • Any bean dish
  • Blends well with bay leaves, parsley, and lemon zest
  • Roasted vegetables
Lightly crush dried leaves between your fingers when adding to a dish to release the flavor.
Cinnamon – Sweet and spicy
  • Greek meat dishes like lamb or beef stew with oregano and onions 
  • Whole grain muffins, waffles, pancakes or breads
  • Fruit crisps with oatmeal topping
The natural sweetness means you can cut the amount of sugar in a recipe.



Article copyright © 2014 American Heart Association. This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart © Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.