Herbs for Health: The 10 Best Herbs for Healthy Cooking
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One of the best ways to add flavor to a recipe without adding calories is through herbs. Light and fresh, natural herbs impart a beautiful healthy flavor in any dish. For a healthy way to add flavor to your cooking any day, check out this herb list to discover what types of herbs you should use.
- Basil - A highly fragrant and slightly herb, basil adds a touch of freshness partuclarly suited to heavier Mediterranean and Thai fare. To get the most basil flavor in your dish, choose fresh leaves and add at the end of the cooking process.
- Rosemary - Rosemary imparts a strong, slightly woodsy flavor to food and is highly aromatic. Since rosemary has a such a strong flavor, use sparingly in savory baked goods or with chicken or lamb.
- Chives - Chives have a light onion-y flavor, which makes sense considering that chives are in the onion family. Use chives anywhere you want a mild onion flavor, such as with salads or fish.
- Cilantro - Perhaps the most polarizing herb, you either love it or hate it. The leaf of the coriander plant, cilantro has a mild, almost fruity taste and is particularly well-suited for spicy dishes. Like basil, incorporate fresh cilantro into the recipe at the very end of the cooking process
- Oregano - While oregano is most strongly associated with Greek food, think of oregano as basil's more strongly-flavored cousin. Its strong flavor is particularly well-suited to heavier dishes like thick tomato sauces and olive recipes. Like rosemary, be careful about using too much as your taste buds may soon regret it.
- Thyme - Another strongly-flavored herb, thyme is incredibly versatile because its flavor pairs well with a variety of meats, from beef to lamb.
- Parsley - One of the lightest and very mild herb, parsley is primarily used as a garnish. For the most flavor from parsley, professional chefs swear by Italian or flat-leaf parsley. Don't even bother with dried parsley - what little flavor is in parsley disappears in the drying process.
- Mint - If you don't know what mint generally tastes like, chew on gum. Mint is one of the best herbs for adding a bright refreshing taste to a dish. One of the best herbs to match well with sweet desserts, mint is also a great herb to contrast the heavy flavors of meats like lamb and beef.
- Bay leaves - Aromatic and slightly bitter, a bay leaf needs to be dried to impart flavor to a dish. Bay leaves are perfect for slow cooking dishes like soups and stews. Add earlier in the cooking process, but make sure to remove before serving as cooked bay leaves are stiff and slightly bitter.
- Dill - One of the more aromatic types of herbs, herb use for dill is for lighter dishes such as fish. Make sure to use fresh dill, as it is not one of the best herbs for drying.
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