This one is for all those sensitive tummies and FODMAP dieters who cringe at the thought of garlic and onion. I am definitely one of those sensitive people!
Avoiding garlic and onion seemed impossible at first and I was lost for ways to add flavour without these two common and flavoursome ingredients. My food became bland and boring to be perfectly honest. However, after some experimenting and exploring with other herbs and spices I've found new flavours that kick onion and garlic right out of the park! I've decided to share with you my favourite herbs, spices and tricks to creating flavoursome meals without even thinking about the dreaded garlic & onion! Keep an eye out for some new upcoming recipes where you will find these ingredients used. I hope this article encourages you to try some new recipes and spice up your meals too!
Fennel is probably my favourite vegetable! I use it so many different ways but one of my favourites is as a replacement for onion. It adds a sweetness similar to onion but with a delicious twist! It also caramelizes really well too just like onion does. I use it in my pasta sauces, in soups, salads and for braising in stews etc. It's also not a bad source of calcium and potassium so that's an added bonus! You will see many recipes coming up on my blog centered around fennel - I'm slightly addicted!
Star anise is one of those spices that you either love or hate and I love it! It gives a natural sweet licorice flavour that is beautiful in both sweet and savoury dishes. You only need to add 1 or 2 bulbs while cooking and the flavour will subtly disperse through. It's used widely in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking but is also great for Moroccan and Indian inspired meals and in combination with cinnamon, ginger, cumin and berries.
Cumin is actually part of the parsley family and is traditionally a Mediterranean herb but is mostly known for it's presence in Indian cuisine. It's great for digestion and treating constipation due to its fibre content, healing and antimicrobial properties. It also contains Niacin, the name for vitamin B3, which is needed for the function of more than 200 enzymes throughout the body and helps to control blood sugar levels. I use cumin seeds to add a delicious, nutty, warm flavour when roasting vegetables, toasted in salads, in soups or for Moroccan or Indian inspired meals.
Ginger is another one of my favourites that I absolutely cannot live without! It is a great source of potassium and has very high antibacterial properties which makes it fantastic for digestive complaints due to its calming effect on nausea and helping to prevent and heal any parasitic or bacterial imbalances in the gut. Ginger has been used extensively in different methods of medicine for it's powerful anti-inflammatory effects which makes it great for arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also a powerful circulatory stimulant increasing blood flow around the body and assisting in waste removal. Ginger can be used in almost anything and gives a warm, spicy flavour. I use it almost religiously in dressings, stir-frys, soups, baking or just in warm water with lemon for a healing and refreshing drink.
Chives are a great alternative to onion, they add that sweet & spicy flavour of onion without the nasty side effects. Use them chopped up fresh in salads, cooked in stir-frys, soups and as a garnish for most savoury dishes.
Turmeric is an Indian spice and like ginger is known for its intense anti-inflammatory properties making it great for arthritic conditions and other inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions. It is also great for inflammatory digestive disorders such as IBS, crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. If you are pregnant be careful with turmeric as it is quite stimulating and may be harmful so consult your doctor before using lots of turmeric. I use turmeric in similar or the same dishes as I would ginger and cumin seeds. It is also great heated with almond milk, ginger and cinnamon as a calming, cleansing & healing
drink before bed.
These include Basil, Oregano, Rosemary and Dill. I mainly use these in the dried form but also fresh to add to salads, for roasting vegetables, soups or to garnish all your favourite Mediterranean dishes. These herbs have fantastic antioxidant properties to protect our cells from free radical damage. Don't be shy with these herbs, they add all those comforting Tuscan flavours while keeping our cells young and healthy and protect our bodies from bacterial infections and disease. Sprinkle them on everything!