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Just give it that little bit more – herbs and seeds that add some oomph!

Just give it that little bit more – herbs and seeds that add some oomph!

You gotta love veg!

If like me you love your vegetables, and all of the health benefits they bring, then maybe you eat a lot of them!? And maybe like me you find after your third or fourth night of eating some form of boiled or sautéed veg you’re thinking what can I add to these that are going to get me a taste boost! A little more oomph!! That’s when you need to turn to your kitchen cupboards and grab your herbs, spices, and seeds. Not only will you be adding taste but you’ll be adding nutrients to an already nutrient packed meal.

Personally I like to sauté my veg. I cut it into small cubes and put it all in the frying pan together. This way it cooks quick so I’m wasting no time on a busy night and it’s all in one pan so it’s easy to add extra’s as you go. Here’s my favourite things to add.

Think about the oil
Generally I cook with coconut oil but I also love to infuse my own oils and I find it’s best done with olive oil. It’s easy…. if you’ve never done this give it a go! Grab a jar (I use old jam jars) pour in some oil and add whatever you think. I love to add garlic – I just chop 2 or 3 cloves in half – and either basil leaves or oregano leaves – maybe a palm full depending in how much oil you’ve put in – and immerse them in the oil. Make sure they are covered and leave for a few days. I keep giving the jar a shake in case any of the garlic or leaves pop their heads out of the oil. I then decant the oil into another jar sieving out the leaves and ‘bits’. And there you go infused oil – cheaper than buying it in the supermarket! So now when you cook with the infused oil you are adding in flavour without trying!

Basil

Go green and add herbs
My personal favourite is basil! This beautifully fragrant herb adds a great taste hit of sweetness to any dish. Particularly good in Italian or Asian dishes. Not only is it going to make your food taste great but research shows it to have some great health benefits. It’s claimed to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, pain reducing, fever reducing, a liver and blood pressure protector and a fighter of cancer. And with vitamin A, K, and C, and manganese in a good handful it’s a great immune system booster.

Personally  I add it near the end of cooking – a few minutes before I turn the heat off as this seems to work best. 

Get into your seeds!
I’ve recently discovered two wonderful additions to my store cupboard. Black Onion Seeds and Chia Seeds

Black Onion Seeds are a seed with an identity crisis! They aren’t from onions at all and are also called Kalonji seeds or Nigella seeds. Either way they are little bursts of joy! I find I’m putting them in everything! They are made up of nearly 40% oil so giving them a little toast in a dry pan before adding them to you food really enhances the flavour. For a bigger hit stick them in your pestle and mortar and give them a crush. They taste earthy with a slightly bitter edge and cumin type flavour. To me they taste a little of oregano. I find when I cook with them the hit from them is an after taste rather than a dominant taste when you first put the food in your mouth.

Vegetable Medley with Black Onion Seeds

Veg Medley with Chicken wrapped in bacon

I find them great with a veg medley. I sauté leeks, butternut squash and carrots and add the seeds whole after gently toasting them about 3 or 4 minutes from the end of the cooking. This leaves them a little crunchy, which I like, and added that lovely after taste flavour. I served it with a chicken breast wrapped in bacon! Gorgeous!

The health benefits from adding them is great as well! The Greeks used the seed to treat headaches and toothaches and scientific studies have shown they contain compounds that reduce the risk of diabetes! Research has also shown the oil from the seeds to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and fever reducing properties as well as reducing blood pressure.

Veg Medley with Quinoa and Black Onion Seeds

I also tried them with a similar recipe adding them to a medley of butternut squash, red peppers, green beans and red onion. I kept this one vegetarian but adding nothing more than a good handful of quinoa. Lovely!

Chia Seeds have been given the label ‘Superfood’! The seeds can be soaked and sprouted, ground or, like I’ve been doing, just added to your food without doing anything. They have been claimed as a superfood because of how nutrient-dense they are. Dr. Axe tell us ‘Aztec warriors ate chia seeds to give them high energy and endurance. They said just one spoonful of chia could sustain them for 24 hours. Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language, and chia seeds were known as “runners’ food” because runners and warriors would use them as fuel while running long distances or during battle.’ Fascinating!

Scrambled Eggs with Avocado and Chia Seeds

They are full of fibre so good for digestion and packed with nutrients and antioxidants so are good for skin health and heart health and may boost your energy and metabolism! I’ve added them to salads and to my morning eggs! (There’s some black onion seeds in there as well!). I love my morning eggs with avocado!

So try these ideas out! I can highly recommend them. They’ll add flavour for minimal calories and come loaded with a huge amount of health benefits!

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