The most common complaint I heard as a personal trainer was, “Healthy food is just so bland.”
I always shook my head and asked them how many herbs they had available in their kitchen. The answer was always zero, and if I was really lucky, they had one.
We would always get together and I’d introduce them to the wonderful world of herbs. They quickly learned that healthy food is, in fact, not bland at all IF you know what you’re doing.
There are hundreds and hundreds of herbs out there, but if you start with these essential five, you’ll fall in love with them.
Pro tip: If you buy them as plants as opposed to dried branches at the store, you will save a TON of money throughout the season. Seriously.
In my house, basil goes on top of pretty much everything. Tomatoes, pasta, pizza, sandwiches… Of course, “basil” is a blanket generalization, since there are different kinds, but most stores will have Italian basil (my personal favorite) or lemon basil.
It also has an excellent amount of Vitamin K and Manganese.
Take some bread, add on a slice of tomato, mozzarella cheese, and some basil. It is HEAVEN.
I also add it to fish and other meats while they cook for extra flavor.
Rosemary is HEAVEN to add on top of meat and in soup. It also tastes wonderful in eggs or in olive oil for a dipping sauce.
Rosemary became popular back when people believed that the smell would strengthen their memory. The Greeks would put branches in their hair while studying for exams.
Thyme is delicious in pretty much everything. I add it to almost every chicken dish.
Thyme works as a wonderful anti-oxidant and also contains a healthy amount of Vitamin C.
Cilantro and I only recently fell in love, but now it is a kitchen necessity. Ever since moving out west and being introduced to real salsa, I add this herb to so many dishes, especially any Mexican recipes.
The health benefits are a long list, but add a few leaves to your salsa, tacos, or quinoa salad to get why this is such a wonderful herb.
I use mint less so for cooking and more so for my life. You know how there is mint flavored gum? Yeah, that comes from an herb. Sadly, most major companies don’t actually use dried leaves, but you can! Just like the other herbs, there are different kinds of mint including peppermint, applemint, and spearmint.
Mint can help your skin, freshen your breath, or add an extra kick to your tea. I always add some mint leaves to my nightly peppermint tea.
I want to hear from you!
What are your favorite ways to spice up your dishes? Leave a comment below!