We love our greens at The Food Evolution. We speak passionately about dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and swiss chard, but today we want to reflect on the smaller greens, and the powerhouse nutrients they’re packed with. Among the ever growing roster are: Parsley, Basil, Chives, Thyme, and Cilantro. We believe you’ve seen these herbs everywhere, perhaps mixed into your guacamole, incorporated into a sauce, or used as a garnish to your favorite pizza dish. Unfortunately, these wonderful herbs are often picked out and tossed to the spare plate at the table, and that could be because they look unfamiliar, or the eater is hesitant to try something new. Next time you come across one of these herbs, we want you to consider their nutritional benefits and know that the ingredient’s flavors are only there to compliment the meal.
Parsley comes in two ways: Flat Leaf and Curly Leaf. The decision of which one to use rests largely in appearance and flavor, flat leaf has been known to hold more flavor than curly, and curly has been known to be more bitter than its flatter version. Both versions are high in antioxidants, which is great in fighting auto-immune diseases, chronic and acute inflammatory disorders, and even allergies. We love tossing them to into salads, or in a green smoothie for its detoxifying components and vitamin C values.
Basil and Thyme are both herbs high in Magnesium, which is a key mineral in developing healthy bones and also prevents heart disease and diabetes. Basil contains anti-inflammatory properties that offer relief for individuals with IBS, and arthritis. Thyme increases HDL levels, and promotes brain health. Overall, they are necessary herbs to take in when trying to protect the body from illness and infection. In addition to preparing a great homemade sauce, basil can be added to hot tea with lemon and even served raw in a salad. Fresh basil leaves compliment many ingredients and really add a fresh kick to a dish! Thyme is another great add in herb for hot tea to release mucus or phlegm build up in the respiratory system. It also masked a great flavored salt when grounded up in a mortar and pestol and mixed with seas salt with can be lightly tossed over a salad!
Chives are an allium vegetable which gives it cancer fighting properties, as well as aids in circulatory, digestive and respiratory system health. Chives also contain nutrients that contribute towards getting a better night’s sleep, muscle movement and retention and memory. We love fresh chives on top of a soup or salad!
Finally, Cilantro (like the ingredients above) adds fresh, complimentary flavors to a raw salad, juice, or soup. Cilantro contains cleansing agents that help detoxify the body, chelates heavy metals, remove unhealthy bacteria and even stimulates digestion. We love it on our green smoothies, and it’s often found in salsa and herb pesto’s used in baking fish or poultry.
For those of you who have attended an event at The Food Evolution, you can recall the bounty of flavors these herbs bring to a recipe. For those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to join us, check out our class calendar! We’d love to share some of our favorite herb-packed recipes with you and awaken your senses to new, fresh flavors! Until then, go to your local market, review our recipes, and start reaping the benefits of herbs today.