Flavors of the world spice up your life! Okay, it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about one of my favorite spices (GINGER) without giving an edited throwback to the Spice Girls. Much like her namesake, Ginger has all the sass and attitude that add to every meal…or performance.
Curious about other spices? Click here to read more about how Cinnamon can spice up your food →
You guys, I know it can be hard to start spicing your food without knowing exactly what to expert or what to pair it with. Since ginger can be hot, zesty, and spicy, it is certainly one of those flavors that packs a beautiful punch when paired with foods like chicken, carrots, and chocolate (any excuse for a bite of chocolate, right?).
In addition to it’s uncanny ability to elevate flavors, ginger doesn’t get nearly enough credit. The beauty of ginger is in its makeup. Fresh ginger has gingerols, which are phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties, and unlike many herbs/spices that lose some nutritional benefits when going through the drying process, drying ginger decreases gingerols, but increases shogoal, which has a similar health benefit to gingerols. It doesn’t stop there. Aside from adding an amazing combination of both spicy and sweet to your meals, research has shown it can also help with the following—ginger is a health powerhouse!
- Upset stomach + nausea
- Muscle soreness
- Menstrual pains
- Arthritis inflammation
- Blood sugar levels
- LDL (aka bad cholesterol)
- Healthy aging
- Blood pressure
How to Use + Prepare Ginger
When you think of ginger, your mind probably goes immediately to Asian cuisine or the holidays, right? (Ginger snaps, anyone?). It’s possible that maybe you’ve never experienced ginger beyond that pink pickled treat to go alongside your sushi. Let me say that there is a world of exploring to be done when it comes to ginger. To start here are some dos and don’ts of ginger:
- Peel Fresh Ginger: This is a must because the skin is not tasty. Start by breaking off a piece of the root that you are going to use. Using the edge of a spoon, scrape the skin off. Doing this, as opposed to using a vegetable peeler, is sure to leave you with less waste.
- Choose Your Type Appropriately: As mentioned above, ginger comes in several forms (fresh, ground, and pickled, to name a few). For the biggest, freshest kick, grab the fresh stuff. While you can substitute fresh for ground (and vice versa), remember to finely grind your ginger so it doesn’t impact the texture of your dish, and 1 TBSP of grated ginger = 1/8 teaspoon of ground.
- Mince it, Grate it, or Slice it: This will help you to avoid the bitter or overly peppery property that ginger can bring to a dish. If you slice it into medallions, remember to remove these after they have released the flavor—a great method for making tea. Speaking of tea, here is one of my favorite orange-ginger tea recipes.
- Check Firmness: You want your ginger to be firm like a potato. If it’s rubbery or dry, it’s past its prime. Look for thick and round rhizomes so that you can easily peel them.
Ahhh ginger, I can go on forever. Long story short, if you’re looking for a savory and spicy addition to your meals, ginger will make all of your cooking dreams come true. Use it to punch up so many other foods like salmon, vegetable stir-fry, or for my mommas out there, add it to your tea for a soothing drink like the recipe above. You can drink it hot or cold, making it the perfect addition to your OJ with breakfast. If you’re looking for a way to spice up your next meal (literally), give this ginger-inspired recipe a try!
Ginger + Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe
- 1 pound chicken breast, diced
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 cups broccoli, chopped
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Sea salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup water
- Drizzle one tablespoon avocado oil in a large wok and add chicken breast.
- Season with sea salt and pepper.
- Cook until no longer pink in the middle and white all the way through, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same wok, add remaining avocado oil and vegetables.
- Season with sea salt and pepper, toss well.
- Add water and cover wok, allow to simmer until vegetables are just soft, about 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid bottoms burning. Once soft, remove from wok.
- Add tomato paste, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ground ginger. Mix until well combined.
- Allow to simmer about 2 minutes, then add chicken and vegetables. Toss until well coated. Recipe makes 6 servings.
- Allow to cool a few minutes and enjoy!
Nutrition information: 254 calories, 8g fat, 15g carbs, 30g protein
Adding herbs and seasonings to your meals is a great way to add flavor and find new favorite ways of cooking. There’s this big misconception that eating healthy means eating boring foods, but guys, it’s NOT TRUE. All you need to satisfy your palate is some creativity in the kitchen and help from a few friends (herbs and seasonings!). Once you’re comfortable spicing up your meals, your taste buds and family will thank you! 😉
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