Five Great Ways to Bring More Flavor to your Food

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A common impression people have of clean eating is that the food will taste bland and boring. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Here are five ingredients you can add to meals to kick them up a notch:

  1. Lemon – Fresh-squeezed lemon or lemon juice is an amazing flavor enhancer. It can be used to brighten up a quinoa or veggie pasta concoction, a simple bowl of lentils and bulger (one of my go-to quick and easy meals), or a chicken or seafood dish. And of course, it makes water taste super-fancy.
  2. Cayenne pepper – I am obsessed with it! Obviously, you have to like spicy food to play with cayenne pepper, but even those of you who aren’t big fans of the hot stuff can experiment with using it lightly. I use it to flavor so many things: pasta, homemade kale chips, pizza crust, meat, vegetables – and possibly my favorite use, as I mentioned in my last post regarding healthy snacks, to kick up my popcorn! Popcorn with salt and cayenne pepper sprinkled on it is just amazing! Just learn from my mistakes and don’t shake it on too liberally – however much you love spicy food. I’ve found it’s best to sprinkle and mix in a little cayenne at a time to ensure you don’t add too much and aren’t sneezing and blowing your noise constantly from the overload (been there!). You can always add more if it’s too little.
  3. Garlic powder – Here’s another spice I’ve been using a lot lately. I’ve gotten into roasting vegetables and have been using it then; it’s a phenomenal way to make your vegetables taste richer and more flavorful – in short, like a food you actually want to eat! Roasting vegetables is simple: just cut up the vegetables of your choice and mix them in a large bowl with a tablespoon or two of grapeseed oil, liberal sprinklings of the garlic powder, and some kosher salt and pepper. Then lay them out on a baking sheet and roast them at 375 degrees for a half hour to 45 minutes, depending on the type of vegetable (cauliflower and sweet potato will need more roasting time than red peppers and onions, for instance). Then prepare to be wowed!
  4. Onion – Onion, like garlic, is an acquired taste. Some people detest the texture of cooked onions and will only eat them raw, and others refuse to let one raw onion tidbit enter their mouths (and they are probably the ones who consequently get the most action, because raw onion breath is, yikes). But despite their pungent flavor and their ability to repel people after eating a bunch of them, I am still a huge fan of onion and add it – raw or cooked – to pretty much anything. Besides their obvious great use in nachos and tacos, they are excellent sautéed and added to homemade soups, quinoa bowls, and stirfrys; thrown in your crockpot with some potatoes and carrots and a simple pot roast; roasted with other vegetables; sliced and added raw to add sharpness to a bacon-avocado-cheese sandwich (mmmm, I really want a bacon-avocado-onion-cheese sandwich now. It’s only 9 in the morning when I’m writing this, but I still want it!).
  5. Pure maple syrup – This natural sweetener is Mother Nature’s gift to us. Seriously, it’s deliciously sweet like a processed sugar, but it comes from a tree! Ok, so you don’t want to do around guzzling the stuff. But used in moderation, it’s a great alternative to refined sugar that can be used when making granola, certain baked goods, chia-seed pudding (weird-sounding but delicious!), oatmeal, or whatever else you want to give a little sweet glaze. Because clean eating or not, life is nothing without a little dessert!

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Jackie

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