French cuisine is not traditionally known as going hand in hand with dieting. However, you can still take advantage of French herbs and spices to add some dimension for everyday healthy meals. The following herbs and spices are versatile and eclectic. They not only help you add a fancy French twist to your homemade cuisine but are also packed with numerous health benefits that are as impactful as the flavor.
Sage: The flavor of sage ranges from mild to peppery with a hint of mint. Sage tends to pair well with lean meats, seafood, and vegetables, such as artichokes. Unlike milder herbs, sage can be added at the beginning of the cooking phase. Sage has anti-inflammatory properties, promotes bone strength, and is loaded with antioxidants.
Tarragon: Tarragon is a great source of iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Tarragon pairs well with foods that absorb flavors easily, such as scallops. Consider infusing vinegar with tarragon and using the vinegar to add flavor to salads or lightly cooked vegetables.
Lavender: Throw a curve ball into your new dieting cuisine. Most of us are familiar with lavender but not with the idea of using it in the kitchen. Be sure to purchase culinary lavender, because not all lavender is safe for consumption. Lavender has a strong flavor, so use it lightly. Try adding lavender to a dry rub with other French herbs, such as rosemary and mint, and sprinkling it on roasted chicken or lamb.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg can alleviate bad breath, promote quality sleep, and offer relief from indigestion. Nutmeg has a sweet flavor and is best known for being used alongside cinnamon. Get creative with your dieting, and try adding nutmeg to light sauces or on roasted vegetables.
Bay Leaves: Bay leaves have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. They are a good source of calcium, potassium, and iron. If you are feeling adventurous, try a bay leaf infused tea. Bay leaves are not the most potent of herbs but still pack enough of a punch to add something new to an old dish. Bay leaves can be added to slow-cooked meals and soups. They pair well with chives, cilantro, rosemary, and other savory herbs. Do not forget to pull the bay leaves out of your dish before you serve it. Running into a bay leaf in the middle of dinner is no fun.