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Spice Up Your Life: Latin-American

posted May 13, 2016, 6:40 AM by Rachel Griffin   [ updated May 13, 2016, 6:42 AM ]
This post continues with our month-long theme: Spice Up Your Life: Seasoning Food Without Salt

We’re going south of the border! Latin American food is filled with wonderful flavors that remind us of sizzling hot fajita platters, creamy guacamole, toasty empanadas, and other favorites like arroz con pollo, and carne asada. In fajita or taco seasoning packets that you find at the grocery store you might find spices like:
  • Cumin 
  • Cayenne 
  • Paprika 
  • Oregano 
  • Onion powder 
  • Garlic powder 
Other common herbs include:
  • Cilantro 
  • Saffron 
These spices and herbs are often combined with garlic, onions, peppers, beans, tomatoes, corn, jalapenos, and lime juice to bring out the spicy, smoky, and tangy sides of many dishes like soups, stews, and more!

Try this!
Marinate chicken in lime juice with cayenne, chili powder, and cumin for a tangy kick and serve over saffron rice with an extra squeeze of lime and some fresh cilantro. You can do the same with flaky, white fish like tilapia or cod for amazing fish tacos! Also try combining oregano, chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, olive oil, orange juice and a pork shoulder in your slow cooker for delicious carnitas that can be served with beans, rice, and guacamole! At nutrition.ilcreations.com/recipes, we have a whole host of Latin-inspired recipes. Don’t forget that skipping the seasoning packet and flavoring your meals with only the herbs and spices found in them will provide all the flavor with none of the fillers such as excess sodium, modified food starch, or MSG. This month, we’re featuring our Southwestern Roasted Corn Salad, which includes so many of these flavors, you don’t even miss the salt.

Fun Fact:
One of the active compounds in cayenne pepper is capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to be an effective pain reliever and help reduce osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in some patients.

Next week we travel to the Middle East for exotic flavor combinations that will delight your taste buds!

All four posts for this month were written by dietetic intern Andrea Goergen
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