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Spice Up Your Life: North African & Middle Eastern

posted May 20, 2016, 6:55 AM by Rachel Griffin
This week’s post continues with our theme: Spice Up Your Life: Seasoning Food Without Salt!

Middle Eastern and North African cuisines blend sweet and spicy herbs with creamy or savory sauces to add depth and surprising flavor combinations. A popular spice blend you can find in grocery stores or specialty shops is called Ras el Hanout which contains:
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cumin 
  • Black Pepper 
  • Red Pepper 
  • Turmeric 
  • Ginger 
  • Coriander 
  • Cardamom 
  • Paprika 
When thinking about those ingredients, consider falafel- a delicious fritter made from chickpeas or fava beans with onion, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, cumin, cardamom and/or cloves, cayenne, coriander and pepper. Falafel can be baked or deep fried and is a wonderful vegetarian entrée that most meat eaters love. Falafel pairs wonderfully with creamy, tahini- or yogurt-based sauces like hummus or tzatziki plus garlic and lemon juice. These flavors also complement chicken, beef, lamb, lentils, chickpeas, and so much more!

Try this!

Make a stew with a twist with this New York Times recipe for chicken tagine. If you prefer, try using lamb or beef instead of chicken and serve with ILC’s tabbouleh couscous salad on the side. In participating locations, ILC is offering a falafel bar (pictured), so you can give these flavors a try without having to invest in the spices. But go ahead and buy the spices—we know you’ll love it! 



Fun Fact:
Ginger has been used for centuries to relieve digestive issues like nausea and is currently being researched to learn more about its potential anti-inflammatory properties, as well.

Next week, for our final post of the month, we head to Asia for a lesson in Thai spices!


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