August 29 is More Herbs, Less Salt Day—so why not celebrate by cooking a meal that uses herbs in every course? Seasoning your food with herbs allows you to cut back on salt for flavor, and scaling back your salt intake helps lower blood pressure.
Everyday herbs like rosemary, dill and thyme can increase the nutrition and heighten the flavor and enjoyment of a good meal. They’re easy to find at most grocery stores or to grow in your own backyard.
Appetizer: Thyme, Tomato and Corn Pancakes
MAKES 8 PANCAKES
Try savory pancakes as an interesting starter (or even for breakfast!).
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarse yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (125 mL) whole wheat flour
1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp (15 to 22 mL) fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
3/4 cup (180 mL) milk
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) corn kernels
16 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Whisk cornmeal with flour, thyme, baking powder, basil and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs with milk and oil. Turn wet mixture over dry. Add corn and gently stir just until combined. Don’t overbeat; lumps are encouraged! For fluffier cakes, let batter stand for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking.
Lightly oil frying pan (use cast iron for best results) and set over medium-high heat. Using 1/4 cup (60 mL) measure, pour batter into pan to form 4 cakes. Press 3 tomato halves into each cake.
Cook until edges are browned and bubbles form in the middle of each cake, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Each serving contains: 181 calories; 6 g protein; 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 30 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 3 g fiber); 56 mg sodium
Main: Greek-Style Chicken Skewers
SERVES 6 TO 8
Dried oregano and sage pack more punch than fresh, but there’s no replacement for the bright, tangy notes of fresh dill.
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp (30 mL) dried sage leaves, crumbled
2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) plain yogurt
1 1/2 lbs (750 g) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
Place first 5 ingredients in blender. Add 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon peel and whirl until well mixed. Stir 1 Tbsp (15 mL) herb mixture into yogurt along with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.
Cut chicken into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces and season with salt. Place in bowl and toss with remaining herb mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight to marinate. If using wooden kebab skewers, soak overnight as well.
Thread chicken onto skewers. Be sure to leave a little space between pieces. Grill over medium heat, turning often, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Place skewers on lightly greased baking sheet and cook, turning every 10 minutes, until cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve skewers with yogurt for dipping.
Each serving contains: 237 calories; 18 g protein; 17 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 3 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 1 g fiber); 98 mg sodium
Dessert: Dark Chocolate and Rosemary Pudding
Chocolate and rosemary make an interesting combo for a dessert. Rosemary is also a winning ingredient for your health: its fragrant sprigs are anti-inflammatory.
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) table cream
3 Tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup (125 mL) raw-style sugar
1/3 cup (80 mL) cocoa powder
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp (35 mL) cornstarch
Pinch of salt (optional)
3 1/2 oz (100 g) good-quality 70 percent dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 mL) vanilla
In saucepan, bring milk, cream and rosemary just to a boil, then remove from heat. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes to infuse, then strain.
Stir sugar with cocoa, cornstarch and salt, if using. Bring milk and cream back to a boil, then whisk in sugar mixture. Reduce heat to medium. Whisk constantly until pudding thickens and starts to boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.
Pour into dishes and refrigerate until chilled. Pudding will thicken more as it cools.
Each serving contains: 238 calories; 5 g protein; 15 g total fat (9 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 24 g total carbohydrates (18 g sugars, 3 g fiber); 52 mg sodium