Herbs & Spice Make Everything Taste Nice!

Fresh Herb & Lentil Salad This past weekend I attended my Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Alumni reunion. It has been 8 years since completing my Masters and Dietetic internship. I cannot say enough about the opportunities Tufts has provided me over the years, from networking, mentor-ships, inspiration for career aspirations and amazing friendships.  These events always inspire me because I get to see the amazing things my peers are accomplishing to change the world we live in and the way we eat.

The reunion weekend featured a fabulous event hosted by the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) called Talk and Taste. I started my reunion weekend off with Talk and Taste: Cooking with Herbs and Spices  which included Dr. Mohsen Meydani of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA)  , who spoke about the nutritional properties of herbs and spices and Victoria Taylor, MBA, Founder and President of Victoria Gourmet, Inc. who performed a cooking demonstration.

Talk & Taste Event at the HNRCA

Talk & Taste Event at the HNRCA

After seeing Dr. Meydani list benefit after benefit of herbs and spices, as the fragrance of fresh dill, basil and parsley filled the room while Victoria prepared her Fresh Herb Lentil Salad, I thought “what more could you need to convince you to throw the salt shaker out and add fresh herbs and spices to your diet!” Here are a few fun facts that I learned about Dill, Basil and Parsley:

Dill: 

  • Contains many anti-oxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, etc., and dietary fibers, which help to control blood cholesterol levels.
  • Contains properties which may improve digestive functioning.
  • The essential oils in dill may have a calming effect on the body.

Basil:

  • Used as a supplemental treatment for stress, asthma and diabetes.
  • It’s known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron, contains 3.17 mg/100 g of fresh leaves (about 26% of RDA).

Parsley: 

  • Know to be protective against Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Eating parsley can reduce the risk of cancers such as breast, digestive tract, skin and prostate.
  • Parsley offers protection from a wide variety of diseases – from atherosclerosis, diabetes and colon cancer to asthma.

After tasting this amazing salad and know the benefits of the herbs, the first thing I did when I got home from the reunion was to purchase some fresh herbs and to start cooking. My challenge for you this week, it look where you can add fresh herbs to your meals to add that pop of flavor and excitement to you meals!

Fresh Herb Lentil Salad

Makes 8, 1 cup servingsFresh Herb & Lentil Salad

  •  2 cups French Lentils
  • 2-4 cups water
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup snow peas, finely diced
  • 24 grape tomatoes chopped in 8ths
  • 3/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 25 basil leaves, cut fine
  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 1 cup parsley leaves chopped

Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  •  1/8 cup olive oil

Steps:

Step 1: Lentils- rinse lentils, cover with 4 cups water. Bring to boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until just tender. Set aside cool.Fresh Herb & Lentil Salad

Step 2: While lentils are cooking and cooking, prepare all the vegetables and herbs.Fresh Herb & Lentil Salad

Step 3: In a small bowl combine lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil to make the vinaigrette.Fresh Herb & Lentil Salad

Step 4: Toss vegetables and herbs in a bowl, add the cooled lentils. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and toss.  Enjoy!Fresh Herb & Lentil Salad

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3 Responses to Herbs & Spice Make Everything Taste Nice!

  1. Lidia says:

    Mmmm that recipe sounds delicious, can’t wait to try!

  2. haudi says:

    I agree. I use lots of fresh herbs in my recipes (in fact, I almost never use dried except for whole seeds).
    I’ve always wondered whether and the extent to which the herbs lose anything when cooked. Also, herb stems in a ‘bouquet garni’ adds an additional but subtle kick to soups and stews.

  3. Very good information.

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