So many people think switching to a healthy diet means giving up flavour: losing those rich creamy sauces we all love, and giving up gravies and condiments of every kind for flavourless, dry meals. That was certainly the first thought I had after learning I had food allergies and medical conditions that meant I would need to change both my diet and my lifestyle. It is simply not true. There are many ways we can bring flavour to our food without using a thick, heavy sauce and therefore keep a lot of the fat off our plate.
Listed below are just a few ways you can add flavour to your meals at home, so leave off the heavy sauce next time and try some of these.
1) Pesto – Traditionally made with basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese, there are many variations to enjoy. Try switching out the pine nuts for another nut (our favourite is walnut), or try a spinach pesto. Use pesto tossed with pasta or grilled vegetables, spread on top of meats or fish when grilling, spread on a sandwich, or used on a pizza crust in place of pizza sauce.
2) Marinades – These are a great way to add flavour to meat without the use of a heavy sauce. You can prepare many marinades ahead: place the meat and marinade in a Ziploc bag and freeze for use later. When you are ready to cook the meat, thaw the meat in your refrigerator. The meat will soak up the flavour from the marinade as it thaws.
3) Seasoned oils – use fresh herbs in olive oil to add flavour to your choice of meat just before serving. Garlic, rosemary and sage add a flavourful punch to olive oil. For example, roast chicken breasts in the oven until cooked, transfer to a plate with approximately ¼ cup seasoned olive oil, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving, turning the chicken in the oil every few minutes.
4) Rubs – You can use either a wet or dry spice rub on your favourite cut of meat or fish prior to cooking. There are countless numbers of rubs out there to add just about any flavour profile to your meal: BBQ, Indian, Korean, and more. A wet rub uses a small amount of liquid to form a paste which is then rubbed on the meat or fish. I use my favourite dry rub, and add 1 or 2 tbsp of olive oil but you can use any number of different liquids. Dry rubs are also great when sprinkled on oven-roasted potatoes or home fries.
EASY SLOW COOKER CHICKEN
This recipe uses your favourite spice rub on a whole chicken to bring a juicy and flavourful chicken to your dinner table without a lot of effort. It’s so easy and delicious in fact, I promise it will quickly take the place of one of those rotisserie chickens from your local grocery store deli on your dinner table.
4 tbsp of your favourite dry rub
1-2 tbsp olive oil (you can use water or another liquid of your choice)
1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
Put the dry rub in a small bowl. Add the olive oil 1 tbsp at a time to form a thick paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cook on low 6-8 hours or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.