Soul Food Column

How to Use Herbs and Spices to
Bring Out Flavors

Soul Food Advice Column


November 2, 2016

Soul food vegetables are just as good for you as any other vegetable dish.  It’s how you prepare them during the cooking process that makes all the difference. You can always make simple adjustments to the ingredients and cooking techniques you use.

Last week in this column, I discussed several soul food vegetables and showed how they are healthy for you, however you just have to be careful how you season them up.  Remember, when it comes to preparing your food, you and only you are in complete control. Especially for fresh vegetable which are always tasty, nutritious, offers great health benefits, and helps maintain a healthy lifestyle if prepared properly.

To keep them healthy, the next time you prepare your favorite soul food vegetable, try herbs and spices to bring out the true flavors. With a little creativity, you can still enjoy great flavors in these dishes while lowering the sodium and fat content. Once you try it, you’ll be glad you did.

Below is a list of herbs and spices that are excellent in bringing out the true flavors of these soul food vegetables:

Vegetable: Tomato dishes
Spice or Herb: Bay Leaves, Marjoram, Chives, Garlic, Parsley, and Basil

Vegetable: Fresh Salads/Fresh Vegetables
Spice or Herb: Cilantro, Dill Weed, Black Pepper, Parsley

Vegetable: Bean dishes
Spice or Herb: Parsley, Black Pepper, Salt Substitute or No-Salt seasoning, Cumin, Thyme, Cayenne

Vegetable: Green Beans and Potatoes
Spice or Herb: Savory, Parsley, Salt Substitute or No-Salt seasoning, Celery Seed, Rosemary

Vegetable: Beets and Lima Beans
Spice or Herb: Thyme, Chili Powder, Salt Substitute or No-Salt seasoning. and Garlic

Vegetable: Carrots, Cauliflower, and Potatoes dishes
Spice or Herb: Mace, Black Pepper, Salt Substitute or No-Salt seasoning,
Basil, Chili Powder, Rosemary

For extra spice, use black pepper, red pepper, and red hot sauce. Always add small amounts of heat to your taste and for the level of heat you desire.  Vinegars such as cider, balsamic, flavored, red wine, or white, are excellent with cucumbers, cooked greens, potatoes, and spinach dishes.

I would start out by using only about a pinch, a dash, or a half-teaspoon of any of the spices in the list for a particular vegetable.  If you feel more is needed, you can certainly adjust it for better flavor.  Remember, you are in full control of how your food will turn out.   Good luck!

Cassandra Harrell is a Soul Food Advisor and recently owned a soul food restaurant and catering service. This best-selling cookbook author and award-winning caterer have conducted cooking classes and one-on-one sessions on preparing great soul food cuisine. Her new book, Soul Food Advisor is filled with Harrell’s authentic recipes, iconic dishes, and irresistible flavors.  Soul Food Advisor reveals the secrets of perfecting southern cooking, one dish at a time. Please visit the Author Bio and our Cookbook Page.