Today's recipes: Mediterranean Lentil Salad, Tzatziki Sauce, Fresh Pesto
Today our topic was Fresh Herbs for Cooking and Health!
Whether you grow your own or pick them up at your local farm stand or farmer’s market, nothing beats fresh herbs! They add great flavor and zing to dishes as well as provide many health benefits. With a little knowledge and a few tips, your food will SING with flavor!!
The three recipes demonstrated and sampled today:
- Mediterranean Lentil Salad - This salad is PERFECT for the summer! Full of summer fresh produce, protein packed lentils, and a trio of fresh herbs, it can be a main dish or served as a side! Note: lentils are a GREAT for blood sugar stabilization and cook up quickly. Although they do not need soaking before cooking, it can be beneficial to give them at least a quick soak (30 minutes to 2 hours) to help with nutrition availability and absorption! See the videos below for a tutorial on cooking lentils from dry and making this salad.
- Tzatziki Sauce - This is the creamy sauce that is served with a gyro! This version, however, uses all whole, fresh ingredients and can be used as a dip for raw veggies, a topping for your burger, or a sauce for grilled or roasted veggies! The key to success is to grate the cucumber and let it sit for about 30 minutes before squeezing out all the moisture!
- Fresh Pesto - When thinking of pesto we usually think basil, but you can make it from any herb and/or leafy green! Although it traditionally contains Parmesan cheese (buy the REAL stuff in a chuck and grate it yourself!) and pinenuts, you can leave them out or substitute something similar. Pesto is a terrific way to "save" your fresh herbs for later! Just blend up a batch and freeze in ice cube trays. Then just pop a cube or two and add it to your soups, stews, sauces, or other dishes! See the video below for how to freeze your herbs using this method!
We also talked about growing, harvesting, and sharing fresh herbs. I have included some resources below in case you missed the session or would like to know more. I hope you will all be inspired to plant a few herbs this summer to use in your cooking! Herbs grow wonderfully in pots, so anyone can do it!
If you have any questions, let me know, and be sure to share if you make these recipes at home!