6 Ways To Use Spring Herbs As Healthy Greens
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Herbs such as coriander, mint, basil, and fenugreek are not only known for their distinctive flavours but also for their health benefits. They can help with digestion, reduce inflammation, and provide a plethora of essential nutrients. Incorporating these herbs as greens in your meals can transform simple dishes into vibrant, health-boosting feasts.

This article delves into six creative ways to use spring herbs as healthy greens. From adding them to traditional Indian recipes to blending them into modern salads and smoothies, we'll explore how these versatile plants can enhance your culinary repertoire while contributing to a healthier diet.

1. Incorporating Herbs Into Indian Curries

Coriander In Curries

Coriander, also known as cilantro or dhania, is a staple in Indian cooking. Its fresh, citrusy leaves are commonly used as a garnish, but they can also be incorporated as a green in various curries. Coriander leaves add a bright, zesty flavour and a significant nutritional boost, being rich in vitamins A, C, and K.

In dishes like Palak Paneer, adding a handful of chopped coriander to the spinach base enhances the green’s flavour and nutritional profile. Similarly, in Chicken Coriander Curry, the leaves are blended into the sauce, providing a fresh burst of flavour and a vibrant green hue.

Fenugreek In Dals And Gravies

Fenugreek, or methi, is another herb widely used in Indian cuisine, known for its slightly bitter and nutty flavour. Both the leaves and seeds are used, but the fresh leaves are particularly valued for their nutritional content and unique taste.

Methi is often used in Methi Dal, where the fresh leaves are cooked with lentils, infusing the dish with their distinct flavour. In Aloo Methi, potatoes are sautéed with fenugreek leaves, creating a simple yet nutritious dish that showcases the herb’s versatility.

2. Enhancing Salads Aith Fresh Herbs

Mint In Salads

Mint, with its refreshing and cool taste, is perfect for adding a burst of flavour to salads. Its leaves are not only aromatic but also come packed with essential vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent addition to your diet.

A popular salad in Indian cuisine is the Mint and Cucumber Raita, where mint leaves are finely chopped and mixed with yoghurt and cucumber. This salad is often served as a cooling side dish to spicy meals. Another way to use mint is in kachumber salad, a mix of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and fresh mint leaves, dressed with lemon juice and a sprinkle of chaat masala.

Dill In Fresh Vegetable Salads

Dill, known for its delicate, feathery leaves and distinct anise-like flavour, can be a great addition to salads. Its unique taste can enhance a variety of vegetables and dressings, adding a fresh twist to your meals.

Dill is often used in Suvaiyan Salad, a refreshing mix of suvaiyan (Indian cucumber) with dill and other fresh vegetables, dressed with lime and olive oil. It can also be added to a tossed green salad, where its flavour complements ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.

3. Blending Herbs Into Smoothies And Juices

Basil In Smoothies

Basil, with its sweet and slightly peppery flavour, is not just for pesto. Adding fresh basil leaves to your smoothies can add a unique flavour and a boost of nutrients.

In a Basil Mango Lassi, fresh basil leaves are blended with mango, yoghurt, and a touch of honey, creating a refreshing and nutritious drink. Another option is the Basil Mint Smoothie, combining these two herbs with fruits like pineapple or banana for a healthy morning boost.

Coriander In Juices

Coriander leaves are not only a staple in cooking but also a great addition to juices. Their fresh and tangy flavour can complement a variety of fruits and vegetables in your juices.

Coriander-lime juice is a popular choice, where fresh coriander leaves are blended with lime juice, honey, and water for a refreshing drink. Another option is Coriander Detox Juice, combining coriander with cucumber, celery, and a squeeze of lemon, perfect for a rejuvenating and healthful beverage.

4. Using Herbs In Stuffings And Fillings

Parsley In Stuffed Parathas

Parsley, with its mild and slightly peppery flavour, can be used as a green in various stuffings and fillings, adding freshness and nutritional value to your dishes.

Parsley and paneer paratha is a delicious Indian flatbread where the stuffing is made with crumbled paneer, finely chopped parsley, and spices. This combination adds a fresh and slightly tangy flavour to the parathas. Similarly, Parsley and Potato Stuffed Naan use a mixture of mashed potatoes and parsley as a filling, creating a tasty and wholesome meal.

Mint In Samosa Fillings

Mint’s refreshing flavour can add a delightful twist to traditional fillings, particularly in savoury snacks like samosas.

Mint and Pea Samosas are a popular variation where mint leaves are mixed with peas and spices to create a fresh and vibrant filling. The mint adds a cooling effect that balances the spiciness of the samosas. Another option is Mint Lamb Keema Samosas, where ground lamb is cooked with mint leaves, onions, and spices, offering a rich and aromatic filling.

5. Infusing Herbs Into Soups And Broths

Coriander In Soups

Coriander’s fresh and vibrant flavour makes it an excellent addition to soups and broths, providing both taste and nutrition.

Coriander Soup, also known as Dhania Shorba, is a traditional Indian soup made with fresh coriander leaves, spices, and sometimes lentils. It’s a light and aromatic soup, perfect for a starter or a light meal. Coriander Chicken Soup is another popular dish where coriander leaves are added to chicken broth, enhancing the flavour and nutritional profile of the soup.

Mint In Broths

Mint can add a refreshing and aromatic note to broths, making them more flavourful and invigorating.

Mint and lentil soup combine the coolness of mint with the heartiness of lentils, creating a nutritious and refreshing dish. Mint Rasam is a South Indian broth where mint leaves are boiled with tamarind, tomatoes, and spices, resulting in a tangy and refreshing soup that’s often served with rice.

6. Garnishing With Fresh Herbs

Basil As A Garnish

Basil’s robust flavour and bright green leaves make it a perfect garnish for a variety of dishes, adding both visual appeal and a burst of flavour.

Tomato Basil Raita uses fresh basil leaves as a garnish, adding a pop of colour and flavour to the creamy yoghurt dish. Basil Tadka Dal is another dish where a few basil leaves are added just before serving, infusing the dal with its aromatic flavour.

Dill As A Finishing Touch

Dill’s delicate fronds and distinctive taste make it an excellent finishing herb for a variety of dishes, adding a touch of elegance and flavour.

Dill and Carrot Salad is often garnished with fresh dill leaves, enhancing the salad’s flavour and visual appeal. Dill rice is another dish where cooked rice is tossed with fresh dill leaves, adding a fragrant and slightly tangy taste that pairs well with a variety of curries and dishes.

In the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine, where every ingredient tells a story, spring herbs stand out as versatile and valuable players. Embrace their flavours and health benefits, and let them inspire your culinary creations throughout the year.