Spices and Herbs Bring Out the Best of Summer Vegetables

MISSION, KS — (Marketwired) — 08/08/14 — (Family Features) We all want to eat more vegetables — and in the summer, when farmers markets and grocery stores are filled with fresh, colorful produce, it’s easier than ever. From juicy red tomatoes and yellow sweet corn to vibrant green broccoli, seasonal produce can be even more enjoyable with the addition of spices and herbs.

“I’m always thinking about ways to make vegetables taste great and be more healthful and exciting — other than just adding butter and salt,” said registered dietitian Wendy Bazilian. “Adding spices and herbs is easy to do, and they only cost pennies per serving. Plus, they’re already in your kitchen.”

To add flavor to everyday vegetable favorites like zucchini and carrots, Bazilian recommends an easy rule of thumb: start with 1/4 teaspoon of spices and herbs, such as basil and oregano, per cup of veggies, along with a splash of citrus juice or olive oil.

“You can also dial up the flavor depending on the cooking method,” Bazilian said. “Roasting vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes creates a caramelized flavor that pairs deliciously with garlic, basil, oregano, honey and white vinegar. Grilling vegetables gives a smoky, charred flavor. Or, let the natural flavor of green beans shine by steaming them with rosemary and thyme.”

Mix brown sugar, basil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in small bowl.

In large bowl, drizzle oil over vegetables; toss to coat well. Add seasoning mixture; toss to coat well.

Place vegetables in grill basket or rack, or thread onto skewers.

Grill over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender, turning occasionally.

Kitchen tip: If using sweet potatoes, pierce them with fork and microwave two to three minutes on high or until tender.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix oil, garlic powder and pepper in large bowl. Add broccoli and tomatoes; toss to coat well. Spread in single layer on foil-lined 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan.

Roast in oven 13-15 minutes or until broccoli is lightly browned.

Meanwhile, mix vinegar, honey, basil and oregano in small bowl. Drizzle over roasted vegetables after removing from oven; toss to coat well. Serve immediately.

Place beans in medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer four to six minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain. Return beans to saucepan.

Toss with vinegar, oil, rosemary, thyme, sea salt and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat one to two minutes or until heated through.