When you add spice to food, it’s usually to ramp up the flavor of whatever you’re about to cook, but your purpose for adding a dash is about to change. Why? Because research consistently proves the crazy-good health benefits of these ancient ingredients, in particular, the Golden Spice. Which is why we all need to learn how to use turmeric in our cooking (and in more than just your favorite curry). You see, more than 3000 publications have been published in the past 25 years alone detailing the plant’s healthy properties, but it’s been used for both medical and cooking purposes for nearly 4000 years. As an FYI, the majority of turmeric comes from India, which isn’t surprising since the country’s residents use the spice in both Ayurvedic medicine and cultural traditions like wedding ceremonies.
So what exactly are these health benefits everyone is talking about? To start, curcumin—the yellow pigment in it—is lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties (clinical trials have reported that it’s been helpful in treating both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis). Turmeric is also thought to delay diabetes, repair your brain’s stem cells, and lessen heartburn. And if you needed any more reason to start incorporating this super spice into your diet, we’ve rounded up four of our favorite recipes in which it plays a major role. From breakfast to dessert, learn how to use turmeric in your everyday cooking to reap its impressive benefits.
Morning Glory Power Smoothie
Start your day with this good-for-you breakfast smoothie packed with carrot, banana, dates, and walnuts (plus some other healthy ingredients). A drizzle of vanilla extract gives it a taste similar to a milkshake, while maca powder and the turmeric add tons of nourishment. One of the best parts? You won’t be hungry again until lunchtime.
Golden Sun-Dried Tomato Red Lentil Pasta
This yummy pasta dish is basically power in a bowl with its apple cider vinegar, kale, and ground turmeric. Red lentil spirals soak up the tomato-based sauce, but the turmeric flavor isn’t too strong for the little ones (and they’ll love the cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast).
Turmeric Chickpea Fritters
Want to know how to use turmeric while entertaining? Tasty chickpea fritters are the ultimate party app when you stick a few toothpicks in for easy nibbling. The spice gives the garlic-infused falafel balls a pretty golden hue, while a garlic dill sauce keeps it from being dry. Serve with pita, lettuce cups, and some slices of tomato.
Lemon Turmeric Vegan Cheesecake
You can even add turmeric to your dessert (who knew?). This healthy blueberry lemon cheesecake is dairy-, grain-, and gluten-free, due to its cashews and flax crust. The zestiness comes from a coconut milk elixir containing lemon, honey, and turmeric, but the blueberries more than sweeten it up.
Want to add some turmeric to your diet on the go? Infused teas give you the same antioxidants.
Is there a recipe you love to make featuring the super spice? Be sure to tell us in the comments.
Up next: why healthy comfort food is a thing.