BENEFITS OF CURRY SPICES + RECIPE ROUND-UP

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Curry is one of the most versatile spice blends out there, being a strong player in both its flavor and health game - but not everyone is keen to reaching for it right away. Whether you’re unfamiliar with it, aren’t sure how you'd like to use it or need to refresh your knowledge of the spice blend, we’ve got you covered!

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Indian, Thai and Middle Eastern cultures have all utilized curry spices for centuries for both flavor and medicinal purposes. While the specific spices can vary from blend to blend, the common ones found – Turmeric, Cardamom, Cumin, Coriander, Ginger, Mustard seeds with possible additions such as Fennel seeds, Paprika, Clove, Fenugreek, Black and Red Pepper – have great health benefits. The impressive span of benefits is why we wanted to highlight this special spice blend as well as give some inspiration for seasonally appropriate recipes to help you start incorporating it more into your diet. Before we get into the recipes, let’s discuss exactly what some of these spices can do for your health and what their hype is all about:


Turmeric – We don’t need to give this superfood, anti-inflammatory powerhouse much of an introduction - by now the wellness world has made us all aware we should be eating more turmeric. This little root fights all forms of inflammation in the body, can help prevent cancer, reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, aid in regulating blood sugar levels, plus support both bone and liver health.

Coriander – Another name for cilantro seeds, coriander is a super effective herb to aid in detoxification being as it is an antiseptic and a natural antibiotic that can fight off bacterial infections. Some studies also show it can be useful in removing toxic metals from the body and preventing or reducing effects of poisoning.

Cardamom – A traditional Ayurvedic herb, Cardamom can be used for treating gastrointestinal disorders, specifically helping symptoms of acidity, cramping, nausea, gas and bloating. The herb has also been used to treat dental infections and can improve heart health, lower cholesterol and boost circulation.

Cumin – Cumin is quite potent spice that can strongly aid digestion; it contains the compound Cuminaldehyde which activates the salivary glands in our mouth (where digestion starts) as well as Thymol, which stimulates the secretion of acid, bile and enzymes all necessary for proper digestion. Additionally, the spice can improve cognitive function, help skin ailments and boost immunity.

Ginger – Another digestion and anti-inflammatory powerhouse, Ginger is one of the most effective natural treatments for motion sickness, nausea and vomiting, cramps, indigestion, gas and bloating. Its most important compound, Gingerol, is responsible for its high antioxidant levels that can fight inflammation, lower cholesterol and improve immunity.

Cinnamon – Many people use cinnamon without realizing it can truly benefit their health. Specifically, this spice can help improve the body’s response to Insulin; helping to lower blood sugar levels, prevent insulin resistance and Diabetes. Its also a great source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Fennel Seeds – One of the most well known natural treatments for relieving gas and indigestion, Fennel seeds are another addition that aid the digestive system. Fennel has also been used to help regulate PMS symptoms and aid women in breastfeeding by increasing milk production.

 

Recipes

Typically the word curry translates to sauce, but this spice blend has potential to be much more than a base to a typical curry dish. Here we’ve compiled 10 recipes to help you rethink just what curry can do. In addition, many of these are perfect for the fall season, providing warming meals with those comfort-food feelings we all crave this time of year.

Curry Cashew Cauliflower Soup

Image By: @NutritionStripped

Image By: @NutritionStripped

This super creamy vegan soup uses simple ingredients to let that curry flavor shine through, and it's easily adaptable to your preference of spice-level. Plus, with the cold air kicking in a warming soup is perfect for an easy week-night dinner.

 

Red Curry Salmon with Avocado Crema 

Image By: @Nocrumbsleft

Image By: @Nocrumbsleft

Fish seasonings are often repetitive and lack excitement - but that's not the case here. The spicy curry is complemented by a rich avocado cream that elevates your medicare salmon fillet to a whole new level. Using simple ingredients this recipe is also Paleo and Whole30 approved!   

 

Thai Red Curry Cauliflower Fried Rice

Image By: @Runningonrealfood

Image By: @Runningonrealfood

The perfect side dish and alternative to take-out, this cauliflower fried rice is loaded with vegetables and spices. Serve it up with your protein-source of choice and you're set for a healthy, fiber-filled, low-carb meal that won't leave you feeling skimped of flavor.  

 

Turkey Meatballs in Red Curry Sauce

image By: @TheModernproper

image By: @TheModernproper

Meatballs don't need to be cooked in tomato sauce and served over spaghetti - who knew!? Using Turkey meat keeps these on the lighter side and with a milder flavor lets you fully enjoy the creamy curry sauce. For a complete meal we suggest serving them over basmati rice, steamed vegetables or even rice noodles if you want to keep the pasta-and-meatballs feel.   

 

Tandoori Chicken

image by: @Wholesisters

image by: @Wholesisters

Shining again as the marinade, this super simple curry spiced chicken will make an easy weeknight dinner and be much more exciting than your usual chicken. Serve them up with some mixed vegetables and quinoa, and you've got yourself a perfectly balanced meal.  

 

Golden Tofu Curry

image by: @thesimpleveganista

image by: @thesimpleveganista

While we're focusing on using curry spices in different ways, we can't forget some more traditional-style uses. This tofu curry is easy, quick, and packed with flavor. Here its served with black rice, but feel free to replace that with any carb-source of your choice - or even go without, this can be plenty filling on it own! 

 

Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry

image by: @soniathehealthyfoodie

image by: @soniathehealthyfoodie

Continuing with the more typical uses, this curry is an all-veggie, fiber-packed bowl of warmth. Using butternut squash makes it perfect for the season, and the heartiness will be sure to satisfy your comfort food cravings without going on overboard. 

 

Curried Vegan Shepherds Pie

image by: @theendlessmeal

image by: @theendlessmeal

Speaking of comfort food, Shepherd's Pie is as old school as it gets - but this recipe really shakes things up. Not only is it a vegan version, it uses sweet potatoes instead of regular, and the curry spices are totally different than the typical staple. Its time to put your sweatpants on and check out this recipe.  

 

Curry Mason Jar Zoodles - 2 ways!

image by: @healthynibblesandbits

image by: @healthynibblesandbits

Changing gears here, this meal is a bit on the lighter side and is perfect for a warming lunch as the weather gets chillier. Prep everything in a mason jar ahead of time, then simply add hot water when you're ready to eat. With two versions, featuring different types of curry mixtures, making these zoodles will keep things fun and get you out of any boring lunch rut.  

 

Warm Curry-spiced Autumn Salad

image by: @thelittleplantation

image by: @thelittleplantation

Lastly, a salad perfect for fall featuring everything you'd want - pumpkin, pomegranate seeds, and curry spices, too! Whether you're going to a potluck, family dinner, or looking for something good to meal prep for the week, this salad will be sure to please!