Farmers markets and smartly added spices can yield excellent seasonal side dishes such as this mixed vegetable grill.
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Farmers markets and smartly added spices can yield excellent seasonal side dishes such as this mixed vegetable grill.

Spices, herbs bring out best in veggies

Family Features

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We all want to eat more vegetables, and when farmers markets and grocery stores are filled with fresh, colorful produce, it’s easier than ever. From juicy red tomatoes to 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,” Wendy Bazilian, a registered dietitian, said. “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 such as zucchini and carrots, Bazilian recommended 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,” she said. “Roasting vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes creates a caramelized flavor that pairs deliciously with garlic, basil, oregano, honey and white vinegar. ... Or, let the natural flavor of green beans shine by steaming them with rosemary and thyme.”

For more seasoning ideas and recipes, go to



Mixed Vegetable Grill

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 table-spoons olive oil

6 cups assorted cut-up vegetables, such as asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, red onion and small sweet potato (see cook’s note)

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.

Cook’s note: If using sweet potatoes, pierce them with fork and microwave two to three minutes on high or until tender.

Yields 6 servings.



Roasted Broccoli And Tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

12 ounces broccoli florets

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

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.

Yields 4 servings.



Herbed Green Beans

1 pound trimmed green beans

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon finely crushed rosemary leaves

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place beans in medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 4-6 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 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

Yields 4 servings.