Being Latina, I naturally gravitate towards ways to incorporate flavors from home into my meals. Latin food is always flavorful, and if you don’t usually cook with Latin flavors in mind, these ideas will offer you easy ways to mix things up in the kitchen. Here are my top 5 ways to incorporate Latin flavors into your next meal, easily and simply!
Numero 5: Chimichurri
Chimichurri is a traditional Argentine condiment that typically accompanies any grilled meats. It is incredibly herbaceous and tangy, and usually made with finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, onion, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar. This low cal condiments packs a huge flavor punch for not a lot of effort. You can use it as a condiment for grilled meat and seafood or a delish marinade for chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or fish! Get my chimichurri recipe now.
Numero 4: Tropical Fruit Salsa
A tropical fruit salsa is a super easy, flavorful and fulfilling way to add fruits and veggies to any meal! It may seem indulgent, but fresh salsa is actually a healthy choice, fat-free and loaded with flavor. It’s inexpensive, especially when the ingredients are home-grown or in season. Salsa can also help you meet your goal of working more fruits and vegetables into a healthful and delicious diet. It’s low in calories and high in fiber. You also get quite an antioxidant punch of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals: compounds, found in fruits and vegetables, that help prevent cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Some of my favorite tropical fruits to use in salsa are pineapples, mangoes, papayas and avocado (yup, avocado is a fruit!) Get my salsa recipe here.
Numero 3: Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a great substitute for water when cooking rice, soups and stews! Many Latin cultures cook with coconut milk. Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a popular choice with vegans and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking. Try making rice with my Homemade Coconut Milk recipe, and see how delish it can be!
Numero 2: Pico De Gallo
My pico de gallo recipe is a staple in my kitchen. It’s just chopped tomato, chilis, onion and cilantro, tossed with some acid. Sometimes, when I want a salad, but don’t have anything but tomatoes and onions in the veggie drawer, I’ll throw this together, leaving the tomato and onion extra chunky, and serve it as the veggie/salad dish on a plate. It’s a great topping for meats, fish, grilled veggies, burgers, tacos, salads, rice and beans, soup, eggs, pretty much anything. And here’s a bonus, if you have leftover pico de gallo, mix it with some ripe mashed avocados, and voilà…GUACAMOLE!
Numero 1: Adobo Seasoning
I don’t know a Latin/Hispanic person who didn’t grow up eating food seasoned with Adobo. This versatile spice blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano is a staple in many Latin kitchens, but the popular brands feature MSG, not something I’m keen on consuming willingly. My homemade blend captures all the flavors of the bottled stuff, without any unnecessary additives! Sprinkle it on meats, seafood, eggs, and more, there’s nothing that you can’t kick up a notch with a sprinkle of my Adobo recipe!
Happy (Latin) Cooking!