How to Cook with Turmeric (and Mask Its Bitter Taste)


Unless you've tuned out every wellness blog and magazine over the last two years, you're likely to have spied something about turmeric, the "it" spice!

This vibrant, orange spice and root packs a seriously badass and healthy punch. It contains curcumin, which has been found to help prevent cancer by neutralizing free radicals with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may also regulate blood sugar levels, alleviate stress, ward off heart disease, help prevent Alzheimer’s by clearing out brain plaque that builds up with this disease, alleviate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and boost mood.

But let's be honest, as many benefits as it comes with, it doesn't taste all that great.

Disguise the Taste of Turmeric

Thankfully, it's pretty easy to cloak turmeric's bitter bite. Registered Dietician Jeanette Kimszal of Jeanette Kimszal Nutrition offers the scoop-dee-doop: "Use it with other spices to mask the taste. I like to combine it with cumin, garlic, oregano, parsley or cayenne pepper." (Or all of the above!)

In teas and tonics, like this hot toddy (hey, it's kinda a tonic?), use a half teaspoon of turmeric and an extra dollop of honey and lemon wedge squeeze.

I also think the natural root, which you can usually find next to ginger at the grocery store and grate into dishes, has a more mild flavor than the powder form (located in the spice aisle or on Amazon). Grating the root will turn your fingers yellow so wear kitchen gloves like these if you care.

How to Cook with Turmeric

Sprinkle or rub it on literally anything. "I add turmeric to everything from my eggs, salad and veggie dishes to meats, beans and lentils," Kimszal says. In general, it tastes better in cooked, warm foods with other seasonings, or when rolled into a homemade salad dressing. 

Here's a quick turmeric dressing recipe FROM KIMSZAL: 

1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano  
Mix together and douse your salad.

Turmeric's Best Buds

Whenever appropriate when cooking with turmeric, add some black pepper, as the piperine in black pepper boosts your body's absorption of curcumin, the wonder ingredient. Some say that taking it with olive oil also is best since curcumin is fat-soluble.

Alternative Turmeric

While we'd always advocate getting your nutrients via food and spices instead of relying on a supplement, there are turmeric/curcumin supplements, and these obviously don't have any taste. Look for one that contains black pepper (or piperine), like this USDA Certified Organic one from NativOrganicsAlways consult your doctor on what dosage is good for you, especially if you are trying to combat a particular condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis that might require more. 

Want more Badass Food scoop? Head over to our healthy food page and follow us on Instagram for more quick recipes and tips.

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