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7 Ways to Enhance the Flavor of Your Meals

Contributors: Sarah Klemm, RDN, CD, LDN

Published: March 11, 2019

Reviewed: February 22, 2023

Flavored Vegetables - 7 Ways to Enhance the Flavor of Your Meals

Cooking at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. The foods you enjoy are likely the ones you eat the most often, so make flavor a priority when preparing nutritious, satisfying meals.

To maximize the flavor and nutrition of a food, start with high-quality ingredients, like tender cuts of meat, fresh fruit that’s free of bruises, and frozen vegetables that are free of ice chunks. It's also important to handle and store foods properly. Poor storage can destroy the flavor and quality of food.

Overcooking can also destroy flavor and nutrients. Try gentle cooking techniques like steaming to help retain nutrients, flavor, color.

Try these seven simple techniques to enhance the flavors of food.

  • Intensify the flavors of meat, poultry and fish with high-heat cooking techniques such as pan-searing, grilling or broiling, which help to brown meat and add flavor. Just don't overcook, burn or char meat.
  • Roast veggies in a very hot (450°F) oven or grill for a sweet, smoky flavor. Before popping them into the oven, brush or spray lightly with an oil that has a high smoke point and sprinkle with herbs.
  • Caramelize sliced onions to bring out their natural sweetness by cooking them slowly over low heat in a bit of oil. Use them to make a rich, dark sauce for meat or poultry.
  • Pep it up with peppers! Use red, green and yellow peppers of all varieties — sweet, hot and dried. Or, add a dash of hot pepper sauce.
  • Add a tangy taste with citrus juice or grated citrus peel: lemon, lime or orange. Acidic ingredients help lift and balance flavor.
  • Use small amounts of ingredients with bold flavors such as pomegranate seeds, chipotle pepper or cilantro.
  • Give a flavor burst with condiments such as horseradish, flavored mustard, chutney, wasabi, bean purees, tapenade and salsas of all kinds.

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