Happy Monday everyone! It’s that time again for another Recipe Redux!
This month’s theme:
Get Your Dehydrator On
Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket – dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.
Nick’s parents actually bought him a dehydrator a couple years ago for Christmas. We’ve used it several times to make snacks such as dried apples, kale chips, and dried pineapple. I’ve recently started to use it for dehydrating herbs. Usually, I just hang them up in bundles under my cabinets (see my tutorial for How To Dry Your Herbs Using Corkboard), but I was recently gifted a huge amount of basil from my mom’s garden and it wouldn’t fit under my cabinets. I resorted to using the food dehydrator, and it worked wonderfully! My herbs were completely dried within a few hours, and they ground up far more easily than when they’re hung dry.
I was so excited to see the theme for this month’s Recipe Redux. I knew right away that I wanted to talk about how I preserve home grown herbs and my favorite way to use them!
Growing in my herb garden right now is basil, rosemary, mint, thyme and oregano.
All five of these herbs can be dried using a food dehydrator. The thicker the leaves, the more time it will take to completely dry them out.
If your herbs turn brown or grey after dehydrating, this is normal. It does not affect taste.
I like to keep my dried herbs in these cute little glass bottles. They’re actually Nick’s Grandma’s from years ago. They are the perfect size to keep right by the stove when I’m cooking, and they’re a nice reminder of Nick’s Grandma.
My favorite way to use freshly dried herbs is in an easy marinara sauce! There’s actually a funny story behind this one. When I first started dating my boyfriend, he despised chunky tomato sauce. He wouldn’t touch any spaghetti sauce that came from a jar, for the fear of onion and chunks. When asked what he used for spaghetti sauce, he said cans of plain tomato sauce. With no seasonings. Basically pureed tomato.
Now, bachelors living by themselves typically don’t have many seasonings on hand. He had no basil, no garlic, no onion powder… just salt and pepper. My next trip to the store I loaded him up on some seasonings and taught him how to add some flavor to his tomato sauce.
I always groaned when he made me use this tomato-puree-like-sauce. I grew up on Classico and Prego. But what I realized, as I started to read the labels on those classic sauces, is that they’re loaded with sodium, sugar and added preservatives. No thanks.
Now I may almost be a “smooth sauce” convert. Not only is it free from added sodium, sugar and preservatives, but you can customize the seasonings to include whatever you want. For those watching out for excess sodium in their diet, this is awesome. Regular spaghetti sauce has 400-600mg of sodium per 1/2 cup serving. Unless you add salt to this, it contains only 40mg of sodium for 1/2 cup.
It’s a simple equation: 1 jar of no sodium added tomato sauce + any of the seasonings below, to your taste! You could even add a can of no sodium added diced tomatoes if you don’t have a chunky tomato hater.
I love using this sauce for any recipe that calls for spaghetti sauce– especially Skinny Taste’s Spinach Lasagna Rolls. Italian seasoning is great to use on vegetables, chicken, and red potatoes.
What herbs do you like to dehydrate? Any favorite recipes that you use them in?
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Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!