Enhancing our cooking as well as our health is the key for the “aromatic vegetables”. They offer deep flavor and aroma to our foods, which is why they are so often included in recipes. Garlic, onions, carrots and celery are the most common “aromatics” and they create a deep flavor base for many dishes.
Garlic, for instance promotes a healthy immune system, has cancer-fighting agents, and may reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries. It adds distinct flavor to our dishes while filling the house with that great smell.
Carrots are a good source of fiber and nutrients such as potassium, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and B. They support our immune system and eye health.
Celery offers a deep savory flavor when cooked and provides Vitamins A, C and K as well as potassium. It also provides quercetin, a flavonoid that delivers antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and heart-protecting properties.
Onions and shallots contain high concentrations of allyl sulfides that benefit our heart and overall health. They are also a good source of inulin, a little known compound that improves our digestive system, along with Vitamin C, fiber, folate and manganese.
Ginger is used in more specific cuisine, not across the board, but adding a few recipes that use ginger in our weekly menu brings additional flavor variety and more health benefits. Ginger is rich in antioxidants, magnesium and potassium.
It is best to use the aromatics fresh for better texture and flavor. Chop some ahead of time and store for several days in the refrigerator. Mirepoix, the famous French trinity of flavor, is the basis for many soups, stews and roasted dishes. Use 2 parts onion to 1 part each of carrots and celery. Sauté and soften first, adding other ingredients as the recipe directs.