A Family Favorite!
Oregano is such a great spice! You can add it to almost anything including soups, pizza, sandwiches, and eggs.
Just last night I made a “Real Italian Pizza” as inspired by Elizabeth’s Pizza here in Winston Salem. I put olive oil on the crust with some crushed garlic, added tomatoes, onion, green pepper and sprinkled oregano, basil and crushed red pepper to it. Yum!
Oregano can be grown in your yard very easily. Or, for an even more instant use, you can used the dried kind. There are many benefits to using spices, as I talked about last time.
Antioxidants in Oregano:
According to one of my new favorite websites, www.spicesforhealth.com, oregano has a lot of health benefits. I consider myself pretty unbiased, and actually call myself a skeptic, therefore I must tell you that McCormick made the site, introduced me to it and
also sent me free samples of dried spices. That is my disclaimer!
However, I do think (and have said before) that herbs and spices are an awesome way to get extra cancer fighting phytochemicals into your body!
Of all the dried herbs, oregano has one of the highest antioxidant levels. Just one teaspoon of dried oregano leaves has as many antioxidants as three ounces of almonds and ½ cup of chopped asparagus.
Imagine if you had 1/2 cup of asparagus topped with almonds and a teaspoon of oregano. Who knows if it would taste good, but that would be one heck of a cancer fighting vegetable dish!!
The active compound in oregano that appears to have the strong antioxidant activity is Rosmarinic acid. Many of the studies on oregano have focused on the antimicrobial properties that help fight the growth of bacteria and parasites.
Because of the high antioxidant level of oregano, researchers are continuing to explore the use of oregano in various food applications to inhibit bacterial growth. One lab study examined the antimicrobial effects of oregano on the bacteria associated with ulcers.
Adding Oregano to Your Foods:
Here are some easy ways you can enjoy more antioxidant-rich oregano:
- On a grilled cheese sandwich with sliced mozzarella cheese, sliced tomato and ¼ teaspoon Oregano Leaves.
- Sprinkle sautéed cherry or grape tomatoes with Oregano Leaves, Garlic Powder, salt and pepper to taste.
- Perk up frozen pizza by sprinkling Oregano Leaves over pizza right from the oven.
Here is a recipe I’m going to try this weekend called Smashed Potatoes:
- 8 small new potatoes (unpeeled)
- 4 Tablespoons olive or canola at room temperature (or less)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crushed between your palms (or your favorite herb))
- 3 cloves minced garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or
- salt and pepper ground black pepper
- 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon minced chives
- Boil unpeeled potatoes in salted water until tender. Let cool until you can handle them.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil. Place each potato on the baking sheet, cut them open and smash to 1-inch thickness with the bottom of a glass or coffee mug.
- Spread the oil evenly over the tops of the smashed potatoes
- Sprinkle with oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, chives, and paprika. (At this point, the potatoes may be covered and refrigerated for 1 day.)
- Preheat oven to 450 F. Bake smashed potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes until browned. (If made ahead, remove from refrigerator, uncover, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.)
- Serves 8!
I’ll let you know how the recipe is in my next post!
Happy Chinese New Year this weekend!!