The Rub on Spices

spicesFor thousands of years, spices have been sought after for their flavor, medicinal qualities, status, and novelty. And while spices no longer inspire the kind of exploration, trade, and wars they did in the 15th Century, researchers are now finding a different kind of value in these substances. Many spices and herbs, from cinnamon to oregano, cumin to turmeric, have high nutritional value and pack an antioxidant punch.

Roasted Root Veggies with Fresh Herbs

By Rebecca Dienner for The FruitGuys

2–3 cups root vegetables in 1-inch dice (potatoes and sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peels left on; beets and celeriac, scrubbed and peeled)
1 cup onion, chopped
2–3 cloves garlic, minced
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1–2 tablespoons fresh herb leaves (dill, basil, oregano, or sage), chopped

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

Adapted from

8 ounces penne or other short pasta
1 cup roasted pumpkin puree
1 cup veggie broth (or reserved pasta water)
1/2 cup half-and-half (regular, fat-free, or vegan)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh herb options (choose one)
Ӣ 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, sage, or oregano, chopped; OR:
Ӣ 2 tablespoons fresh basil or Italian parsley,
chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnish

Roasted Winter Squash Tart

Recipe by Non-Reactive Pan,

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1½–2 cups winter squash, cut into ¾- to 1-inch cubes (see Cook’s note)
4–8 cloves garlic (more or less to taste)
Olive oil
1–2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or oregano leaves, minced (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Baked Eggplant with Feta Cheese & Tomatoes

Modified from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison,   courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop

1-½ lbs eggplant
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and freshly milled pepper
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2-3 ounces feta cheese
½ teaspoon dried oregano


Uses for Fresh Oregano

Commonly called “the pizza herb,” fresh oregano is especially popular in many Mexican and Mediterranean dishes. Here are some of our favorite uses for it:

  • Added to pasta sauces
  • sprinkled over fresh feta cheese with red pepper flakes
  • with lemon juice and olive oil, brushed on veggies for grilling
  • added to pestos, salad dressings, and soups
  • roughly chopped and sprinkled on salads and pizza


Pasta With Leeks and Fresh Herbs

Tips for Cooking with Oregano