Oregano is probably my favorite spice. Except for cumin. Seriously, when I get cumin out of the cabinet, I get this giddy, excited feeling—I’m going to taste cumin! Cumin is like when you’re craving a really amazing piece of chocolate and you actually get a really amazing piece of chocolate.
Oregano does not make me feel this way BUT I would be lost without it. It’s like the humble bay leaf, which I talked about in How To Clean Out the Fridge for Dinner. It just makes the dish. It goes with everything. I use it in the BBQ spice rub I use to make my BBQ Beef “Brisket,” which is one of the meal plan dinner recipes (and it is uh-mazing. Unless you’re from Texas and you grew up eating brisket. My Texas friends said it was too tomato-y. I’ll never be good enough).
Anyway, oregano. I use it in Italian food, of course—it’s a necessity for making your own tomato sauce, which you should do, because it’s cheaper and super easy. By the same token it’s fabulous in just about any red soup; oregano and tomatoes go really well together. It also makes the most delicious Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette. Sometimes I use it when I’m roasting a chicken, especially if I can get it fresh. I love to sprinkle it on fried eggs, like in the recipe for Cumin Fried Egg with Fennel, Squash & Kale (oops, there’s cumin again), and in my Spinach Mushroom Breakfast Strata, which is a cheesy, eggy bit of deliciousness that is actually pretty good for you and which you can get with any of the meal plans that contain breakfast.
OK, you get the point. Oregano is versatile. And if you don’t have it in your spice cabinet… Well. I still love you. But you should go out and get it right now. Don’t even finish reading this post.
Just kidding. I’m not done telling you about oregano! Like most spices, it’s so good for you. Oregano is a strong antibacterial, especially when condensed into an essential oil. It also has antioxidant properties.
Remember to buy organic, non-irradiated oregano so you can get the maximum benefit from these properties. It’s also got high levels of iron, fiber, vitamin K, and omega 3 fatty acids.
OK, you’re bored. Time for a recipe!
Tomato Sauce for Pasta or Pizza
- 1 28- oz can low-sodium diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes optional
- 1 tsp fennel seed optional
- fresh sage basil, and/or parsley (optional)
- Put all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on medium-low heat for 1 hour.
- For a meat sauce, add ground beef about halfway through, or roll meatballs and cook in sauce.
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