Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family. It has a warm, earthy, peppery and bitter flavor that adds a beautiful color, taste, and aroma to many food and drink recipes.
Native to India and Southeast Asia, the bright yellow spice has been used for centuries both as a spice and for medicinal purposes. Turmeric can be found fresh, as a paste, or ground into a powder. Use it in everything from marinades to sauces, soups to smoothies, and even coffee!
What is turmeric good for?
The pungent, yellow spice is good for adding amazing flavor to a wide variety of recipes. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and other health benefits.
What does it taste like?
Turmeric has a deep earthy flavor with a hint of pepper. It's a bit pungent and bitter. On its own, the flavor can be quite strong, but when paired with other flavors, it's amazing! Popular flavor pairings are coconut, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, and other warm spices and fresh herbs.
Turmeric itself is not spicy; however, it is often used in dishes that include spices that are, such as curry.
How to use turmeric
Turmeric is such a versatile spice! Used in both savory and sweet dishes and beverages, try it in any of these 10 ways:
- Breakfast - add it into your favorite egg dishes like scrambled eggs, omelettes, frittatas, even breakfast bakes! You can also mix it into oatmeal or yogurt along with other spices for a savory breakfast.
- Snacks - use it as a seasoning sprinkled on popcorn, make crackers, or energy balls!
- Smoothies - include it for added health benefits in recipes like this Skin Boosting Blueberry Avocado Smoothie.
- Drinks - make up a hot cup of turmeric ginger tea, sip on some golden milk, even put it in your morning coffee!
- Veggies - coat veggies with olive oil and turmeric then roast in the oven for a flavorful side dish.
- Grains - mix it in to add flavor to rice, quinoa, and couscous. It's delicious in this Lemon Rice recipe!
- Soups - cozy up with a comforting bowl of cauliflower, lentil, or ginger soup flavored with turmeric.
- Curry - turmeric is a staple in curry powder, make your own and use it in recipes like this Vegetable Curry Casserole.
- Desserts - use it in a wide variety of dessert recipes including ice cream, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and pudding.
- Condiments - give a flavor boost to salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, hummus, or butter by adding ground turmeric. Try it in this Pasta Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing!
Easy recipes to make with turmeric
- Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing
- Indian Spiced Meatball Curry Bowls
- Roasted Indian Cauliflower Bowls
- Shawarma Seasoning
- Moroccan Seasoning
- Tofu Scramble Burrito Bowls
Is turmeric good for you?
Yes, turmeric is good for you! This spice contains compounds called curcuminoids. One of these curcuminoids is curcumin which offers antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
One tablespoon of the powder contains 29 calories, almost one gram of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 5 milligrams of iron, and 6 grams of carbohydrates. It also packs in minerals like potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.
What are the health benefits?
While turmeric has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years in Asian and Middle Eastern regions, only recently has it become popular in our Western world.
Multiple studies have shown that the compounds in turmeric have a variety of health benefits. Our bodies tend to metabolize these compounds too quickly. So in order to get the most from the spice, pair it with black pepper, which helps to improve absorption. You can also find supplements that give you all the benefits.
Its main superpower is the anti-inflammatory properties. According to Healthline, studies show that inflammation affects many conditions including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even depression. By reducing inflammation these chromic issues can be prevented and even improved.
Is it good for your skin?
The active component in turmeric, curcumin, is said to have benefits for healthy skin. Curcumin helps to reduce inflammation which helps to protect the skin, in addition to combating free radicals. These properties have led many to believe that it is good for skin conditions including skin cancer, psoriasis, and acne.
There are a number of ways to use this spice for healthy skin. Some are offered orally, but since curcumin metabolizes so quickly it's hard for your body to absorb beneficial amounts. Topical creams, oils, and tinctures have shown to be more effective.
Where to buy turmeric
Ground turmeric is available at most grocery stores in the spice aisle. The paste and fresh forms could be a little more difficult to find.
Your best bet is to check your local international food market, or health food store. Amazon also has a variety of options, like the turmeric paste pictured above.