For this week’s Plant-Based Monday, we’re featuring a kitchen necessity: Garlic. Our kitchens are never without it, so we had to dedicate a plant-based Monday to one of our favorites.
Garlic is unique in that it is actually considered both an herb and a vegetable. It belongs to the Allium plant family, which also contains plants like onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. If you’ve had most of these plants, you know that they all have quite a bit in common when it comes to flavor. Garlic is best known for its pungent and spicy flavor when raw. Once it’s heated and cooked down a bit, garlic brings a delicious sweet and savory flavor.
Since garlic is typically consumed in such small amounts, it does not typically serve as a major source of essential nutrients. However, the Allium family has been used in traditional medicine practices for thousands of years. Garlic is actually one of the earliest documented plants used by humans for the treatment of diseases. It was found to be recorded in ancient medical texts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India. Garlic has been linked with properties that may help lower cholesterol, reduce risk of heart disease, and improve digestive health.
Anyone ever been intimidated by garlic? Do you peel first? Do you need a garlic press? Should you microwave it? There are many, many different techniques to preparing garlic. We typically take the old fashioned route by peeling out one clove (or whatever amount of garlic needed), lay it flat on a cutting board, turn our knife flat, and smash the clove with the side of the knife. When you pick up the clove, the shell should be just a quick peel off from there. When choosing garlic at the store or farmer’s market, aim to choose firm, tight, heavy and dry bulbs.
Even better: a whole bulb of garlic can last up to six months. But once you peel those cloves, you only have about 7 days in the refrigerator.
We love adding garlic to many recipes or even just roasting up a whole head garlic. Wrap it up in some foil, pop it in the oven at 400F for about 30-40 minutes, and viola! Use this as you would butter and spread on breads or top on potatoes. Our other best garlic recipes are as follows:
- Hasselback Garlic Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Garlic Massaged Kale Salad
- Roasted Garlic Beet Hummus with Garlic Scapes
Now that we’ve got you salivating, let us know what your favorite garlic uses are! What are some of your favorite recipes to throw garlic into? Let us know what you think in the comments below!