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Cauliflower and rice curry made with Navitas Organics organic turmeric powder.
November 9, 2023

How to Use Turmeric: 12 Ways to Harness Turmeric's Benefits

There’s lots to love about turmeric, from the spice’s fetching saffron-yellow color to its flavor-enhancing properties and health benefits. Here’s how to sprinkle more into your life.

By: Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

There’s lots to love about turmeric, from the spice’s fetching saffron-yellow color to its flavor-enhancing properties and health benefits. Here’s how to sprinkle more into your life.

Long used in Indian and Caribbean cooking, and as a coloring in mustard, turmeric is certainly buzzy right now and starting to show up in everything from juices to energy bars. Turmeric is getting a lot of attention because the main bioactive compound in it, curcumin, has been shown in research papers to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Increased intake of curcumin in turmeric has been linked to better brain functioning, improved heart health, lower risk for certain cancers, and even improved exercise recovery.

A cousin of ginger, superfood turmeric is also a root (actually, a rhizome) with a deep golden color and peppery flavor with slight notes of citrus. More recently, fresh turmeric root is becoming increasingly available in the produce section of many grocery and specialty stores. Still, the most common form and the type that offers the most flexibility in cooking is turmeric powder, made from dried and ground turmeric root. It’s turmeric that lends curry powder its yellow hue. Navitas Organics Turmeric Powder is grown and produced under organic and ethical standards and contains high amounts of healing curcumin.

Whether you are new to turmeric or already a turmeric superfan, it's good to know there are plenty of ways to put the spice to good use in the kitchen that go beyond curry. And the best way to reap the long-term benefits of turmeric is to consume it every day in foods or beverages instead of just using it occasionally to add a pop of color to dishes. Here are 12 creative ways to incorporate gorgeous turmeric into your daily routine. Just make sure not to spill it on your good dish towels—it definitely stains!

1. Toss it With Oven-blasted Veggies

Turmeric’s slightly warm and peppery flavor works especially well when dusted over roasted carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, and beets. An opportunity to give your veggies an even greater nutrition boost.

2. Scramble it Up

Sprinkle turmeric into your scrambled eggs or a tofu scramble. It offers a familiar color to these dishes, so it will go undetected if you are trying to get picky kids to eat more turmeric.

3. Make Golden Milk Overnight Oats

These turmeric-tinged anti-inflammatory overnight oats are a delicious and nutritious way to start the day. 

INGREDIENTS
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Navitas Organics Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp. ginger powder
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. salt
1¼ cups plant-based milk of choice
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup ground flax
1 cup chopped mango
2 Tbsp. coconut flakes or chips
2 Tbsp. unsalted shelled pistachios

DIRECTIONS
1. In a medium bowl, combine honey, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and salt. Add 2 tablespoons boiled water and stir to dissolve honey. Stir in milk.

2. Place 2/3 cup oats and 2 tablespoons flax in each of two wide-mouth jars or cereal bowls. Add half the milk mixture to each jar or bowl and stir until all the oats are moist. Top with mango, coconut and pistachios. Seal jars shut or cover bowl and chill overnight.

Makes 2 servings

4. Brew Up Turmeric Tea

For a hot beverage that offers both comfort and health, you can’t beat a steaming cup of turmeric tea. In a mug, stir 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric into 1 teaspoon honey. Add 1 cup of boiling water. Add a few grinds of black pepper, and stir to combine. You can also add a splash of fresh lemon juice or milk.

5. Blend Into Smoothies

The slightly pungent flavor of a pinch of turmeric is usually well-masked in smoothies. Here’s a good blend: Add 1 cup milk of choice, 1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder, 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, and 1 cup frozen mango cubes to a blender container and blend until smooth.

6. Make Power Balls

These turmeric-spiked energy balls will give your day a boost!

INGREDIENTS
1½ cups unsalted cashews
2 cups dried apricots
½ cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup Navitas Organics Hemp Seeds
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. grated or finely minced fresh ginger
½ tsp. Navitas Organics Turmeric Powder
tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Place cashews in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add apricots, coconut, honey, lime juice, ginger, turmeric powder and salt.

2. Process until it mixture clumps together. Using moist hands, form mixture into 1-inch balls.

Makes about 24 balls

7. Add it to Grains

Turmeric brings color and exciting flavor to a pot of quinoa, rice and other grains. For each cup of grain used, add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder to the pot of simmering grains.

8. Sauce it Up

This vibrant sauce can vivify everything from fish and pan-seared tofu to grain bowls and roasted vegetables.

INGREDIENTS
⅓ cup raw cashews
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. fresh turmeric or 1 tsp. Navitas Organics Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp. cayenne powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Juice of ½ lime

DIRECTIONS
1. In bowl, place cashews, cover with water, and let soak at least 2 hours.

2. In small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; heat 1 minute. Add ginger and heat 30 seconds. Stir in turmeric, cayenne, salt, and black pepper; heat 30 seconds.

3. Drain cashews and place in a blender with 1/2 cup water, lime juice, and the contents of skillet. Blend until very smooth.

9. Make it a Staple of Soups

A bowl of lentil or chicken soup feels even more warming to the body when it’s tinged with golden turmeric. If you're meat-free or prefer hearty root veggies, try this Ginger Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup Recipe for a cozy meal that's naturally sweet, has just the right amount of turmeric spice and is unbelievably creamy! 

10. Dress it Up

Turmeric makes a powerful addition to salad dressings. Here’s a good mix: Whisk together 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, juice of 1 orange, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

11. Make a Batch of Golden Hummus

This riff on the classic dip is a perfect dipper for veggies or for use as a sandwich spread.

INGREDIENTS
1 (14-ounce can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium lemon, juiced
3 Tbsp. tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh grated turmeric or 1 tsp. Navitas Organics Turmeric Powder
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil

DIRECTIONS
Add drained chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, turmeric, ground turmeric, paprika, salt, and black pepper to a blender or food processor and blend on high until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides needed. Blend in olive oil to create a more creamy texture.

 

12. Bake With it

Turmeric powder can add extra health benefits and surprising color to baked goods like sweet breads and muffins. You can also add some to your Sunday morning pancake batter!

Perfect Pairing: To supercharge your turmeric, combine its use with a bit of black pepper. That's because pepper can help boost the body's ability to absorb curcumin by increasing its bioavailability—an example of where two heads are better than one!

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