Top 5 Ways to Use Turmeric + Turmeric Recipes

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Turmeric has multiple health benefits in your day. This anti-inflammatory spice offers a bright color and warm flavor to a range of recipes. Learn more with these Top 5 Ways to Use Turmeric + Turmeric Recipes.

Let’s face it, turmeric is hot! It seems everyone is doing this yellow-orange root in turmeric supplements, golden smoothies, and flavorful cooking. Nearly 4,000 years old, turmeric is native to India and has been important as a spice in both religious ceremonies and traditional and herbal medicine, especially for arthritis and digestive issues. Although widely recognized for its curcumin content and the accompanying health benefits of turmeric, there is much more to this ancient spice, often called Indian saffron, for its less expensive but similarly pleasing color and flavor.

Ground turmeric root from the Old Dubai Souq.

Turmeric comes from the turmeric root. Similar in appearance to ginger root, it’s no surprise that turmeric is related to ginger and also cardamom. When cut, however, fresh turmeric reveals its uniquely bright orange flesh. The fresh root is becoming more common in markets these days, but you can definitely find it in dried form as ground turmeric. Learn more about using fresh turmeric root here. What does turmeric taste like? A key component of the Indian spice curry powder, turmeric is what gives curry powder that gorgeous amber-orange shade and warm, mildly spicy flavor.

Look for fresh turmeric root in supermarkets and natural food stores.

There is a lot of research on turmeric health benefits. A major source of the powerful plant compound, curcumin, turmeric is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, such as helping to prevent metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, heart disease, and even help manage exercise-induced muscle soreness. However, it’s important to ingest it with black pepper so the body can absorb it better. And be aware of over-hyped promises of turmeric online, where it is promised to cure a range of conditions. The scientific research is still emerging on how this spice can help protect your health.

You don’t need to take expensive turmeric supplements—you can enjoy it in cooking! Try to include turmeric daily in a range of recipes, from cereals, coffee, soups, curry dishes, baked goods, and even desserts. However, if you are interested in taking supplements, the best turmeric supplement should come from a reputable company that offers third party validation of products to ensure they include the appropriate levels of ingredients and are free of contaminants. Consumerlab.com recently analyzed turmeric spice, and found Frontier Co-Op Organic Turmeric to have lower levels of lead than other products on store shelves. Consumerlab.com also gave top ratings for Kirkland Signature Turmeric, in terms of dose found in product and price. 

Fresh, turmeric root can last in your fridge for a few weeks. All you have to do is peel it and add it to your favorite dishes by either chopping it or finely shredding it. When you use it in its fresh form, turmeric is more mild, so you can use a whole root (about 3 inches long) in a single recipe. If you don’t have fresh turmeric, you can enjoy dried, ground turmeric in its powdered form in a variety of recipes.

Golden Milk

I love to use turmeric in so many recipes, including soups, stews, stir-fries, baked goods, and more. Check out my recipe for Golden Milk (below), which is a spicy, aromatic plant-based turmeric latte featuring turmeric and other spices. Follow along with me on my video for this recipe, too. And I’m sharing my top 5 ways to use turmeric + top turmeric recipes below. Go golden with turmeric!

Top 5 Ways to Use Turmeric + Turmeric Recipes

Try my Golden Turmeric Smoothie–an antioxidant powerhouse of potent ingredients.

1. Blend Turmeric into Smoothies

Bring an instant burst of sunshine to your day when you add turmeric to your morning smoothie. Or for that matter morning snack, or light meal on-the-go. It’s so easy to whip it together with favorite fruits and veggies like peaches, melon, spinach, and avocado into a turmeric smoothie—anything goes! Give my Golden Turmeric Smoothie a go!

Vegan Glow Bowl

2. Make Grain Bowls Glow with Turmeric

Stir a couple teaspoons of turmeric into the elements of your next grain bowl, including the simmering rice or whole grain of choice, roasted vegetables, or even sauce, to add a punch of rich color, flavor, and nutrients to your meal. This Vegan Glow Bowl above does just that! One of my favorite ways to highlight turmeric is to create a bowl with turmeric rice or quinoa or farro as the base. Bowls are the perfect strategy for simple meal prep: Gather your ingredients—a whole grain foundation, seasonal produce, plant proteins, and a flavorful sauce—and you’re good to go!

You’ll love this Fresh Turmeric Vinaigrette on salads, veggies, and wraps.

3. Freshen Up Greens

Whisk turmeric, rich in anti-inflammatory compounds delivered in a warm, earthy flavor, into vinaigrettes and sauces to drizzle over salads, sautéed veggies, wraps, and even to marinade tofu. A simple blend of olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings of choice is all it takes to add this unexpected, but oh so pleasing magic to your meals.

Give fresh turmeric root a try in this recipe for Carnival Squash Soup with Fresh Turmeric.  

4. Stir Turmeric into Soups

It’s become second nature for me to add ground turmeric to soups and stews simmering on my stove for a dash of healthful curcumin compounds, a burst of color, and its signature earthy warm flair. But anytime I have fresh turmeric on hand, I grate the root (about 3 inches) and use it instead. And I like to save a bit to use as a gorgeous garnish to serve! If you don’t have fresh turmeric on hand—no worries; use ground turmeric instead.

This recipe for Scrambled Turmeric Tofu with Mushrooms and Greens is sure to become a go-to favorite.

5. Scrambled Turmeric with Tofu

There’s no missing the eggs when turmeric joins the scramble. The iconic pairing of crumbled tofu and turmeric creates a delicious scrambled turmeric tofu, which is a dish you’ll always find on vegan menus in restaurants and home kitchens, as well as in vegan cookbooks—and for good reason! The flavor combination is irresistibly rich and savory. Add in a vegetable component like earthy greens and tart tomato for an even more complex result.

Check out my crash course on using turmeric root in my blog here.

Get to know more about how to use plant foods in the following guides:

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