It’s easy to get stuck in a routine of cooking the same meals week after week, which can start to make even your favorite dishes seem boring. Break out of the rut with these great ways to incorporate new flavors into any meal.

 

Go Meatless

 

Even if it’s only one day a week, leaving the meat out of meals lets you get creative with ingredients like whole grains, legumes and vegetables. Try something different such as a shepherd’s pie made with lentils instead of beef or a meat-free chili packed with beans. You’ll get a chance to enjoy new flavors while getting a boost of healthy nutrients at the same time.

 

Give Ethnic Foods a Try

 

Step out of your “comfort zone” and try dishes from cuisines you don’t usually eat. Spicy Indian curries bring new tastes to the table while Asian dishes incorporate savory ingredients that produce the elusive flavor known as umami. Hearty Italian cuisine mixes pasta with everything from tomato sauce and olives to greens and pine nuts.

 

Try Exotic Spices

 

Explore the spice rack beyond the salt and pepper with spices that you’ve never tried before. Chinese five spice has a unique flavor that enhances stir fries. Cumin, coriander and turmeric are staples of Indian cooking. African dishes combine sweet and savory with cayenne and cinnamon. Thyme, marjoram, basil and oregano abound in Mediterranean cooking. For the heat lovers in your family, try southwestern favorites such as chipotle chili powder or hot sauce made with habanero peppers.

 

Treat Yourself

 

The next time you’re out shopping, visit a specialty food store and splurge on something new. Hit up an olive bar for gourmet olives in many enticing varieties to bring a touch of tangy, salty flavor to salads and main dishes. Condiments such as chutney and tampande take you beyond the basic mustard and mayonnaise to new culinary territory.

 

Make Salad Exciting

 

You know it’s important to eat more vegetables, so why not incorporate a salad into your daily dinners? A bed of leafy greens can be a blank canvas that you can fill with whatever flavors strike your fancy. Whip up a homemade dressing with Dijon mustard for something tangy or a balsamic base for a mellow finish.

 

It only takes a few simple changes to bring new and exciting flavors to your dinner. Seeking out new tastes helps mix up your meals and can lead to the discovery of new family favorites.

 

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