More than just delicious, this simple seed blend acts as an anti-inflammatory and supports kidney function. Add it to roasted eggplant for an extra dose of flavor, aroma, and health!

Nearly every culture around the world has a long history of blending spices together. Common culinary spice combinations — like the simple Seed Blend below — are dynamic and often more palatable than one ingredient alone. That doesn’t mean you can’t use a single spice to make things more delicious — I do it all the time. But, when you blend spices together in a dish, the health-boosting possibilities are greater.

photo of seed blend and roasted eggplant ingredients

Photo © Michael Piazza Photography/SAINT LUCY Represents, excerpted from Spice Apothecary

Seed Blend

Tiny seeds can pack quite a punch! They are wonderfully aromatic and warming and can create bold flavors. Seed Blend warms digestion, acts as an anti-inflammatory, increases satiety, and supports kidney health. The seeds can be left whole, crushed with a mortar and pestle, or blended into a powder for a smoother texture.

Here are the health benefits of some of this blend’s key ingredients:

Celery Seed (Apium graveolens): Celery seed is not the most common or beloved spice in the apothecary, and it can be a bit difficult to take in large quantities in food-based form. But it acts as a kidney tonic and can be used effectively with other kidney health herbs, like parsley, to leverage their synergy. Celery seeds have a strong savory flavor and work best when used in robust and rich foods. The small seed should be used whole, as crushing them releases the more bitter elements.

Mustard (Brassica nigra): When we talk about mustard seed we are generally referring to Brassica nigra, though there are others, such as brown Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) and white or yellow mustard seeds (Brassica hirta and Brassica alba). Mustard often gets shelved in the condiment category and is underemployed as a spice in itself. This tiny seed, native to North Africa, is more closely related to common leafy Brassica vegetables such as collards, kale, broccoli, and arugula than it is to other spices — except horseradish, which is a close relative. Its medicinal benefits over the long term are similar to that of the brassicas, which are known to be powerfully anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer, perhaps even more concentrated.

Medicinally, mustard plays an important role in many cultures. It is used to generate heat and warmth. Mustard is an ideal medicine for bronchial infections of the damp and stagnant type. It is helpful when a strong expectorant is needed or when there is lingering phlegm in the respiratory system.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): The entire fennel plant can be used in one way or another as food and medicine. Fennel is wonderful for all kinds of digestive upsets, but especially those impacting the lower gastrointestinal tract and causing pain, spasms, bloating, and inflammation. If your digestive tract causes you regular discomfort or pain, this may be one of the best spices choices to add to your diet.

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum): Another member of the Apiaceae (or parsley) family, this humble seed is used whole or ground and has an earthy flavor that becomes pronounced when dry-toasted (whole seed) or when added into hot oil. Both of these practices are common in traditional preparations using cumin.

Although related, black cumin (Carum persicum), used commonly in the Middle East, is not the same plant and is only minimally interchangeable. Cumin has been used traditionally to treat gas and bloating, but it is an under-appreciated champion for cardiovascular health.

Use the Seed Blend to make Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt for flavor and health! This roasted eggplant can be eaten as a side dish with meat or over rice and also makes a great dip.

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt & Healthy Seed Blend

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

Seed Blend
  • 1 part celery seed
  • 1 part sesame seed
  • 1 part mustard seed
  • 1 part nigella seed
  • 1 part caraway seed
  • 1 part fennel seed
  • 1 part cumin seed
Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 4 teaspoons Seed Blend
  • 1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt, plus more for serving
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Place the whole eggplant in a baking pan and rub it with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 400ºF (200ºC), until it is soft and the skin begins to blister and char a bit.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut it into four thick slices, keeping the rings whole. Lay the rings on a greased baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil, then top each slice with 1 teaspoon of the Seed Blend. Roast on the center rack for 30 to 45 minutes, until they are soft and slightly browned.
  3. While the vegetables are roasting, combine the yogurt and the garlic and refrigerate to meld the flavors.
  4. Allow the eggplant to cool slightly. Once it is cool enough to handle, slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and scrape the flesh, along with any accumulated juices, into a food processor or blender; discard the skin. Add the onions, along with any accumulated juices, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and the vinegar to the food processor and process until smooth, about 5 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl, season with salt to taste, drizzle with additional yogurt, and serve warm.
Herb dose per serving:

celery 0.9 grams | cumin 0.9 grams | fennel 1 gram | mustard 0.8 grams

Text and recipe excerpted from Spice Apothecary © 2020 by Bevin Clare. All rights reserved.

Bevin Clare

Bevin Clare is the author of Spice Apothecary. She is a clinical herbalist and licensed nutritionist, a professor of clinical herbalism at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, and… See Bio

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Spice Apothecary

by Bevin Clare

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