Loving the BITE: Cumin Grilled Chicken Breasts
I love this spice. Most anytime I cook, no matter what I’m cooking, I’m tempted to start shaking it in. And not with the little holes on the top of the spice container. Nope. I use the big gaping spoon-insert one. Maybe I lack creativity and culinary know-how. But you can’t argue with delicious flavor.
And I’m not alone. Cumin is the second most used spice worldwide after black pepper and it just happens to be our key Loving the Bite ingredient this week. Of course, it’s not all about flavor – cumin has plenty to offer to keep you cycling stronger and longer.
Here are two simple recipes you can use alone or in combination to get your cumin fix:
Cumin Grilled Chicken Breasts
(adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/cumin-grilled-chicken-breasts-recipe/index.html)
- Cooking spray
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each) or 8 skinless chicken thighs pounded to 1/2-inch thickness (organic and free-range, if possible)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
*Try using this recipe with other protein sources such as firm tofu or turkey.
- Spray a grill or grill pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat.
- Rub chicken with olive oil.
- Combine cumin, salt and pepper and rub spice mixture evenly onto chicken breasts.
- Grill until grill marks have formed and chicken is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from heat, let rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Serve with grilled yellow squash, which of course, also tastes wonderful when flavored with cumin!
Calories 170; Total Fat 6 g; (Sat Fat 1.5 g, Mono Fat 3 g, Poly Fat 1 g) ; Protein 29g; Carb 0 g; Fiber 0 g; Cholesterol 80 mg; Sodium 360 mg
Hummus with a Big Dose of Cumin (this one, obviously was not adapted from anyone but my cumin-lovin’ self)
- 2 cans garbanzo beans OR 4 cups cooked garbanzo bean + ¼ – ½ cup water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ lemon
- 1 Tbsp tahini
- Cumin, to taste,
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Place 1 can garbanzo beans (including liquid) and 1 can drained garbanzo beans in a blender or food processor.
- Add 1 clove minced garlic, juice from ½ lemon, and 1 tbsp tahini.
- Process until smooth.
- Add cumin, salt, and pepper to taste – mix well.
- Top with olive oil.
A good spice can go a long way. And cumin, it turns out, is no exception. When you flavor your food with cumin, you’re:
- Improving your digestion. Let’s face it – athletes often have digestion issues to deal with – whether it’s from timing food intake with a workout, the extra gas that’s produced from gulping air or gulping food during training, or just the “pounding” our insides can take from the motions of running or cycling. Cumin improves gastric motility (how food moves through your digestive system) and pancreatic enzyme secretion which helps you break down food efficiently. In fact, cumin may just reduce gassiness (I tried to think of more to say after this sentence, but nothing seemed appropriate – we’ll just say that I live in a house with 3 males!).
- Reducing your risk of cancer. Both stomach and liver tumor risk have been reduced in animal studies using cumin. And, who couldn’t use a little cancer-risk-reduction?
- Increasing antioxidants in your blood. You simply can’t get enough of these especially with the increase in oxygen turnover in the athlete’s body. Antioxidants, which give cumin its rich color, will scavenge the free radicals in your blood (which cause cell damage) and reduce the amount of cholesterol that’s able to enter the cell wall and form plaques – and cumin’s got ‘em.
This week, think beyond protein, vegetables, fats, fruit, and other food groups – think herbs and spices for health. Choose richly colored ones for a source of antioxidants and great taste. Cumin’s delicious flavor makes it an easy one to use. In everything. Really.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.