Not to play favorites, but when it comes to versatility, there are few ingredients that can compete with ginger. A knob of fresh peeled ginger can be added whole to curries and soups, infusing them with extra flavor; minced, it makes an aromatic addition to grains, veggies, dressings, and seared meats. Ground ginger, a pantry staple, is warming, slightly sweet, and a little bit spicy—perfect for baked goods, granolas, and cookies. Candied (or crystallized) ginger is lovely folded into sweet treats or enjoyed on its own… the root can even be sliced into matchsticks and pickled for a flavorful garnish.
To celebrate our love for the root , we’ve created an all-day ginger menu so you can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Whether it’s used to spice up a breakfast bar, add flavor to a grain bowl, or level-up a batch of cookies, take it from us—there’s a place for ginger in every meal.
Breakfast: Maple-Ginger Granola Bars
When it comes to on-the-go breakfasts, granola bars are hard to beat. They’re actually surprisingly easy to make at home—plus, in the comfort of your own kitchen, you can customize the bars to suit any craving. Here, we’re adding ground ginger to our base recipe for granola bars—we love the super-aromatic, slightly spiced flavor the spice provides that reminds us of gingersnaps and holiday cookies. Add cinnamon, buttery pecans, dried apricots, and maple syrup (plus any other add-ins you’re craving at the moment) and you’ve got yourself a fragrant, chewy, portable treat.
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
¾ cup dried apricots
¾ stick butter
⅓ cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups rolled oats
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly rub with canola oil. Add almonds, pecans, and oats to baking sheet, lightly sprinkle with salt and bake until toasted, 8–10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop dried apricots and place in a large bowl with cranberries. Line a large square baking dish with parchment paper.
Once almonds, pecans, and oats are toasted, add to large bowl with apricots and cranberries. In a small saucepan, combine butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ground ginger over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Add butter-sugar mixture to bowl with oats, stir to combine, and transfer to a prepared baking dish. Using a spatula or cup, press mixture down to achieve the desired thickness. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2 hours, then lift parchment out and cut into bars.
Lunch: Ginger-Miso Quinoa Bowls
One of our favorite ways to use fresh ginger is to spice up grains and starches. In this grain bowl, quinoa, miso paste, and a whole knob of ginger are simmered together to form a flavorful base for roasted sweet potato, fried egg, and a tart salad of edamame and cucumber. Once the quinoa is done, the ginger knob is discarded, so there’s no need to mince or slice to achieve that slightly sweet, spicy flavor. Whether enjoyed fresh and warm or cold as a packed lunch, it’s bound to be the envy of your lunch companions. What’s more, it’s versatile—make a double batch of the quinoa and use it as a bed for roasted or grilled meat, or simply enjoy it on its own.
An easy yet cheffy technique we use pretty much daily in the Plated Test Kitchen is making garlic paste. By mincing the garlic, then sprinkling over salt and scraping over the mixture with a knife, you get a smooth paste without chunks of garlic—ideal for adding to dressings, roasted veggies, garlic bread—you name it. In this recipe, we’re applying the technique to fresh ginger, swapping out the salt for a little for granulated sugar and adding Thai chile for an extra kick. The resulting paste is spicy, sweet, and super aromatic—a perfect addition to a side of roasted veggies (in this case, tomatoes). Seared steak, butternut squash, and a tart cardamom-lime yogurt balance out the pungent, zesty flavors of the spiced tomatoes—in our opinion, this dinner has it all.
Don’t get us wrong, we love chocolate—but sometimes, when it comes to dessert, we want something a little different. These crave-worthy cookies use ginger in not one, but two ways. Candied ginger is finely chopped and added to a mixture of egg, sugar, butter, and honey; then, ground ginger is added to the batter along with nutmeg, cinnamon, flour, and baking soda to bring out the warming, spicy flavors even more. The resulting cookies are aromatic, buttery, and satisfyingly chewy—perfect for dipping in a glass of milk or, if you’re feeling extra fancy, pairing with a glass of dessert wine: Tokaji.
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