Ingredient of the Week: Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a relatively anonymous spice but it holds an essential role in pumpkin pies and other pumpkin-flavored things this time of year. Along with ground cloves and cinnamon, this spice makes everyone happy at Thanksgiving time.

But with this week’s Ingredient of the Week post, I wanted to prove that nutmeg does not have to be only a Thanksgiving spice. It can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While two of the recipes I feature this week include pumpkin, nutmeg does have its own flavor profile and tastes fine without the pumpkin.

Rather than bore you with some nutritional details about nutmeg and the fact that it contains a lot of minerals and antioxidants, I thought I would share the story of nutmeg’s history. According to an article from NPR, this spice is not as innocent as one would think given its reputation as a holiday spice. It was actually a prized item that the Dutch tortured and massacred the people of the Banda Islands in Indonesia for so that they could monopolize the nutmeg trade. Since it was considered fashionable among the wealthy and had the ability to induce hallucinations, the Dutch believed it was worth trading Manhattan for the last nutmeg-producing island that the British controlled. Therefore, Manhattan has nutmeg to thank for its inclusion in the original British colonies.

Therefore, I hope you think about Manhattan as you enjoy the following recipes and remember the poor people who suffered in Indonesia for this spice that we all enjoy during the holidays.

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Nutmeg Oatmeal in a Mug. | Photo by Samantha Wood

Breakfast
Nutmeg Oatmeal in a Mug
total time: 5 minutes, serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/8 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions
Place all ingredients in a bowl or mug and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated evenly.

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The Nutmeg Smoothie. | Photo by Samantha Wood

Lunch
The Nutmeg Smoothie
total time: 5 minutes, serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender or Magic Bullet. I recommend a Magic Bullet if you’re making this recipe for one person. Blend for about a minute, or until the mixture becomes smooth.

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Nutmeg Quinoa. | Photo by Samantha Wood

Dinner
Nutmeg Quinoa
total time: 20 minutes, serves 3

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons dried and sweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions
Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once it has reached a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water has cooked out and the quinoa is fluffy. Mix in the dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, coconut and pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Samantha Wood

I am a foodie who loves chocolate, dogs and California. I hope to write for a food magazine one day. Let me know if you have any suggestions for Ingredient of the Week.

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