RECIPE: Turmeric-Spiced Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salsa | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures RECIPE: Turmeric-Spiced Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salsa | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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RECIPE: Turmeric-Spiced Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salsa


Enjoy the recipe as a taco or atop salad
greens. Photo courtesy McCormick.

Turmeric and vine-ripened tomatoes, the 10th and last in the series of McCormick’s 2010 flavor trends requires a bit of a wait—unless you’re into “faux” vine-riped tomatoes (more about that in a moment).

Turmeric, long consumed as a restorative tea in Okinawa, the Japanese island famed for health and longevity, is a vibrant spice from the ginger family that’s now attracting the attention of Western science for its numerous health benefits. Curcumin, the substance that gives turmeric its yellow color, has compounds that laboratory studies indicate have potential health benefits, from cancer-fighting powers to the ability to block the progression of multiple sclerosis. (Read our review of Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea’s Turmeric Tea.)

Turmeric is the key ingredient in many Indian, Malay, Persian and Thai dishes and an element in many curry powders. As a cheaper alternative to saffron, it’s also used as a natural yellow food coloring in prepared food, cheese, mustard and chicken broth.


Vine-ripened” tomatoes are actually something of a misnomer, when purchased at most retail stores. Most tomatoes sold in supermarkets are picked while still fully green, then ripened with ethylene gas or in warming rooms. Tomatoes listed as “vine-ripened” in grocery stores are usually left on the vine only a little longer than usual, so that they’re allowed to turn just barely pink (not even a full “blush”) before being subjected to the artificial ripening treatment. However, the longer a tomato is allowed to ripen on the vine, the better and more flavorful it will be.

The best place to find true, vine-ripened tomatoes is at a farmers market in late summer (August and September) when they’re in season and memorable. But for the purpose of this pairing, look for the best “vine ripened” tomatoes you can find—or hold off until summer.


Turmeric and vine-ripened tomatoes are an earthy and naturally sweet blend. Try them in this recipe for Turmeric-Spiced Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salsa. It’s a chicken taco recipe, but you can serve the chicken atop salad greens instead of in taco shells.

The recipe has three very healthy ingredients:

  • Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, has been long known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Recent medical research is revealing much more, as turmeric is being used to treat health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant that shows promise with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, prostate cancer and even male infertility.
  • Avocado is very heart-healthy: Avocado oil can help lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. (Learn more about avocado oil.)

So you can legitimately tell guests who watch their diets that they’re eating “healthy tacos.”


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