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If you’re anything like us, you’ve undoubtedly had a few nights where you’ve felt totally uninspired in the kitchen.

In those cases, we often resort to throwing together a haphazard mix of everything in our pantries or admitting defeat and ordering takeout. We used to fall victim to this phenomenon all the time, until we discovered a secret trick for spicing up every single meal: finding your flavor. Once you have the perfect flavor combination down, you’re guaranteed to have a winning meal, with minimal effort, every time you eat.

How to Find Your Flavor

First, identify what your preferred profile is. There are five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory (otherwise known as umami). Once you decide on the flavor profile that suits your preference, look for pairings within that category in order to guarantee you’ll leave every meal satisfied. Pro tip: if you’re a fan of two of the flavor profiles, there’s no reason you can’t combine them. Read on below for our recommendations, by taste profile, with tips for mixing and matching.

Sweet – Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Those who are a fan of sweet tastes should seek out flavorful situations to suit both full meals and after-dinner treats. One of our favorite ways to lean into a sweet tooth without getting overly sugary is by using cinnamon and nutmeg. Though many might associate the spices with desserts – and our apple fritter doughnuts are a testament to how delicious they can be in baked goods – don’t underestimate their power in a dinnertime dish, either. One of our favorite dinner party meals, Melissa Clark’s surprisingly easy lamb tagine calls for cinnamon, nutmegs, and cinnamon sticks, and the cinnamon sticks add a wonderful depth of flavor to the dish.

Salty – Butter and Thyme

Many fans of salty food wrongly believe that they need to reach for potato chips or french fries to get their fix. But once we introduce you to the flavorful powers of butter and thyme, you may want to relegate your salty packaged snacks back to the pantry for good. For years, butter had a bad reputation as an unhealthy food, but the reality is that it’s not only packed with flavor and, in moderation, can be a healthy source of calcium, a crucial mineral for bone density. Dishes that pair butter with thyme take the salty perfection to a new level, with thyme adding a salty, sharp, and earthy flavor. It’s not overpowering, but it adds an additional punch to any dish. Try it out in our pork shoulder sandwiches, chicken thighs with rhubarb and hot honey (also perfect for those who love things spicy and sweet), our perennial favorite lemon and thyme roast chicken, or even make your own butter to serve on bread as a starter. The options are endless, and you’re going to love them all.

Lemon and Thyme Ingredients

Sour - Lemon and Almond

This duo may sound a bit surprising, but hear us out. When it comes time for dinner, earthy, nutty almond is our favorite option for offsetting the tangy, sour flavor of a fresh lemon. Don’t trust us? Try our lemon and almond green beans and thank us later. Serve them with our roasted chicken thighs, another dish where the lemon sings. And if you’re not convinced yet, a different, but equally delicious take on the lemon and almond pair is our lemon and almond madeleines, which utilize the sweeter almond extract alongside both lemon juice and zest to create a perfectly balanced dessert. Try it once and you may just find yourself reaching for these two kitchen staples multiple times a week.

Bitter - Kale and White Bean

Let’s get one thing out of the way: in our world, bitter is not bad! In fact, some of the healthiest foods in the world, from kale to arugula to cocoa, are considered bitter – as is the world’s favorite staple: coffee, anyone? Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the meal-making powers of combining kale with white beans. One of our most nutrient-dense picks, kale is packed with antioxidants and vitamins, while beans are filled with plant-based protein, so if you’re opting for this infusion of flavor, you know you’re living your healthiest life. Both hearty enough to keep in your fridge for about a week (in kale’s case; canned beans can last up to five years), these are two essentials to keep on hand for whenever you need some flavorful inspiration. Our favorite ways to conquer the combo? Our hearty Chicken, Kale, & Cannellini Bean Stew is the perfect way to warm up a winter’s night, while this kale and white bean soup is slightly lighter, for transitional seasons. And if you ever serve this chickpea-and-kale packed charred broccoli sheet pan salad, prepare to be the most popular person at the dinner party.

Savory - Olive and Tomato

Those who crave that unique “umami” taste when putting together their meals will delight in the briny fusion of olive and tomato. It’s an unexpected culinary twosome for taking your main-course meal to the next level. Blistering tomatoes in the oven and then smashing them together with olives and olive oil creates a perfect tapenade for spreading on everything from a piece of fresh bread to a flaky white fish, but the most elevated way to enjoy is our wine-braised chicken with tomato and olives. Here’s to banishing kitchen boredom, one powerful flavor pairing at a time. Enjoy!


If you try any of our perfect pairings, tag us on social media using #casadesuna.

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