Garlic is as strong in health benefits as it is in taste—and considering that even its aroma can make your eyes water, that’s saying a lot. Studies have shown that consuming garlic regularly can help protect the liver from toxins. On top of that, it can also help regulate blood sugar levels, boost the immune system, and ward off inflammation.

If you’re a fan of Italian food or any kind of food generally, there’s a major chance that you always have garlic in reach when you’re cooking or eating. It is important to note that you’re doing yourself a big disservice in both amplifying the taste and nutritional benefits of your dishes if you’re not using garlic in other ways in the kitchen.

 Garlic spaghetti boats

This is a whole new spaghetti dish to use garlic in. Instead of anything you’ll find in the pasta aisle, baked spaghetti squash is used to make the noodles. But, like so many dishes, it’s the sauce that really makes this meal delicious—and that’s where the garlic comes in. Here, it’s used to make a creamy garlic butter, which also incorporates other healthy herbs, including thyme, rosemary, and sage.

Garlic rice

Looking for something that makes good use of what’s in your pantry? Garlic can turn bland rice into the flavour-packed star of your dinner table. Besides garlic and rice, this recipe calls for chicken broth, butter, and a little vegetable oil and scallions (if you have them). Pair it with chicken or the plant-based protein of your choice and you have yourself an easy dinner.

Ginger, Garlic, and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Another sauce that makes good use of garlic is this easy-to-make pesto. Besides the starring herb, the pesto also has cilantro and ginger—the latter being especially beneficial for the gut. Pumpkin seeds are also a core ingredient in this pesto, which give nice serving to whatever you pair it with, whether it’s a big bowl of zoodles (Zucchini noodles) or a veggie plate.

Spicy Chinese Garlic Potatoes

Garlic is used in Asian-inspired dishes just as much as it’s used in Italian-inspired ones and this recipe gives a way to try it beyond just adding it to your stir fry. Here, they’re cooked with potatoes, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, scallions, and chili pepper making for a spicy side dish.

Garlic Mushrooms

If you’re looking for a simpler take on recipes with garlic, try this option. Sautéed with butter and garlic, these mushrooms will practically melt in your mouth. They make a great side dish, or work well topped on toast or baked potatoes. Do we really eat baked potatoes in this part of the world?

Roasted Garlic Soup

If you’re feeling under the weather, this is an especially beneficial meal because it’s easy-to-digest way to get the vitamin C benefits in garlic. Combined with broth (chicken or vegetable both work) as a base, the recipe also incorporates other herbs, including chili peppers and thyme, to help balance out the taste.

Air Fryer Garlic Chips

It doesn’t get much easier than simply cutting garlic into slices, drizzling on a little olive oil, and popping in the air fryer for a few minutes until they’re nice and crispy. Make a batch of these to add into any dish that needs some extra crunch and flavor—including salads in place of croutons.

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