The Secret Ingredient That Instantly Upgrades Weeknight Dinners
Add a hint of smoke to easy evening meals.
Adding smoky flavors to simple weeknight dinners is a low-effort way to upgrade your everyday. Here are the three tips and secret ingredients we find ourselves using over and over again.
Tea: Tossing in a lapsang souchong tea bag while cooking rice or dropping one into a stir-fry imparts a pinewood-smoked wok-charred flavor. "The flavor gets even deeper after the rice sits overnight," writes food stylist Sneh Roy, who likes to pack her smoky rice for road trips. "On the eve of a road trip I make a wok full of this and pack it in boxes for lunch the next day. It is often our first meal of the day when we make a rest stop on our adventures."
Kale: Grilling this dark leafy green teases out a smoky, rich, palate-satiating flavor that's just not as obvious in its raw form. Use grilled kale in hearty dips (like this smoky ranch—a great accompaniment to flatbreads) and sauces (think pesto—easy to make in batches and save for later, too) for simple, tasty weeknights in.
Smoked Sausage: A meaty soup served with mashed potatoes or crusty bread is the perfect weeknight antidote for an overcast winter day. Use