20 Recipes High on Spice (But Low on Burn)

Pierogies with Meat Sauce
Craving food that's full of flavor but weary of sweat-inducing, four-alarm pepper spice? Try recipes including our favorite subtly spicy ingredients: radishes, ginger, cloves, curry, and watercress. You'll find quick and easy chicken dinners, juicy burgers, jazzed-up coffee drinks, holiday-worthy layer cakes -- these recipes will warm you up from the inside out.

Wheat Berry, Sugar Snap Pea, Radish, and Goat Cheese Salad

Creamy goat cheese and nutty wheat berries are complemented perfectly by the crunchy, clean heat in thinly sliced radish coins. Top this whole grain salad with grilled chicken, salmon, or pork to make it hearty enough for dinner.

Radishes with Crispy Prosciutto

With the tanginess of apple cider vinegar and savory, crunchy prosciutto, this quietly spicy radish skillet makes for a super-satisfying dinner side dish.

Chicken with Basil Sauce and Cucumber-Radish Salad

Prove to your family (and yourself!) that 30-minute chicken dinners can be exciting. Broccoli sprouts offer a bit of heat while radishes lend pleasant peppery notes to the summery salad that accompanies the quick-cooking chicken breasts.

Roasted Radishes with Chive Vinaigrette

Let radishes take center stage in this simple roasted vegetable recipe. Make a double batch of the chive vinaigrette and use the excess to dress salad greens to serve alongside the tender, caramelized radishes.

Ginger Curry Chicken with Lentils and Leeks

With a one-two punch of warmth from curry powder and fresh ginger, this one-pan chicken dinner tastes more cozy and hearty than it does "ouch!" hot.

Ginger Soy Shrimp

A parchment packet allows the shrimp, couscous, and vegetables to soak up all of the amazing seasonings they're coated in, including sharp fresh ginger, salty soy sauce, and sweet honey.

Hot and Spicy Braised Peanut Chicken

What makes takeout so addictive (besides the lack of dishes)? Layers of strong flavors, like the fresh ginger, red curry paste, garlic, soy sauce, and peanut butter in the sauce that coats this slow cooker chicken dinner.

Ginger Carrot Cake

Along with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice, ginger is a key ingredient in pumpkin pie spice. But it can add depth to many sweet baked goods, including this citrusy carrot cake.  

Lamb Birria with Barley and Dried Plums

Cloves amplify fruity flavors (hence they’re often included in apple and pumpkin desserts). A little bit (here, 1/8 teaspoon) goes a long way to showcase the dried plums in this hearty lamb stew.

Gingerbread Madeleines

Cloves join an A-team lineup of warm accents including ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and molasses in these light and elegant cookies.

Pickled Beets

You're used to seeing cloves studding your Easter ham, but how about studding a jar full of homemade pickles? We take it to the next level by using beets instead of cucumbers for a vibrant, giftable Mason jar recipe.

Orange-Spiced Coffee

Ground cloves, along with cinnamon and nutmeg, warm up this spiked coffee drink. Come summer, serve it over ice.

Curried Ratatouille

Vegetables taste far from bland when they're slow-cooked with curry and ginger. Toast the spices separately for a minute before adding the peppers, onion, garlic, eggplant, and zucchini to allow the bold flavors to develop.

Curry Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin rule of thumb: cloves with sweet; curry with savory. This creamy soup, with a base of chicken broth and canned pumpkin, is all the proof you need that the latter strategy works!

Curried Pork Burgers

These open-face pork burgers get a double dose of curry -- it's mixed into the creamy aioli as well as the patties themselves.

Curried Squash Muffins

Curry and crystalized ginger offer a captivating, "hmm, what could that be?!" quality to these moist muffins. Feel free to swap canned pumpkin for the mashed winter squash.

Shrimp and Watercress Salad

Peppery watercress perks up this light yet high-protein spring salad. It takes just 15 minutes to prepare!

Pan-Seared Pork and Fried Green Tomato Salad

Pair fresh watercress with fried foods, like these tomatoes, to cut through the richness. Just a quarter cup of the leafy greens per dinner serving makes a big, refreshing difference.

Orange and Watercress Salad with Chicken

Tangy oranges and spicy watercress (plus a shower of crumbled feta and toasted hazelnuts!) make this low-calorie salad high in gourmet flavor.

Pierogies with Meat Sauce

Potatoes. Pasta. Chorizo. Watercress works its assertive, vibrant magic to counterbalance the heavier comfort-food ingredients in this dinner recipe.

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