SPICES
Blog post
PRODUCT

Herbs and Spices That Will Take Your Food to the Next Level

July 8, 2016

Growing up, my mom kept three seasonings in the cupboards: salt, pepper, and oregano – and I don’t remember her using the oregano. So, when I went vegan at an age when my mother still cooked my meals, the food ended up tasting pretty bland. While veggies, legumes, beans and grains do taste good, they aren’t exactly “exciting.” Hence why a vegetarian or vegan pantry should be stocked with these herbs and spices which can take your food to a whole new level of flavor.

Basil

  • Aromatic, sweet and peppery flavor
  • Use in pastas, Italian dishes, pesto, stir fry and curries
  • Good with tofu, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, and eggplant

Bay Leaves

  • Earthy flavor
  • Use in soups and sauces
  • Good with hearty foods like potatoes, lentils and bean dishes

Cayenne

  • Hot and smoky flavor
  • Use in soups, sauces, braising, and chili
  • Good in any dish where heat is wanted – even desserts

Cinnamon

  • Sweet, aromatic, and slightly spicy
  • Use in breads, desserts, sweet dishes, and also in some savory dishes like Caribbean food
  • Good with fruits, pumpkin and squash

Coriander

  • Strong earthy, lemony flavor
  • Use in Mexican and Indian dishes
  • Good with avocado, tomatoes, peppers, lentils, tofu, salsas, curries, and soups

Cumin

  • Smoky, warm, earthy, and slightly nutty flavor
  • Use in Middle Eastern and Indian foods
  • Good with chickpeas, zucchini, eggplant, and lentils

Curry Powder

  • A spicy, earthy blend of turmeric, coriander, cumin, red pepper, and fenugreek
  • Use in sauces for Indian food
  • Good with lentils, rice, and many vegetables

Ginger

  • Zesty, spicy, and warming
  • Use in sauces, stir-fries, or warming beverages
  • Good with lentils, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and tofu

Italian Seasoning

  • Earthy, aromatic blend of herbs like oregano, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary
  • Use in sauces, on top of pizza, or in hearty stews
  • Good with pasta, potatoes, lentils, meaty foods, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant

Paprika

  • Sweet and spicy, not as intense as cayenne
  • Use in marinades, soups, and braising
  • Good with potatoes, rice, and grilled vegetables

Rosemary

  • Strong piney flavor
  • Use in hearty dishes like stews
  • Good with meaty foods and potatoes

Thyme

  • Pungent, woodsy, and aromatic
  • Use in stocks and meaty dishes
  • Good with asparagus, quiche, potatoes, zucchini, grilled vegetables, and paired with lemon

Turmeric

  • Mild woodsy flavor with slightly bitter undertones
  • Use in Indian foods, creamy sauces, smoothies, or to add yellow color to tofu scramble
  • Good with lentils, potatoes, tofu, curries, cauliflower, chickpeas and eggplant

Not sure which herbs and spices to use together in a dish?

Here is a quick guide to seasonings by cuisine type. You can generally combine any herb and spice from the same cuisine type successfully.

Mexican

  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili

French

  • Nutmeg
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano

Cajun

  • Cayenne
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Bay leaves
  • Cajun blend

Thai

  • Basil
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Cardamom
  • Curry

Mediterranean

  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Basil
  • Ginger

Indian

  • Bay leaves
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Garam masala
  • Curry powder

Middle Eastern

  • Bay leaves
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Coriander
  • Oregano
  • Zaatar
  • Garlic

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