Cooking with Herbs and Spices

Cooking with Herbs & Spices

Want to make eating less sodium flavorful and healthy? Adding herbs, spices and vinegars to your food is a great way to enhance the flavor without overdoing the salt. Since many seasonings, marinades and salad dressings contain a lot of salt, it’s important to read labels to find low-sodium or salt free alternatives.

There are many herb blends, salt-free seasonings (think Mrs. Dash), and flavor infused vinegars available at the grocery store, but making your own can be quite easy and they last for quite a while.

Give more flavor to the following items by trying different combinations of complimentary herbs and spices. Here are some ideas:

Soup:               Bay leaf, tarragon, marjoram, chili powder, parsley, cayenne pepper, rosemary

Poultry:           Garlic, oregano, rosemary, sage

Beef:                Bay leaf, chives, cloves, cumin, garlic, hot pepper, marjoram, rosemary

Lamb:              Garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme

Pork:               Coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, hot pepper, pepper, sage, thyme

Fish:                 Dill, fennel, tarragon, garlic, parsley, thyme

Vegetables:     Basil, mink, chives, dill, tarragon, marjoram, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, thyme

Salads:             Basil, chives, vinegars

Try the following recipes to make your own home-made blends:

Herbal Salt-Free Blend #1: Onion-Garlic Blend

  • 5 tsp. onion powder (not onion salt)
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. dry mustard
  • 1 T. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seeds

Herbal Salt-Free Blend #2: Mediterranean Blend

  • 3 T. grated Parmesan cheese (dried, not fresh)
  • 2 T. dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 T. oregano
  • 1 T. basil
  • 2 tsp. dried chives, crumbled
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. powdered lemon rind (or dehydrated lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper

Herbal Salt-Free Blend #3: Spicy Fiesta Blend

  • 1 T. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 T. dried savory
  • 1 T. dried oregano
  • 1 T. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. ground mace
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. ground, dried, grated lemon peel

Herbal Salt-Free Blend #4: Mondo Blend

  • 2 T. dry mustard
  • 2 T. onion powder
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 T. crushed basil leaves
  • 1 T. ground thyme
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper

Herbal Salt-Free Blend #5 – “Mrs. Dash “Clone” Blend

  • 1 T. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried savory
  • 1 tsp. ground mace
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
  • 1 tsp. ground dried grated lemon peel

Note: This one reportedly tastes similar to the commercial Mrs. Dash salt-substitute herb mixture.

References:

  1. Cooking With Herbs and Spices: Enjoying Great Taste Without the Salt. Kaiser Permanente Health Education Publication 2008.
  2. Cooking With Herbs, Spices and Seasonings. University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. November 2002.
  3. The Frugal Café. Kitchen DIY: Salt-free herb/ spice blends for salt substitutes.

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