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Herb and spice mixtures for the vegan kitchen

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A wide variety of herbs and spices can be purchased locally in the grocery store, in dried form. Wouldn't home grown natural herbs make more flavorful herb and spice mixtures? Why not grow them at home to make your vegan diet even healthier? Below are some of my own recipes for herb and spice blends. The finished natural herb and spice mixtures are designed to be used fresh. Leftovers may be refrigerated or frozen in airtight containers. A mortar and pestle may be used to blend the herbs and spices and bring out their flavor.

Note: If you don't have a mortar and pestle, a food processor on pulse may be used to make any of the spice mixtures. You may, of course, substitute store bought herbs and spices for home grown when necessary. Omit the salt for restricted diets.

Herbes de Provence

For those who don't know, Herbes de Provence is a mixture of natural herbs used in France. It's used commonly on the table, much like we Americans use table salt and pepper. Herbes de Provence contains a healthy natural dose of antioxidants. It's thought that the reason the French are so healthy is due in part to this natural herb mixture being consumed at nearly every meal. What a perfect addition to a healthy vegan diet!

Crush and combine:

  • 6 tsp. dried oregano

  • 3 tsp. dried basil

  • 3 tsp. dried sweet marjoram

  • 3 tsp. dried thyme

  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried mint

  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried sage

  • 1 tsp. dried fennel

Italian seasoning

This is one of my favorite natural herb and spice mixtures. It can be used in soups, sauces and salads. Mixtures of these herbs will lend a natural Italian flavor to anything you cook. I love this in vegan lasagna and spaghetti. Who needs sauce from a jar? Use your own natural herb and spice mixtures to flavor diced or crushed tomatoes. What a delightful homemade sauce. Try it to perk up garlic bread or use with olive oil for bread dipping.

  • 6 tablespoons dried basil

  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano

  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme

  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder.

Italian dressing

I was very excited to perfect this recipe. Italian dressing is my favorite. I experimented a little using my own favorite spices and the Italian herb blend above. I really love the natural flavor of red wine vinegar for salad dressing.

Mix together:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp. minced garlic

  • 1 tsp. sea salt

  • 1 tsp. onion powder

  • ½ tsp. celery seed

  • 2 tsp. Italian blend.

The ingredients are all shaken in a closed container and refrigerated overnight prior to use. This allows the natural herbs and spices to seep into the oil and vinegar overnight.

Creole seasoning mix

Those of us who like it spicy can use this and other peppy natural herb and spice mixtures in the kitchen. I use it on french fries and buttered corn on the cob. It can also be used in vegan Creole dishes like jambalaya. Great as a final addition to casseroles like vegan scalloped potatoes. Sprinkle this and other natural herb and spice mixtures right on top for a surprising twist.

Combine:

  • 2/3 cup ground cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 cup salt

  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

  • 1/4 cup onion powder

  • 1/4 cup chili powder, and

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper

Some of these natural spice and herb mixtures are not for the faint of heart. Braver souls can add more pepper or salt.

Chile powder mix

There's nothing better on a cold day than a bowl of vegan chile with beans topped with vegan cheddar and organic corn chips. If you like chile as much as I do, you'll love making it with your own custom natural herb and spice mixtures even better. There's something about these natural herb and spice mixtures that makes everything better.

Combine:

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 tsp. turmeric

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. pepper.

When making the chili powder mix and other natural herb and spices mixtures, add your own personal tastes and ideas to the mix. For instance, I usually sprinkle a little of this on top of the melted vegan cheese for an added kick.

Exotic kabob rub

This is used on grilled vegetable kebabs, corn on the cob, eggplant, portabella mushrooms and other vegan barbecue favorites prior to grilling. It has sweet and spicy flavor that permeates the food but still leaves the natural flavor intact. For added flavor, use vegan BBQ sauce with it.

Combine:

  • 3 tablespoons molasses (or an alternative sweetener)

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 tsp. dry mustard

  • 2 tsp. garlic salt

  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil

  • 1 tsp. coriander

  • 1 tsp. dried savory

  • 1 tsp. dried lemon thyme

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 tsp. cumin

  • 1 crushed bay leaf.

This may seem like a lot of ingredients but varied mixtures like this will cause a lot of different and delectable reactions from the taste buds.

Southwestern seasoning mix

This versatile herb and spice mixture can be used as a dip mix. It's wonderful mixtures of natural herbs and spices will send you into the land of red rocks and cactus. Use it on salads, casseroles or whatever comes to mind. I love it on home fries or any potatoes. Use your imagination with this one. It lends itself to nearly anything.

Combine:

  • 1/4 cup chili powder

  • 1/4 cup onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons cumin

  • 1/4 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons coriander

  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano

  • 2 tablespoons dried basil

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Use regular, not lemon thyme in this one, the lemon will throw off the natural southwestern flavor of the mixtures.

Homemade shake it and bake it seasoned coating

This is great stuff. Use it to coat potatoes, squash and other veggies before baking. It's much more flavorful than the ready made ones in the store. Once your natural herb and spices are mixed, place them in a large plastic zip lock storage bag with 2 cups of sifted all purpose flour. Dip the items to be coated in almond milk. Shake them in the bag. Oven broil, turning once.

Combine:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram

  • 2 tsp. dried thyme

  • 2 tsp. onion powder

  • 2 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 tsp dried rosemary

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper.

These are perfect on sweet potatoes, a vegan staple. Anything that can be used for tempura lends itself well to this natural baked coating as well.

Overview

These delicious natural herb and spice mixtures can be used for millions of recipes. Herb and spice mixtures like this can also be used as gifts. People without much vegan cooking experience or those who lack garden space will really appreciate natural herb and spice mixtures as gifts. Next time you're invited to a party, bring along a dish made with these fresh natural mixtures. You'll be sure to impress.

This article was previously published on Yahoo! by this author

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