Today I have something a little different from the typical recipes I post on here. Today I want to talk about spices, and which are the ABSOLUTE must-haves.
When I first started out with cooking on my own, I was totally overwhelmed my all the different spices, and I didn’t know which ones are for what purpose. And searching online, I only found list of “20-50 spices you must-have”. I was really frustrated and didn’t believe that I would need THAT. Many spices to cook simple meals with. I just wanted the absolute NECESSITIES.
So now that I have gathered a few years of cooking experience, I feel confident to give you guys the TRUE MUST NEED SPICES for you to start out your spices collection. So here we go:
Cinnamon is a no-brainier for many of us. Obviously it is delicious on sweet deserts or breakfast. But cinnamon is also great for hearty dishes. Especially anything with ingredients that are already somewhat sweet, like pumpkin or sweet potato. I like to add cinnamon to roasted sweet potato with some salt, pepper, paprika spice and ground cumin. makes for a DELICIOUS spice blend.
My recipes with ground cinnamon are: Soft juicy Pumpkin Loaf, Baked sweet potato salad
2. Ground Cumin
I love to add ground cumin to anything curry-like or south American- like (like tacos) or Asian dishes like curry. Other than that I also like to use it to roast sweet potatoes (depending on what dish the sweet potato goes with) It has a warm, earthy flavor and also goes well with any tomato based stews with beans or corn.
My recipes with ground cumin are: eggplant curry, Moroccan Salad, Mexican stir fry
3. Garlic Powder
If you have followed me for a while, you know I LOVE garlic! My thought often is the more, the better. But I know that is only my personal preference. If you are fairly new to the garlic community, you can start of with garlic powder, it is now as intense as the fresh version. I like to add garlic to any salad dressings for a veggie salad or rice salad. Mainly because I truly dislike cutting garlic and it gets my fingers all garlic smelling. But also because sometimes, we don’t want to be stinking up the room after we had lunch with our garlic breath. (which can get really bad, especially with raw garlic.
My recipes with garlic powder: Baked sweet potato salad, Vegan lentil spread
4. Dried Oregano
I use dried oregano in anything Italian style. Especially pasta sauces. But also on Mediterranean veggies I like to grill like paprika, zucchini, tomatoes…
My recipes with oregano: Couscous one-pot, Pasta minestrone, The best Penne Arrabbiata
5. Dried Parsley
I put parsley on almost anything. Also just as a little bit of greenery decoration on top, because I’m just sooo bad at keeping fresh herbs. They just always die. I will definitely try to improve my skills in that department. I just don’t think there is (almost) any dish where parsley would be wrong.
My recipes with parsley are: mushroom white bean wrap, moroccan salad
6. Smoked Paprika
Smoked paprika is fantastic for a little bit of grilled smokiness. For anything that I want to roast like veggies or potato, just anything I want to grill in the oven. But not only that, I also like to use smoked paprika for one-pots, that needs that smokiness. Like some kind of chili.
My recipes with smoked paprika are: Mexican stir fry,
7. Lemon Juice
Lemon Juice is something that might not always be considered a spice, but I feel like is important when it comes to seasoning. For dishes where the acidic tang is missing, just add a little bit of lemon juice. You can also add vinegar instead (it is about the acidic note), but that might not always go with the dish taste-wise. You really just need to start experimenting. I like to add it to salads dressings or creamy/cheesy sauces where the acidity is missing.
My recipes with lemon juice are: Creamy Cauliflower recipe, Moroccan Salad, Avocado Pasta
All in all, cooking is mostly about experience. So try experiment with your spices and see what works for you. I am a huge fan of learning through trial and error. I hope this list was helpful for you guys! What are your spices must haves? Comment below.