Spice Up Your Recipes Without the Salt

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Spices come from the dried root, stem, seed, fruit, or flower of a plant and are usually ground into a powder form. They’re different than herbs, which come from the leafy green part of a plant. Some herbs can also be purchased as dried spices—for example, coriander seeds come from the dried berries of fresh cilantro, which may also be referred to as coriander.

How can spices reduce my sodium intake?

When cooking at home, spices are a great way to season your recipes without adding unnecessary calories, fat, sugar, or sodium. Fresh herbs, citrus, and homemade salsas are other great ways to boost flavour.

What spices should I have on hand? 

For those who are new to cooking home-made meals, or who aren’t familiar with using spices, here is a handy guide to the flavour profiles of common spices:

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Warm Spices:

These spices have rich flavours and aromas that are comforting in the cold months of winter. Sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg can be used to replace some of the sugar in recipes like oatmeal and muffins, while curry and ginger add spice to soups and stews.

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Cloves

  • Cardamom 

  • Allspice

  • Curry

  • Ginger

  • Turmeric

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Savoury Spices:

These versatile spices add a punch of flavour to a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. Some, like oregano and basil, can be added fresh to recipes like pasta, while dried forms are commonly used as spice rubs for meat and fish.

  • Chili powder

  • Paprika

  • Cumin

  • Coriander

  • Onion powder

  • Garlic powder

  • Rosemary

  • Oregano 

  • Thyme

  • Basil

  • Sage 

  • Black pepper

Easy Spice Blends to Try at Home

“Apple Pie” Spice (yields 12 servings, ½ Tbsp each):

  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon

  • 1 Tbsp nutmeg

  • ½ tsp allspice

  • ½ tsp cardamom 

“Chipotle” Seasoning (yields 10 servings, ½ Tbsp each):

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder

  • 1 Tbsp paprika

  • ½ Tbsp cumin

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

Although spices don’t spoil, they can lose their flavor over time, so be sure to replace your spices every 6 months. For more information on how to enhance your recipes with spices, visit Unlock Food.

Ryan Stallard