The spice aisle at my local natural and organic food store is a culinary playground, and I’m always intrigued by the various spice blends designed to give homemade dishes an international flair.

Companies that produce these blends carefully combine up to a dozen herbs and spices to create foolproof seasonings that make life easy for home cooks.

In my experience, however, spice blends can be much more expensive than their individual components. That’s why I tend to buy individual herbs and spices to create my own blends. This also allows me to buy readily available organic ingredients, control the amount of salt used and tweak the recipe to suit my individual preferences (i.e., more pepper, less garlic).

Our recent post for Southwestern Gluten-Free Cornbread Dressing called for 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. Instead of purchasing a bottle of the Cajun blend, I prefer to take the do-it-yourself approach. Dressing recipe creator Dana Jacobi (The Essential Best Foods Cookbook, New American Plate Cookbook) shares her DIY recipe here.

Simply combine the ingredients, and store them in a glass jar. You can quadruple the recipe so it’s ready to use when you’re seasoning meat, veggies, egg dishes, rice and other side dishes.

FYI: I reduce salt by 50% when preparing a spice blend. You can always add more salt, if your palate screams out for it.

For an Indian-flavored blend, check out Taj Rub.

DIY Cajun Seasoning

Makes 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Recipe courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research