The artistry of a custom spice mix or blend is often relegated to the pros (yep, there are spice blenders who do it for a living!). We're just supposed to drop those pre-packages spice mixes into our shopping carts without giving it a second thought.
But prepackaged spice blends can carry not so body-friendly ingredients despite their inherent simplicity. Some culprits include modified cornstarch (thickener often made from genetically modified corn), partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, MSG, gluten, artificial flavorings, and silicon dioxide (to prevent caking), among others.
Making your own spice blends is not only a foolproof DIY project but also a great way to control what goes into your herbal fix (and nix those fillers). In fact, you can add "superfood" spices to your blends for even more healthful goodness.
The following 3 superfood spice mix recipes are a great way to which give your meals added flavor and health benefits. After preparing each seasoning, be sure to transfer the spice mix to a sealed container and keep in a cool, dry place.
All-Purpose Italian Spice Mix (Superfood: Nutritional Yeast*)
Makes 1 cup
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until they resemble a coarse flower. Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until all is evenly combined. Use the mixture as a seasoning for pizza, pasta, and marinara sauce.
*Nutritional yeast is the only vegan source of vitamin B12 and is a complete protein source. It boasts 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber in a 2-tablespoon serving. It is rich in magnesium, zinc, and B-vitamins.
Poultry Spice Mix (Superfood: Chia Seeds*)
Makes ¼ cup
From the Organic Authority Files
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon chia seeds
Add the peppercorns to a spice grinder and pulse under coarsely ground. Add the herbs, except for the chia seeds and the nutmeg. Pulse until finely ground. Lastly, add the chia seeds and nutmeg and pulse a few more times.
*Chia seeds are a great source of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, boron, niacin, and all essential amino acids. Chia seeds are 20 percent protein by weight and have 9-times more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, more than 5-times more calcium than milk, and 3-times more iron than raw spinach. Chia seeds also have more antioxidants than blueberries. Chia seeds are nutrition powerhouses with potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Hot Cajun Spice Mix (Superfood: Acai*)
Makes ½ cup
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ¼ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ¼ teaspoons dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon acai powder
Mix all ingredients together and use the spice mix to spice up your favorite meals.
*Acai is packed with antioxidants, more so than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries. It's also a healthy source of omega-fatty acids.
Spice Blend Image from Shutterstock