We all enjoy delicious food, but when we’re trying to be intentional with our diet and lifestyle choices, finding healthy ways to prepare meals can be a bit challenging. Many people believe the lie that healthy food is boring, flavorless, or downright gross, but they don’t have to be! With a little experimentation with spices, you can find spice combinations to always keep things fresh.
The Core Six Spice Combinations
If you’ve ever eaten Italian food or Chinese food, you know that each cuisine has a specific flavor based on their regional origin. That’s because they are dishes that are made from the spice and ingredients local to that community. You don’t need super processed spices or sauces to recreate these flavors either. All you need is a solid foundation of knowledge on how to use different spice combinations and other ingredients to work together to create delicious dishes with these distinct flavors.
Here are 6 simplified spice combinations that you can use to take your healthy meals from bland to bold. Each is measured for a pound of food:
- Mexican: 1 Tbsp (15ml) Chili powder, juice of 1 Lime
- Greek: 1 Tbsp (15ml) Oregano, 2 tbsp (30ml) Olive Oil, 2 tbsp (30ml) Lemon juice
- Italian: ½ Tbsp (7ml) Oregano, 3 cloves (½ tsp/2.5ml powdered) Garlic, ½ tbsp (7ml) Basil, 1 can diced Tomatoes
- Indian: ½ Tsp (2.5ml) Cumin, 1 tbsp (15ml) Curry, ½ tsp (2.5ml) Coriander
- Chinese/Japanese (this makes a marinade or stir fry sauce): ¼ tsp (1ml) Ginger, ¼ cup (59ml)Tamari (coconut aminos or soy sauce), 2 Tbsp (30ml) Rice Vinegar, 3 cloves (½ tsp/2.5ml powdered) Garlic, dash red pepper flake, 1 tbsp (15ml) Sugar(honey)
- Thai (this makes a marinade or stir fry sauce): 1/2 cup (118ml) Coconut milk, 1/4 cup (59ml) Tamari (coconut aminos), 2 tbsp (30ml) Fish Sauce, 1 Tbsp (15ml) Green or red curry paste, handful fresh chopped Cilantro
For the complete set, add these to your shopping list (herbs and spices are dried):
- 2 limes
- 2 lemons
- Can or jar of diced tomatoes
- Coconut aminos or soy sauce
- Rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Chili Powder
- Red Pepper Flake
- Garlic Powder (or fresh bulb of garlic, your choice)
- Curry powder
- Ginger powder
If you go to the store and buy these 15 items, you’ll be set to make a wide variety of dishes from all over the world. These spice combinations can be used for chicken, fish, eggs, beef, or pork; roasted, sauteed, steamed, or microwaved veggies; stir-fries, and more!
At Ward’s, we offer a huge selection of dried herbs and spices in our bulk spice aisle, so you can stock up on your favorite spices for a very affordable price. The best part is you can have a different dish from around the world every day of the week, all by changing up your spice combos!
How to Use These Spice Combos
Now that you have stocked up on different spice combinations, it’s time to put them to the test in your favorite recipes! One way to start trying to use these combinations is to omit the spices from any recipe you find, and simply replace them with one of the suggestions above. Don’t forget that the proportions suggested above are per pound of food, so be careful not to match that with the amount of food you have.
If you’re trying to eat healthier, we have a few ideas on how to try these spice combos on some staple meals:
- Roasting Vegetables – Try throwing some spices on your vegetables as you roast them in the oven.
- Chicken Stir-Fry – A chicken skillet meal can go from bland to fabulous with the Chinese/Japanese spice combination!
- Scrambled Eggs – Have Mexican spiced eggs one more, and then Italian eggs the next.
- Sheet Pan Meals – Toss your sheet pan meals with one of the spice combinations above to keep it interesting!
- Burgers – Adding any of these spice combinations to a burger recipe can make for some interesting flavors. Try making an Italian burger and top it with basil, mozzarella, and tomato!
After some time, you’ll begin to get more comfortable with customized flavor combos and try mixing things up even more. Just remember, it’s important to taste-test your food as you go, to ensure it is well-seasoned throughout the cooking process (except for raw meat, don’t eat raw meat!).
Find Your Favorite Spices at Ward’s Supermarket
Now that you have a good foundation of spice combinations and how to use them in your favorite recipes, it’s time to stop by Ward’s Supermarket and shop our bulk spice aisle! We have distinct spices from all over the world here at our store, so there is always something new to try and a new flavor combination to explore. While you’re there, check out our weekly specials and see if there is an item on sale that will make a great meal. We hope you’ll enjoy spicing up your healthy meals with these spice ideas!