Yes, I know. I could have added these items to the basic vegan grocery list we made. But, we need to discuss the following items in a separate post to emphasize their importance! Seasoning your vegan food properly should be your number one priority when it comes to great taste. The spices you add to a meal can make or break the dish. And you don’t need to be a chef to know the secret.
Spices can be very necessary for a vegan meal due to the lack of flavor in many vegan ingredients. Unless pre-marinated or processed, vegan staples like beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and other mock meats lack flavor and are meant to take on the flavor you give it through your choice of seasoning. As well, properly seasoning your vegetables can enhance their natural flavors.
Just like the basic shopping list, this list is compiled of only the necessary everyday spices that you can find at any grocery store. As you continue to cook, you will pick up and start to add new favorites.
The Basic Spice Collection
Nutritional Yeast* (A yeast that can be added to create a cheesy flavor)
And that’s not all! Here are five rules (plus a bonus) that you should always follow when seasoning your food!
Your food probably doesn’t taste good because you haven’t seasoned it properly.
If you try out a new vegan recipe and it tastes less than stellar, do not blame the lack of quality on the vegan food! Vegan food has the potential to taste amazing and fill every craving. Try again and change your spice combination.
Always taste the spice so you can know what flavor it will add.
Once you find yourself comfortable in the kitchen to make your own creations, you will start to change the recipe. Knowing the flavors of spices can let you know exactly what you need to add to get a particular taste. If your dish is tatsy, but it could use a little heat, then knowing the taste of your spices can let you know whether you should add black pepper, chili powder, or crushed red peppers.
Designate different spices for different types of food and season the your veggies like you would season meat.
If you are unsure how to season your veggie meal, just season it how you would season a non-veggie meal! So, if you made a vegan pasta or lasagna, use italian seasonings. If you are seasoning a mock fish, then use the seafood seasonings. If you’re still clueless to what those seasoning may consist of, here is a cheat list using the above spices.
Chicken – Salt, Pepper, thyme, rosemary
Italian – Salt, Pepper, Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary
Seafood – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder
BBQ – Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Chili Powder
If you are still uncomfortable making your own spice combination, you can always buy pre-made spice combinations for your food. These seasonings are generally categorized by the types of foods and cuisines they are meant to season. From poultry seasoning and Italian seasoning, to Cajun seasoning and Ole Bay seasoning for seafood.
Watch the salt, but don’t skip it all together
High sodium levels can have a negative effect on your body, including increased water retention, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends a person should eat no more than 1,500 mg. Make sure not to add too much, but don’t skip salt altogether.
There is no right measurement – unless you are baking.
You may have heard the saying before, “Cooking is an art, but baking is a science.” When you cook, there really no rules and recipes are only guidelines. Make your meal your own and add spices as you please. Now, if you are baking, it might be best to stick with the amounts called for and save the experimenting when you are comfortable with a dish.
And as an extra bonus,
The GOLDEN Rule: When in doubt, add only a small amount of the spice. If you need to, you can always add more!
In the comments below…
What is your favorite spice or spice combination?