Top 10 Spice Blend Recipes


Save money by making your own custom spice blends, from a Mexican spice blend to a Tunisian spice blend, with these easy to follow steps and recipes for these Top 10 spice blends from around the world.

The Spice of Life: Health Benefits of Spices

We all love spices, right? Indeed, spices have tremendous value in our diets. They not only add amazing flavors, aromas, and color, but spices also have health benefits. Spices have been around for thousands of years, with the earliest written records originating from ancient Indian, Chinese, and Egyptian cultures. Along with being used for seasoning, spices were used for medicinal remedies. In fact, an Egyptian medical record from 1550 B.C.E describes over eight-hundred medicinal remedies and procedures, many including spices or herbs! Today, spices still have a distinct role in traditional Eastern medicine, including Ayurvedic and Chinese practices. One example is turmeric, which originates from southeast Asia and India. This distinctly yellow, earthy spice is not only used to flavor curries and teas, but also can be used to help reduce inflammation. Turmeric is a key ingredient in a few of these traditional spice blend recipes we’re sharing in this guide on how to make spices. 

This recipe for Shawarma Bulgur Salad Bowl with Black Chickpeas uses a shawarma spice blend, featured below. 

Using Spice Blends in the Kitchen 

Spice blends are one of the easiest ways to add health and flavor to your foods. Instead of stocking and adding a bunch of different spices to a dish, all you need is one blend. Many spice blends have been enjoyed by cultures around the world, from a turkish spice blend to a southwest spice blend. During the Middle Ages, spices, including black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, were incredibly expensive. Even today, it seems that spices and spice blends can have a pretty hefty cost. However, there are simple ways around this—you can first check out local ethnic markets or stores, where spices are often sold in bulk for much lower prices, and then you can make your own spice blends from scratch. It may seem daunting. How do you know which spices to add to a spice blend? What ratios do you use in your spice blend? Well, you don’t have to worry! I’m sharing a quick and easy guide on how to make 10 common spice blends, along with selected recipes that feature spice blends. So once you’ve got those spice blends mixed up, you don’t have to go searching for a recipe to use it! You’ll also want to store your spice blends in airtight glass containers. Try these jars for your homemade spice blends. 

Top 10 Spice Blend Recipes 

Garam Masala 

Start off with a classic garam masala, which is used in Indian cuisine and can commonly be found in curries, soups, and lentil dishes. Although the ingredients vary across the Indian subcontinent, there are usually a standard few found in the mixture. The spices in garam masala are usually toasted to add more depth and aroma, contributing to the overall sweet, spicy, earthy, and tangy flavor. 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Toast all of the spices together in a small skillet over low-medium heat. Once the spices begin to crackle, grind them in a spice grinder or blender until they reach a fine powder. Store in airtight container. 
Enjoy garam masala in this creamy chickpea curry recipe 

Dukah

Dukah is a blend of nuts, herbs and spices originating in Egypt. Similar to garam masala, the ingredients do vary, but tend to have sesame, cumin, and nuts. Dukah can be used in many different ways, from sprinkled over salads and soups, to a topping for classic bread with olive oil. 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Toast nuts and sunflower seeds together in a pan for about 3 minutes over low-medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and toast for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Pour into a blender and lightly pulse so that you get a crunchy mixture rather than a powder. Store in an airtight container. Learn more about ways to use Dukah here
Try this recipe for Beluga Lentil Bowl with Roasted Veggies from my book California Vegan

Herbes de Provence 

Herbes de Provence is a fragrant mixture of dried herbs that originated in Southern France, and can be added to roasted vegetables, salads, and soups to add a sunny flavor.

Ingredients: 

Instructions:

  • Mix all of these herbs together, or blend them in a spice grinder to create a finer texture. Store in an airtight container. 
Find hints of the Herbes de Provence blend in this Provencal Bean Salad

Ras el Hanout

Ras el Hanout can be translated as “head of shop” or “top shelf,” as, according to legend, this spice blend was created when North African spice dealers mixed together the best spices they had. This spice blend is certainly rich and complex, often containing as many as 80 different spices! However, this recipe has fewer ingredients, though you’ll still be able to enjoy the earthy, savory flavor of this dish favored in Moroccan and Tunisian cuisine. 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container. 
This Moroccan Chickpea Sorghum Bowl is full of this spice blend, as well as grains and veggies. 

Za’atar

This zingy Middle Eastern spice blend is used in many ways, including as a garnish for hummus, or mixed into olive oil for a marinade. It’s savory, with one special ingredient—sumac! This adds a tangy, almost acidic flavor to the blend. 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Mix together the spices. Store in an airtight container. 
Try za’atar in this easy Sheet Pan Roasted Veggie Meal

Cajun Spice Blend

We’re heading to Louisiana! Cajun Spice Blend (also referred to Creole Spice Blend) is a spicy, delicious combination of flavors used to enhance veggies, soups, stews, grain dishes, and jambalaya

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Stir together Store in an airtight container. 
Add cajun spice blend to this Rustic Vegan Corn Potato Sausage Skillet.

Mexican Spice Blend

This blend is zingy and spicy, making it perfect for tofu scrambles, veggie burgers, tacos, soups, bean dishes, dips, and beyond.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container. 
Use this spicy blend in a hearty, delicious Tex-Mex Sorghum Chili

Italian Seasoning

This blend is perfect for traditional Italian fare, such as spaghetti sauce and lasagna, but it’s also perfect for grilled or roasted vegetables, soups, salads, and dips. Full of fragrant herbs, with just a little bit of spice, Italian seasoning is an ideal all-purpose seasoning in your kitchen. 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Stir together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. 
This Italian Eggplant Bake is a perfect recipe to use your Italian seasoning blend. 

Shawarma Spice Blend

This is a common Middle Eastern spice blend traditionally used for rotisserie meats. However, it can also be added to many plant-based dishes, including chickpea recipes, veggie kebabs, grain bowls, and dressings. 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Stir together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. 
Add Shawarma spice to this recipe for Buffalo Cauliflower Tofu Skewers

Pumpkin Pie Spice

This comforting spice blend instantly conjures up thoughts of fragrant pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie. It’s just that warm and cozy! This sweet spice is one of my personal favorites to use when baking.

Ingredients:

Instructions: 

  • Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. 
This recipe for Soft Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies  features pumpkin pie spice. 

Don’t forget, you can turn these spice blends into amazing edible gifts for your friends year round! Just package them up in a pretty jar, tie with a ribbon, label them, and you are set! Now that you have all of these spice blends created, you might feel a little overwhelmed. I know my own spice cabinet is crammed full of different jars and boxes—it can take ages to find one particular spice. You’re in luck, though—here is my blog on how to organize your pantry so all of your beautiful new spice blends can be displayed efficiently! And don’t forget to learn more about the health benefits of spices here

Written by Sharon Palmer MSFS, RDN with Kathryn Atkinson, dietetic intern

For more recipes using these spice blends, check out the following: 

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