Herbs & Spices You Should Have In Your Kitchen (And How To Use Them)

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The secret to any delicious meal is using the right herbs and spices. You can have the loveliest, freshest ingredients but your dish will be seriously lacking in flavor if you aren’t using herbs and spices to your advantage. I used a meal kit service for almost a year and that’s the number one thing I learned. The recipes always came with interesting spice blends, and they always made the meals tasty and interesting, even if the ingredients were simple. That being said, learning how to use them correctly is no small feat. There are so many different herbs and spices out there and it takes a while to master them. Here’s a quick guide that you can start out with.

Basil

You can always count on basil to complement a tomato dish. It’s often used in Italian cuisine and you can sprinkle it on top of pizza, pasta, and salads. You can also add it to soup and veggie stir fry.

Oregano

You’ll find many recipes that include oregano. Like basil, it complements tomato dishes and is popular in Italian cuisine. Use it for pasta, pizza, chili, and roasted veggies.

Cilantro

Many people consider this a love-or-hate taste, but it’s essential for cooking Mexican and Thai cuisine. You can also use it in salad, rice dishes, and stir-fry.

Cumin

If you like curries, you definitely need cumin on your spice rack. You can also use it for other savory dishes like chili, stew, soup, and roasts.

Turmeric

This is another curry staple, but you can use it for other rice dishes, soups, eggs, or roasted veggies.

Cinnamon

It’s mostly famous for pastries and sweet drinks, but cinnamon can be the secret ingredient in savory dishes too. It’s extensively used in Asian, Middle Eastern, and Northern African cuisine. You can use it for roasted veggies, soup, chili, curry, even in fajita mix!

Ginger

This is a staple in Asian (especially Chinese). You should definitely be adding it to stir fry, but it also works in soup, noodles, and salads. It also works well in desserts.

Parsley

This is a versatile herb that will bring freshness to your plate. Use it with veggies, meat, and soup.

Rosemary

Comfort food and rosemary go hand in hand. Sprinkle it on potatoes, cauliflower, and steak.

Thyme

This is another great one for savory comfort foods. Use it for soup, stew, and roasted veggies.

Bay leaf

No soup is complete without a hearty bay leaf. You can also add it to stews and tomato sauces.

Dill

This is often used in hearty Eastern European recipes. Add it to soups, stews, salads, or mix it with yogurt or sour cream for a tangy sauce.

Mint

Liven up your salads, wraps, smoothies/drinks, and desserts with this refreshing herb.

Cayenne pepper

If you’re a fan of spicy food, make sure to have at least one type of chili pepper in your kitchen. Add it to Mexican, Indian, and Thai dishes, or anything that you want to give an extra kick of flavor to.

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