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Spice Essentials & 5 Homemade Seasoning Blends

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Flavor can make or break any recipe which is why I encourage people to spend equal amounts of time trying new fresh foods AND experimenting with new spices and seasonings.  It can be a little daunting at first, especially when you are unfamiliar with a lot of spices, but it’s much easier than you think.  Just start with a base/core group of spices and work you up from there.

Below is my A-Team list, or better stated, essential seasonings, dried herbs and spices that I use weekly to bring my food to life.  It’s by no means exhaustive but these are among the most common.


  • onion powder
  • garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
  • paprika OR smoked paprika
  • cayenne
  • cumin


  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • thyme


  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • allspice


The next step after identifying your essential spices and seasonings is learning how to pair them together to create blends and rubs for your food.  This is the fun part!  To help you get started, I have created and re-created some common store-bought blends to show just how easy it is to get started.  The good thing about creating your blends is that you can customize them to meet YOUR flavor preferences.  Some people may like something spicier or nuttier or sweeter or milder, etc – so the blends that follow are largely “written in pencil,” meaning use them as an overall guide and “initial compass.”  Make them your own!



Sodium has gotten a bad rep in the healthy eating community.  But, sodium is especially important for active individuals because of the loss of fluids and electrolytes during workouts. So, it’s important to not only stay hydrated and drink adequate amounts of water, but also incorporating moderate sodium into your regular diet to help regulate water levels in the body.

To better control and regulate how much sodium, I recommend seasoning to taste whenever possible at the end or middle of recipes.  When we add salt at the very beginning we can easily over season the food and use way more sodium than necessary.  So, I’ll generally add sea salt after the flavors of the recipe have melded and I just need a pinch of sea salt & pepper to get that serving “just right” (for me).  Same goes with blends whenever possible – I keep the sodium at minimal amounts, or remove altogether, and then add sea salt to taste for each portion of food.

Cook 15min


Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 1 ripe medium plantain
  • ~6.5 oz extra lean turkey
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 roma tomato
  • red onions & cilantro to your liking
  • Seasonings: low sodium chili seasoning, sea salt, pepper, paprika.

Nutrition per serving

See Full Recipe
Recipe 2

Cajun Seasoning Blend

Total 5min


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (store bought or your homemade blend)
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic (granulated or powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne (or more if you like it HOT)
  • 2 tablespoon ground thyme (or dried)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground sage (OPTIONAL)


Step 1

Mix seasonings together and place in a spice jar. To taste the blend, place 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of your hand, add a pinch of sea salt and taste. Customize the blend with more/less of desired ingredients.

Recipe 3

Sweet Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend

Total 5min


  • 1/3 cup sea salt (or ground Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (granulated or powder)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne.


Step 1

Mix seasonings together and place in a spice jar.  To taste the blend, place 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of your hand and taste.  Customize the blend with more/less of desired ingredients.  Note: this blend is a SALT REPLACEMENT so use a pinch or two of this in recipes INSTEAD OF using regular sea salt.

Recipe 4

Thai Coconut Seasoning Rub

Total 5min


  • 1/2 cup dried (or toasted) coconut flakes
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 2 teaspoons peanut powder


Step 1

Place ingredients into a food processor or blender.  Blend and process until well mixed, textured, fragrant rub.  Place in a spice jar.  To taste the blend, place 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of your hand, add a pinch of sea salt and taste.  Customize the blend with more/less of desired ingredients.

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Cook 15min
Total 15min
Total Calories: 494cal
Total Carbs: 74g
Total Fats: 3g
Total Protein: 49g
About Kevin - author


Hey, I'm Kevin

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.

By experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I learned healthy eating is not boring! By making a few adjustments to my favorite foods, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my wellness goals while satisfying my desire for BANGIN food! 😅 Now I try to help people around the world realize that same level of freedom in eating regardless of budget. Welcome, let's #DemocratizeWellness together!