Pinch of Nom Recipes: The Essential Herbs and Spice List
When it comes to adding flavour to your dishes, herbs and spices make all the difference!
Packing a flavourful punch without adding extra calories, a dash of chilli powder here or a sprinkle of coriander there takes the simplest recipes to the next level.
But not all of us have fully stocked spice racks or bunches of fresh herbs all year-round.
Certain herbs and spices can be quite pricey – and if you’re not using them often, it’s hard to justify the cost.
The key is to stock up your cupboards with the top 10 herbs and spices for everyday cooking. That way, when you flick through your Pinch of Nom Cookbooks, you’ll already have many of the basic flavours to hand.
Top 5 Store Cupboard Spices
Cheap but full of flavour, garlic granules top our list of cupboard essentials. Used in a huge range of Pinch of Nom favourites, a sprinkle of garlic granules (or garlic powder) makes recipes instantly tastier.
It’s important to make sure you don’t mix up garlic granules or garlic powder with garlic salt though. Unless the recipe specifically calls for it, adding garlic salt will make your food far too salty!
While garlic granules and powder are made from pure garlic, garlic salt is 50% granules and 50% salt. One to watch out for!
Another great all-rounder, mustard powder is featured in lots of our all-time favourite recipes.
Paprika comes in sweet, smoky and hot varieties. Plain paprika is sometimes called sweet paprika, which is more subtle in flavour than the more powerful smoky or spicy types.
Great in stews and curries, paprika is also used in many Mediterranean inspired dishes such as this One Pot Mediterranean Chicken Orzo. Yum!
Curry recipes can sometimes list lots of individual spices that you might not have laying around.
Curry powder is a handy substitute when you don’t have many spices in your cupboard, helping you recreate your favourite curries, without having to pop to the shops!
Available in a choice of hot, medium and mild, you’ll be able to find a curry powder at the supermarket that’s suitable for the whole family.
Chinese 5 spice
For fakeaway lovers, a jar of Chinese 5 spice is essential. A dash of this blend of Szechuan peppercorns, star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon and cloves adds instant Asian flavour – without you needing to buy each spice individually.
Why not try recreating the classic flavours of sweet and sour with this Chinese Chicken with Tomatoes recipe?
Top 5 Store Cupboard Herbs
A cupboard staple, dried oregano will add herby Italian flavours to everything from salads to risottos.
Coriander is another herb that’s used across a huge range of recipes! While fresh coriander is great as a finishing touch, ground or dried coriander will last for ages in your cupboards.
Made from the seed rather than the coriander leaf, this gentle spice is warming without being hot, perfect for aromatic curries.
With a Mediterranean taste, dried basil is handy to have in your cupboards for tasty lunches and dinners.
The refreshing taste of freshly picked basil is hard to beat when making a pesto or topping pasta dishes, but we love the flavour that dried basil brings to this Beef Ragu Fettuccine.
Thyme is a herb that pairs well with both meat and veggies. Keep some dried thyme in your spice rack and you’ll always be able to rustle up a tasty dish.
The fragrant flavour goes great with chicken, but we especially love it in this Carrot, Orange and Thyme Soup!
Last but not least, your store cupboard wouldn’t be complete without a jar of mixed herbs! It’s a lifesaver for when a recipe calls for a few different herbs that you might not have in.
Usually containing a mix of basil, marjoram, oregano and thyme, you can substitute mixed herbs for any similar herbs without spoiling the flavour. So handy!
Fresh herbs for finishing touches
For special occasions you can’t beat the sprinkling of some fresh herbs as a finishing touch.
We recommend planning these recipes in advance so you can make the most of your fresh herbs. Don’t forget, you can always freeze leftover fresh herbs to prevent any waste!
Finely chop the leaves and stalks and pop into an ice cube tray. Top up with water to create frozen cubes of flavour that are perfect for adding to soups and stews!
For those times when a recipe calls for fresh herbs that you don’t have in, this guide to Fresh vs Dried Herbs explains how to convert the amounts so you can swap to the dried versions.
Even though we love to keep our food as simple and fuss-free as possible, every now and then a recipe calls for some herbs or spices that are a little more out of the ordinary.
Some flavours are worth a little extra-special attention – spicing up your favourite Fakeaway or dressing up a classic dish. Our top 3 ‘unusual’ herbs and spices are sumac, tarragon and fennel.
What are your favourite herbs and spices to cook with? Tell us what’s in your store cupboard over on our Facebook Group.