5 Best Spices to Use in Vegan Recipes for 2018
Veganism is on the rise and the health benefits are undeniable, so we’ve nominated a few of our favorite Zest & Zing products as the best spices to use in vegan recipes for 2018. They’re intense, bold, and some are spicy, but they’re all packed with flavour.
To keep your plant-based dishes interesting, choose spices and herbs that make those ingredients shine! After you eliminate products like butter and cheese, you’ll need to create that flavour elsewhere. Making spices an essential part of your vegan culinary repertoire is an easy way to do that. You’ll incorporate new tastes, complex flavour profiles, and heat so you don’t get bored!
We’ve talked about how to use spices in vegetarian dishes, but these are a few of the best spice blends for cooking delicious vegan dinner recipes. Even if you haven’t gone completely vegan or you just want to dabble in a few vegan meals, spices can help ease the transition by making plant-based dishes more craveable.
Fruity, intense, and hot, the Aleppo Pepper is such an underrated and delicious way to bring some mild heat to your favourite vegan dinners. Spicy meals can help you feel more satisfied and full, so a little sprinkling of this crushed pepper on your dishes can go a long way in enhancing your vegan diet plan. We want to introduce you to this lesser-known pepper so you can add it to your spice cabinet!
Start out simply by using Z&Z’s Aleppo Pepper in marinades. Mix it with olive oil and salt and coat your roasted vegetables with it. Or add the flakes to this seven-vegetable couscous which uses squash, onions, turnips, and golden raisins. You can also ease into using this new chili by topping soups with Aleppo Pepper to add some heat to a healthy, warm, vegetable-based dish, like this hearty white bean soup. Or try it on traditionally spicy foods like shakshuka (with chickpeas).
Feel free to use the Aleppo Pepper as a sort of premium replacement for your typical crushed red pepper by sprinkling it on pizza and pastas. It’s more aromatic and fruity, but it will add those nuanced flavours to the dish while bringing some heat. Try it on this creamy vegan pasta with roasted tomatoes. We also think the kick of Aleppo Pepper flakes would cut through the richness of this vegan green chili macaroni and cheese especially well.
Try it with our Z&Z Vegan Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup
Hummus is always a great go-to snack when it comes to vegan foods. Our Hummus Spice blend contains the essential flavours of everyone’s favorite Middle Eastern dip, like garlic, lemon, parsley, olive oil, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Zest & Zing has basically recreated those tantalizing flavours in a dried form so that you can get the taste of hummus everywhere.
Sprinkle it on roasted vegetables like aubergines or courgettes. Or try it on these grilled veggie kabobs with broccoli, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
We also think it would taste amazing on vegan dinner recipes like this roasted stuffed cauliflower or this vegan leek crumble, which sound both filling and flavourful. Our Hummus Spice blend also contains yeast, which can give vegan foods a nutty cheesy flavour without the use of animal products.
You can also use our Hummus Spice blend to season and enhance your own homemade hummus or baba ghanoush. Add a bit to this cold aubergine dip by Jamie Oliver. Or coat your olive-oil brushed pita bread with it. This hummus blend makes a great addition to several healthy vegan snacks.
Try it with our Z&Z Vegan Recipe for Hummus Spice Tofu
Pesto is another nearly perfect vegan food and condiment - if you skip the parmesan cheese! Zest & Zing has created a dried Pesto blend that’s completely vegan. It contains basil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, black pepper, and sea salt. You get all the depth and flavour of your favorite pesto with the tanginess of sun-dried tomato, and you don’t have to wait until summer for fresh basil!
Use our Z&Z Pesto blend in the traditional way by simply adding olive oil for dipping or mixing it into your favorite vegan pesto pastas. For a hearty vegan dinner, you could also add it to pasta dishes that don’t typically contain pesto, like this creamy vegan garlic pasta and other alfredo-style sauces.
Marinate your vegetables in it before roasting or grilling to give them a savoury, fresh, and earthy flavour. We think it would make a zesty addition to this roasted vegetable salad with garlic dressing and toasted pepitas. Or try it in a spinach, mushroom, and orzo soup in place of regular pesto.
If you’re looking for a quick vegan dinner recipe, try something like this warm millet bowl with mushroom and kale. You could also make it with rice or couscous. Just sprinkle a little of our pesto blend over the top to make it more exciting! Speaking of kale, the flavours of pesto pair extremely well with kale salads - a winter staple - like this one with shaved brussels sprouts or this one with avocado tahini sauce.
Try it with our Z&Z Recipe for Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes - just skip the tuna!
This ancient Middle Eastern spice blend is potentially one of the most versatile when it comes to vegan recipes. Our Za’atar gives a distinctive citrusy and herby flavour to every dish it touches with its toasted sesame seeds and sumac. We’ve put together a list of za’atar recipes before, but here are a few of our favorite ways to use it in vegan meals.
It’s no secret that roasted cauliflower makes a great meat substitute, but try these simple za’atar-crusted cauliflower steaks and expect to become addicted. Not only will the taste be vibrant and intense, but the crunch of outside will make the texture amazing. For a quick vegan dinner or lunch, try using your leftovers in these couscous bowls with za’atar chickpeas.
When mixed with olive oil, za’atar can be used as a flavourful dip for pita breads or as a nutty, herbaceous salad dressing. You can throw it in your hummus too! But it’s also as easy as coating your vegetables in the blend before roasting, like this za’atar-rubbed baked eggplant recipe or za’atar roasted chickpea salad. And because tofu is great when it’s seasoned well, this za’atar tofu accompanied by red onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes makes another healthy vegan main.
Chipotle Chilli Flakes
Yes, a second chili pepper is on our list! When it comes to some of our favorite vegan recipes, we think many of them could use that extra kick of heat from our Chipotle Chili Flakes. These smoked jalapeno peppers - that’s what a chipotle is, after all - are intense and aromatic. They’re great on top of vegan pizzas, pastas, Mexican dishes, stews, and anywhere else you’d like a little spice and smoke!
Sprinkle these Chipotle Chili Flakes on top of vegan white pizza to give it some heat. Or try them on a vegan creamy avocado pasta to liven it up. These poblano and portobello fajitas are already smoky, but you could make them even spicier with chipotle flakes. And the same goes for these vegan cauliflower tacos. Add more or less depending on your preference for spice!For a quick vegan dinner, we think this healthy quinoa bowl with edamame and corn deserves a little heat to round it out. Chipotle is also the perfect topping for stews and soups like this smoky vegan black bean soup or this vegan lentil stew with carrots, onion, garlic, and potatoes.