Spices Used

Using spices in vegetarian food makes it taste great!

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Spices in vegetarian cuisine

A lot of people will mistakenly think that vegetarian food is very bland and boring. However, with the addition of some simple spices the food can be full of flavor. In fact a good vegetarian cook can make much more interesting food than an everyday meat chef.

I am going to list some of the most common spices that you should be able to get hold of in local stores. I will then give ideas of which vegetarian foods they work with.

Bay leaf

These are often added to soups or stews to add flavor. However, they don't taste nice when eaten so need to be taken out before serving. They also add a lovely flavor to curry.

Cayenne pepper

This adds a really spicy flavor to sauces of all kinds. Works well with chili or if you are making bbq sauce.

Chili powder

This can be added to a wide variety of foods to give them a hot flavor. Traditionally used in chilies but can also be added with red kidney beans to make spicy bean burgers or in Caribbean cooking.


This adds a lovely flavor to cooked fruits especially apple. Also works well in the pastry of apple pie. It's also used in a wide variety of cakes and biscuits.


Fennel adds an aniseed type taste to food and can be used in sweet or savory dishes.


Garlic can be added to almost any dish. It's strong flavor works well on its own (for example with roast potatoes or fried mushrooms) but also helps to bring out the flavors of other spices in dishes like curry.


Ginger can be used in sweet foods such as carrot cake and biscuits. However, as a savory dish is it works particularly well in Chinese food like stir fry and it is lovely grated with carrot in salads.


This is traditionally used with meat, but also brings out the flavor of cheese sauces and works well with cheesy mash or with nut roast. It is also sometimes served at bbq's with vegetarian burgers and hot dogs.


Oregano is most commonly used on pizzas to add to the flavor of the cheese sauce.


This gives a smoky flavor to food and can be used when making Mexican style crispy coatings for vegetables, or in chili.


This is commonly used as a garnish because of the attractive leaves, but also has a great flavor. It works well in salads and with sauces.


This is generally used to add a yellowy color to food.


Vanilla is used in sweet dishes such as custard to give a gentle flavor.

This is just a small example of the spices that are available to use in foods. If you are cooking savory dishes you can add a mixture of herbs and spices to make very well flavored meals. For example in a chili you would use a mixture of chili powder, paprika, mixed herbs and salt to make a well seasoned and tasty dish.