How To Use Spices To Make Food Tasty


If you’re used to slathering your meat, fish and veggies with salt or sauces to make them taste good then lean lifestyle cooking can seem kinda dull and uninspiring.

At Corio we enjoy our food, I mean...we really heart fabulous delicious grub! If it tastes like cardboard you won’t want to eat it for very long.

Good news, you can spice up your plate in a flash without adding bloat-inducing salt or calorie and sugar-laden sauces that will mess with your hormones and hinder your progress.

One word. Spices.



If you are cooking:

Try flavoring it with:


Bay leaf, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme


Curry powder, garlic, rosemary, mint


Garlic, onion, sage, pepper, oregano


Bay leaf, curry powder, ginger, marjoram, oregano


Ginger, marjoram, oregano, paprika, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme


Curry powder, dill, dry mustard, marjoram, paprika, pepper


Cinnamon, cloves, dill, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage


Cumin, curry powder, onion, paprika, parsley

Green Beans

Dill, curry powder, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme


Onion, pepper


Dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, sage

Summer Squash

Cloves, curry powder, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage

Winter Squash

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, onion


Basil, bay leaf, dill, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, pepper


chives, dill, garlic, vinegar


green pepper, mint, fresh mushrooms, onion, parsley


chives, green pepper, onion, paprika, parsley


How To Use Spices and Herbs (The beginners go-to guide)

  • Use no more than 1/4 teaspoon of dried spice (3/4 of fresh) per pound (or 500g) of meat, so you’ll need to grab your scales.
  • Add ground spices to food about 15 minutes before the end of cooking time
  • Add whole spices to food a least one hour before the end of cooking time
  • Crush dried herbs before adding to foods

Common Spice Conundrums:

Your recipe calls for fresh herbs and all you have are dried herbs.

Follow this rule:

1 tablespoon finely cut fresh herbs =1 teaspoon dried leafy herbs =1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground dried herbs

Help the recipe says Add X to taste! How much do I use?

Use more herbs if using a leafy or fresh form - start with 1 tsbp if fresh. Begin with 1/4 teaspoon of most ground spices or ground dried herbs, or 1/8 teaspoon for cayenne pepper and garlic powder; per:1 pound of meat; 1 pint (2 cups of soup or sauce).Red pepper intensifies in flavor during cooking; add in small increments.

When do I add spices?

Pop fresh herbs near the end of the cooking time (within the last 5-10 minutes or use as garnish) as prolonged heating can cause flavor and aroma losses.


For uncooked foods, add spices and herbs  several hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.  For example, mix your oil and herbs then marinate your meat for at least 30 min, or overnight.

You’ll want to take out whole spices and bay leaves at the end of cooking; pro-tip: secure them in a tea ball so you can find them fast.


Cajun Spice Blend

2 Tbsp cumin2 Tbsp coriander2 Tbsp paprika1 ½ tsp salt1 ½ tsp black pepperCayenne pepper to taste 1 Tbsp dried oregano

This spice blend is great on grilled chicken, tofu, or even salads.

Greek Spice Blend

1 Tbsp garlic powder1 Tbsp dried basil1 Tbsp dried oregano1 ½ tsp salt1 ½ tsp pepper1 ½ tsp dried parsley1 ½ tsp dried rosemary1 ½ tsp dried thyme3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Use this on Greek salads, when roasting vegetables with olive oil, or in hummus.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

1/4 cup ground cinnamon2 tsp ground ginger2 tsp nutmeg2 tsp all spice1 tsp ground cloves


Some fun uses for this blend are: in oatmeal, on yogurt, or even on a peanut butter sandwich with sliced bananas.

Lemon Pepper

Zest from 3 lemons2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp black pepper2 Tbsp salt

This is great on chicken, prawns, on salads, or on popcorn.

Curry Blend

2 Tbsp cumin powder2 Tbsp ground coriander2 Tbsp turmeric1 ½ tsp ground cardamom1/2 tsp cinnamon1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

I’d recommend using this any time you want to give dishes an Indian flair.

Italian Spice Blend

2 Tsbp dried basil2 Tsbp dried oregano1 Tsbp dried thyme1 Tsbp dried rosemary1 Tsbp garlic powder1/4 tsp onion powder1/4 tsp salt

This works well on sautéed vegetables with fresh garlic.


Chili Seasoning

2 Tbsp chili powder1 tsp cumin1 tsp coriander1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder1/2 tsp garlic powder1/4 tsp cayenne pepper1/2 tsp salt1 tsp regular paprika

1 tsp smoked paprika (or use 2 tsp regular paprika if you can’t find smoked)

Taco Seasoning

2 Tbsp chili powder2 Tbsp ground cumin1 ½ tsp onion powder1 ½ tsp garlic powder½ tps cayenne pepper½ tsp black pepper (optional)½ tsp salt½ tsp oregano

In addition to using this for taco meat, you can also mix it into refried beans, use it to flavor enchiladas, or stir it into Greek yogurt or coyo as a substitute for a “spicy sour cream.”

CORIO is an online community that helps busy women (who love to dance) feel fit, energised and confident with short, effective at-home-workouts.  We heart barre, dance cardio, Pilates, HIIT and all things with great moves and music. You can get 3 FREE workouts for yourself here.