We love adding herbs and spices to our dishes. Whether it's on Thanksgiving or any other day, they're sure to add flavor. That's why we've listed out the top spices and seasoning blends you can use to spruce up your dishes. This list will be especially useful if you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year.
When you take a bite of Thanksgiving dinner, what flavors and smells do you catch?
The dominant flavors in Thanksgiving foods are turkey and gravy. Turkey and gravy may taste great, but they lack depth. You can give Thanksgiving dinner more flavor by adding spices and herbs. Spices, especially, add depth, complexity, and interest.
Zaatar - Its flavor can range from tangy to herbal to nutty or toasty. Original Zaatar seasoning blend is hand-blended from fresh ingredients: thyme, marjoram and oregano mingle with exotic sumac and sesame seeds that have been carefully roasted to unlock their full flavor potential
Sumac - It offers a pleasant tangy taste with a hint of citrus fruitiness. Sumac is an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, used in spice rubs, marinades, dressings, and as a condiment.
Berbere - Berbere's distinctive flavor is hot, peppery and tangy. This Ethiopian spice blend contains cloves, ginger, and bird's eye chili peppers for a deliciously spicy taste.
Barberry - also known as 'zareshk', will add a mouthful of sweet and sour to any of your favorite recipes. These tiny berries pack a powerful punch of tart and tangy flavor, adding complexity to both sweet and savory dishes. The subtle sourness creates a versatile flavor profile in marinades and salad dressings.
Chinese Five - Smoky, savory, sweet, and capable of incredible depth of flavor, our Chinese Five Spice is hand-blended from spicy Szechuan (see-chu-wahn) Peppercorns, earthy Star Anise, resinous Cloves, bright Fennel and a twist of sweet cinnamon.
Dukkah - a warm, toasty, nutty flavor that's brightened by fresh, citrusy coriander and cumin. It's a little salty and somewhat spicy, due to the black pepper. A great mixture of all of your crunchy, crumbly texture and favorite flavors of hazelnuts, pistachio, fennel seeds, coriander and cumin seeds, thyme, marjoram, black peppercorns, and sesame seeds.
Garam Masala - Inspired by the classic North Indian spice mix, our Garam Masala is versatile, slightly sweet. It is warming and heartening and makes flavorsome, hassle-free Thanksgiving stuffing. A mixture of Cumin, Coriander, Cardamom, Black Peppercorn, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Saffron.
Harissa - it has a very peppery, smoky flavor and can range in levels of heat, depending on which peppers and chiles make up the sauce. It also has a strong garlicky flavor that's brightened up with a kick of citrus. A great mixture of Chili Peppers, Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Lemon, Garlic, Caraway.
ROAST TURKEY WITH CITRUS, HERBS AND ZA’ATAR
An ideal Thanksgiving roast turkey seasoned with aromatic za'atar, citrus zest and fresh herbs, slathered with butter to make it juicy and flavorful.
1 10 pound whole turkey defrosted
3 tbsp. Za’atar
2 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary leaves chopped finely
1 small bunch of fresh oregano leaves removed and finely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh thyme leaves removed and finely chopped
1 stick of unsalted butter softened
1 whole onion cut in half
1 whole garlic bulb cut in half
1 whole lemon and/or orange cut in half
This recipe is with a thawed turkey, but I will leave a few notes on what to do with a frozen or deeply chilled turkey later in the post.
Remove the turkey from its bag and take out any giblets inside of it (spoiler: we keep the neck and giblets and roast them or save them for the gravy!)
Pat dry the entire turkey with paper towels and place on a rimmed baking sheet or toasting pan.
In a bowl, mix together the citrus zests, herbs, spices and sugar and stir to combine, then rub the mixture all over the turkey, getting into the crevices and under the skin if you can.
Make room in the refrigerator and place the seasoned turkey in the fridge, uncovered for at least 8 hours. I like to do this right before bed the night before Thanksgiving.
Remove turkey from the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to roast it and pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oven is preheating, rub the softened butter all over the turkey, getting under the skin as well. Some of the herbs may rub off and you can add more zaatar all over if you’d like.
Next, fill the turkey cavity with halved onions, garlic bulbs and lemons or oranges and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Place turkey in a roasting pan and roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue roasting for another 2 hours or until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once done, remove turkey from oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Recipe source: littleferrarokitchen.com
ZA’ATAR DIJON SMOKED TURKEY
Make a deliciously different Za’atar Dijon Smoked Turkey this year and take the pressure off your oven. You can make holiday cooking so much easier by cooking the Cuisinart Twin Oaks Pellet & Gas Grill along with salt-roasted sweet potatoes, roasted red cabbage, and maple tahini acorn squash. Put a Mediterranean twist on traditional Thanksgiving fare this year!
12 lbs turkey
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Za'atar seasoning
3 limes zested and halved
1 sweet yellow onion halved and quartered
10 sprigs fresh thyme
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
Preheat the pellet side of the Cuisinart Twin Oaks Pellet & Gas Grill to 325 degrees.
Gently rinse and pat dry turkey and place into a roasting pan, then whisk together the dijon mustard, olive oil, za'atar seasoning, and lime zest. Coat entire turkey with marinade, then stuff the inside with as much of the lime halves and onion quarters and thyme sprigs as possible, surrounding the outside of the turkey with the remaining lime, onion, and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle turkey with salt and pepper, then place meat probes into the thickest portions of the breast and thigh.
Place turkey in the smoker and plug in meat probes. Close the lid and let smoke until the lowest temperature meat probe reaches 165 degrees, about 3 hours for a 12-pound turkey. For browner, crispier skin, turn the heat up to 350 degrees when the lowest temperature probe reaches 155 degrees. Remove turkey from smoker and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe source: asimplepantry.com
SUMAC DRY BRINED ROAST TURKEY
Moist, flavorful, and beautiful recipe by Geoffrey Zakarian. A recipe that tout a "juicy" turkey breast but this recipe delivers, not to mention the sumac rub which adds so much flavor.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the turkey: Two days before cooking, combine the salt with the herbes de Provence, sumac and black pepper in a bowl. Rub all over the turkey, inside and out, and under the skin of the breast and legs where accessible, being careful to not tear the skin. Place on a sheet tray fitted with a rack or in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 2 days.
Bring the turkey out of the fridge 1 to 2 hours before cooking to temper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the butter, minced thyme and lemon zest in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place the turkey on a work surface. Spread the butter under the skin of the turkey around the legs and breasts, as evenly as possible. Stuff the cavity with the quartered lemons, apple, shallots and sprigs of thyme. Tie the legs closed with kitchen twine. Place the onions, carrots, celery and garlic at the bottom of a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Place the turkey on the rack. Roast, basting every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg (do not touch bone) reads 155 to 160 degrees F, 12 to 14 minutes per pound, or 2 to 3 hours. Allow the turkey to rest for 90 minutes.
For the gravy: Meanwhile, strain the drippings and juices from the roasting pan into a bowl. Discard the vegetables. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until the raw flavor is cooked off, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cider vinegar and soy sauce for depth. Slowly whisk the strained drippings into the flour to avoid clumps. Simmer until the gravy just coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. (The gravy will not be a heavy thick gravy, but rather a light gravy.) Season to taste. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.
Recipe source: foodnetwork.com
BALSAMIC ROASTED FALL VEGETABLES WITH SUMAC
Another delicious way to eat veggies. This easy recipe for roasted fall vegetables is packed with flavor and flexible to be changed up with your seasonal favorites.
Ingredients:Balsamic Roasted Fall Vegetables with Sumac
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sumac. Add the prepared vegetables and toss to fully coat with the liquid. Rub any remaining liquid into the vegetables by hand (be careful of the beets as they can stain clothing) especially the carrots which are more difficult to coat when in longer form.
Place vegetables on a large baking sheet or roasting pan and sprinkle the salt over them. Flip the vegetables halfway through cooking. Cook until done but still firm (not mushy), about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Recipe source: boulderlocavore.com
BERBERE-RUBBED ROAST TURKEY WITH ORANGE AIOLI
This Ethiopian-spice-rubbed turkey recipe has just the right amount of curry-like seasoning to make it exciting but still at home on a Thanksgiving table.
1 10- to 12-pound turkey, thawed if frozen
3 medium oranges
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 cups water
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Berbere spice blend
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, zest 1 orange. Peel all 3 oranges and cut each into 6 wedges. Combine the zest, mayonnaise and garlic in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan with foil and coat a roasting rack with cooking spray. Add water to the pan.
Rub the turkey all over with butter. Season inside and out with berbere spice and salt, particularly under the skin and onto the breast meat. Fill the cavity with the orange wedges and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast-side down on the prepared rack in the roasting pan. Roast for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the turkey from the oven and carefully turn it over, using turkey lifters, tongs or silicone oven mitts, so it's breast-side up. Return to the oven and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours more.
Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before transferring to a clean cutting board to carve. If desired, pour the pan drippings through a sieve to serve with the turkey and the reserved orange aioli.
Recipe source: eatingwell.com
BASMATI RICE WITH DILL AND BARBERRIES
Jessica Koslow of Sqirl in Los Angeles is known for her rice bowls topped with cooked and raw vegetables, pickles, proteins and crispies. This light and fragrant rice would make a great base for Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s also great on its own as a side dish.
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained well
Fine sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup dried barberries
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 medium shallot, minced
In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt. Stir once, cover and cook over low heat until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steam for 20 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
In a large bowl, mix the rice with the butter. Fold in the dill, barberries, lemon juice and shallot. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Recipe source: foodandwine.com
ROASTED CHINESE 5 SPICE SWEETPOTATOES
A nice little twist for a Thanksgiving side dish. This is so much better than the marshmallow topped casserole of your childhood! Such marvelous flavor with the addition of 5-spice.
4 California sweet potatoes cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 tablespoon Chinese five Spice
1/2 freshly cracked black pepper
3-4 tablespoons chopped green onions or chives
Recipe source: whatsgabycooking.com
GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH FENNEL AND TOASTED PECAN DUKKAH
This great vegetarian option is utterly delicious. Served it at Thanksgiving dinner to raves all around. The dukkah is nutty and flavorful.
Dukkah (Dukkah: 3/4 cup pecans (3 ounces), 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper)
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 medium fennel bulb with fronds
Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast, tossing once, until fragrant and lightly golden, 8–10 minutes. Let cool completely.
Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds and toast, stirring frequently, until sesame seeds are golden and spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely.
Dukkah Blend (Coarsely chop 1/4 cup pecans; set aside. Pulse sesame seed mixture, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 cup pecans in a food processor until coarse, dry, and crumbly; do not let it become a paste.)
Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 5–7 minutes. Drain, then transfer immediately to a large bowl filled with ice water. Drain again and pat dry.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop fennel fronds; set aside. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise, then thinly slice each half lengthwise.
Whisk lemon zest, oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl. Add green beans, fennel bulb, and half of the dukkah and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a serving platter, then top with fennel fronds, remaining dukkah, and remaining 1/4 cup pecans.
Recipe source: epicurious.com
GARAM MASALA SPICED TURKEY WITH SPICED PAN JUS
Chef Laura Frankel reinterpreted the flavors of Country Captain for Thanksgiving by rubbing the turkey with curry and warm, toasty spices and roasting it rather than braising it as Country Captain suggests.
For the Rub:
2 tablespoons Garam Masala (adjust level of spice)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the Turkey:
4 onions, not peeled and rough cut
2 bulbs garlic, cut in half to expose the cloves
1 fennel bulb, rough cut
3 medium carrots, rough cut
3 celery ribs, rough cut
1 12-14 pound turkey, at room temperature<
1 lemon, cut in half
1 orange, cut in quarters
For the Gravy:
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
Preheat the oven to 425
Make the Rub: Combine the rub ingredients and set aside.
Scatter the vegetables and the turkey neck on the bottom of a roasting pan. I do not use a V-rack or other single use contraptions. The veggies will keep the turkey from sitting in its juices and getting a “soggy” bottom!
Place the cut up lemon and orange into the cavity. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath the bird. This will ensure a nicer shaped bird at the end of roasting and will help the turkey to roast evenly.
Rub the turkey, with the rub, all over including the bottom. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 325 and continue roasting for another 2 ½-3 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160. Remove the turkey and lightly tent with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, discard the vegetables at the bottom of the pan (they did their job by flavoring the drippings). Skim off the fat from the drippings and transfer to a sauce pan.
Add the coconut milk and curry powder to the turkey drippings and whisk together. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Recipe source: koshereye.com
BROWN BUTTER GARAM MASALA MASHED SWEET POTATOES
Nutty brown butter and the warm spices of Garam Masala take this Thanksgiving side dish to the next level.
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup (1 stick) Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Garam Masala + more to garnish
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Combine both types of potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until they are tender, 13-15 minutes; drain. Return them to the same pot set over lowest heat, shaking every once in a while, until the potatoes are dry, 3-5 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, place the butter in a small pan (preferably a light-colored metal pan) over medium heat. Once the butter melts, it will start to bubble and foam. Once it does this, stir or swirl often, until the milk solids have turned golden and start to smell nutty. This doesn't take very long, just a couple of minutes or so. As soon as this happens, pour the butter into a heatproof bowl, scraping out all of those browned bits, to stop the cooking.
Use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes. Add the half of the browned butter, milk, maple syrup, Garam Masala, salt and pepper to the pot, beating until combined. Transfer to a serving dish.
Recipe source: landolakes.com
HARISSA AND MAPLE ROASTED CARROTS
A colorful and spicy (but not fiery!) side breaks up all the heavy, rich dishes on the table.
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon harissa paste
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 pounds small rainbow carrots, scrubbed, tops trimmed to about 1/2", halved
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
Recipe source: epicurious.com
SHINGLED SWEET POTATOES WITH HARISSA
The classic savory-sweet side gets a makeover with the addition of harissa for an extra hint of spicy-earthiness. We promise you won’t miss the marshmallows.
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Harissa paste
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, divided
3 1/4 lb. medium sweet potatoes, peeled
Tbsp. Dukkah (Dukkah: 3 Tbsp. raw pistachios, 2 tsp. sesame seeds, 1 tsp. fennel seeds. Equipment: A spice mill or mortar and pestle)
Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk ⅔ cup oil, ⅔ cup harissa, and 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a large bowl to combine. Slice sweet potatoes crosswise on a mandoline ⅛" thick.
Add to bowl with harissa mixture and toss to coat; season with salt.
Arrange sweet potatoes so they are standing upright in concentric circles in a 2-qt. baking dish, packing tightly.
Roast, brushing any accumulated harissa oil in dish onto sweet potatoes every 10–15 minutes, until soft and starting to brown on top, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, toss pistachios, sesame seeds, and fennel seeds on a small rimmed baking sheet (or use our Dukkah Blend for more flavors boost). Toast alongside sweet potatoes until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to spice mill or mortar and pestle and coarsely grind. Set dukkah aside.
Whisk remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, 2 Tbsp. harissa, and 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a small bowl. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and brush with oil mixture. Sprinkle with reserved dukkah.
Do Ahead: Dukkah can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Recipe source: bonappetit.com
If you are looking for a new culinary adventure this year, take the plunge into the world of flavoring spices and seasoning blends. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that these seasonings are surprisingly versatile.
Check out these Thanksgiving blends, here.