Italian seasoning is a spice mix chock full of a fabulous blend of dried herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and oregano. It's aromatic and flavorful and comes in handy when you want a lot of flavor with just one jar. Make the spice blend once at it will last you many dinners. It's convenient and I think there's no shame in reaching for this jar, when you want that extra snap with minimal thinking.
Sometimes we just want a lot of flavor fast. So no, maybe Italians and professional chefs don't really use this blend, but I don't see any problem with it. You have made it yourself after all, you are just pre-making your dinner well in advance, right.
As a Norwegian, Italian seasoning is something that became new to me when I started food blogging and researching food. I noticed a lot of American recipes using this spice blend. And as you may have guessed, since I didn't know about it, I couldn't buy it in the stores here either.
Well, I call that a win situation. This forced me to make my own, and now I make it on a regular basis and use it at least weekly. And I hope you will do the same!
What is Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning is a spice and herb mix not made by Italians, but made by Americans to easily get the flavors of Italy in a wide array of dishes. The seasonings that are usually in this spice blend are oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil among others. It's just a big party of delicious herbs, don't you think!
But what about marjoram?
It does usually include marjoram. Both oregano and marjoram are in the mint family and they are kind of similar. The oregano is more pungent and spicy, while the marjoram is more floral and woodsy. The marjoram is so mild that you can't really substitute oregano for marjoram, but in this case I don't think it matters. Of course, if you have marjoram, I would definitely put it in. But as this is a pantry staple, and pretty epic, spice blend without it, I am so okay with it.
Most of the typical substitutions for marjoram are in this spice blend, so this Italian seasoning is perfectly balanced. Typical substitutions are:
- Less oregano
How to Make Italian Seasoning
How to make spice blends in general is super easy. You simply measure out all the ingredients in a bowl, give it a good mix and store in an airtight container. I prefer a glass jar with a tight lid, so I can always see if it's time to make another batch.
The amount of chili flakes you add really depends on two things; 1 - how spicy you like it, and 2 - how spicy your chili flakes are. I used to purchase my chili flakes in the normal super market. That was pretty mild chili flakes, so I used 1 tablespoon of it in this Italian seasoning. I don't want this to be overly spicy, because it's meant to be an all around spice mix. Now I purchase my chili flakes at an Asian specialty store, and these are STRONG. I have totally burned myself on that several times. I keep forgetting it's so strong. So I don't put more than 1 teaspoon of this strong kind of chili flakes in. I'm just giving you a warning, and my experience, so you can be a better judge of the spice situation.
Recipes Using Italian Seasoning
Of course we need some recipes to use it in. That is why we make it after all. This is not the kind of spice blend you make, are really excited about it, but then you hide it in the cupboard and never use it again. This baby can be used in pretty much everything:
- Tomato based sauces you want an Italian kick to. Such as a ragu or bolognese (recipe is on its way).
- Homemade Sourdough Crutons (scroll down a bit to find it)
- Baked Mozzarella Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- On pizza or this Serrano Ham and Mozzarella Pita Pizza > just swap za'atar with Italian seasoning
- On baked potato wedges or fries
- Sprinkle some on roasted vegetables
- Italian stuffed baked peppers from Dinner then Dessert
- Zesty Italian Seasoned Pretzels from Accidental Happy Baker
- Italian Orzo and Sausage Skillet from The Recipe Critic
And plenty of other recipes. Let me know if you have any exciting ones. And I'll make sure to post new recipes using it as I go.
Other Spice Blends
- Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (not technically a spice blend, but also something we tend to just buy instead of make)
- Moroccan Spices (scroll down until you see it, under Moroccan Turkey Stew)
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!
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