What do you use to boost flavor in your foods? Are they high in salt, sugar or fat? There’s a wonderful world of herbs and spices you must visit; a place to expand your palette (instead of your waistline) without sacrificing flavor.

Herbs and spices add incredible flavor to foods without adding any calories. If you’ve never used herbs and spices, it might be a little daunting at first.  Don’t be intimidated.  With these helpful tips, you’ll be on your way to cooking Michelin Star dishes in no time.  Ditch the salt and pick up the herbs and spices!

How To Use Spices and Herbs


  • Ground spices and herbs may be added closer to the end cooking time for a more distinct flavor, around 15 minutes before the end cooking time, or at the beginning for more blended flavors.
  • Whole spices and Bay Leaves release flavor more slowly. Add to dish at least 1 hour from the end cooking time.
  • For uncooked foods such as salad dressings or fruit juices, add herbs and spices several hours before to let the flavors blend together.
  • For salad dressings, add the spices and herbs to the liquid and let sit overnight for the best flavor.


  • The amount to use is all based on personal preference.
  • If you are unsure of how much to start with, start with a ¼ teaspoon of ground herbs and spices and adjust to taste.  If you are using fresh herbs, use twice the amount (or 1/2 tsp).
  • Decrease your starting amount to 1/8 teaspoon for cayenne, red pepper flakes and garlic powder. Adjust to your taste.

Recommended herbs and spices for meat:

Beef: Bay leaf, marjoram, onion, pepper, sage, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, cumin, ginger, parsley, rosemary, savory, shallot, tarragon, chives

Chicken: Ginger, marjoram, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, saffron, parsley, onion, garlic, dill, cumin, chives, basil

Fish: Dill, dry mustard, marjoram, paprika, pepper, basil, chives, rosemary, sage, tarragon, cayenne, garlic, parsley, oregano, thyme

Turkey: Basil, garlic, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, rosemary, saffron, sage, tarragon, thyme

Recommended herbs and spices for vegetables:

Asparagus: Chives, lemon balm, ginger, parsley, tarragon, thyme, sage, savory, rosemary

Broccoli: Garlic, lemon balm, oregano, thyme, tarragon

Carrots: Cinnamon, cloves, dill, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, mint, tarragon, thyme

Cauliflower: Chili powder, caraway, chives, cumin, curry, dill, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, tarragon

Eggplant: Basil, cinnamon, dill, garlic, marjoram, mint, onion, oregano, sage, savory, rosemary, thyme

Green Beans: Dill, curry, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme, basil, sage, rosemary

Mushrooms: Pepper, coriander, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme

Squash: Cloves, cinnamon, curry, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, basil, caraway, cardamom, ginger, savory

Zucchini: Basil, dill, tarragon, thyme

If you are trying to lose weight, please consider visiting us at Olivera Weight Management.

We use research-proven strategies, approaches and tools to help our patients achieve successful weight loss.  We offer a variety of services to meet your needs.  In our remote Nutrition Consultations, our Registered Dietitian develops a plan customized to meet your needs without you ever having to leave your home.  Phentermine, an FDA approved appetite suppressant proven to help patients lose weight, is available at Olivera Weight Management for patients who qualify.  We offer all services in a caring, supportive environment. For more information on pricing and our other services, please visit our webpage or give us a call at 773-327-6624.  Follow us on Facebook for free weight loss tips, recipes and more.

*Please note, appointments are required for new patients and strongly encouraged for returning patients to minimize wait times.*