What is in Italian seasoning? Well, it’s a blend of ground dried herbs and spices. Although Italian seasoning mix may seem simple, this blend adds a complex layer of flavor to your favorite dishes. What makes up an Italian seasoning recipe? What makes each of these Italian seasoning ingredients special? Let’s find out!
What is in Italian Seasoning: A Breakdown
What Italian Seasoning is Made Up Of
Called “origano” by the Italians, this herb is actually a flowering plant from the mint family. It adds a distinct flavor to home-cooked Italian dishes. The chemical compounds carvacrol, thymol, and pinene give oregano its distinct warm-pungent aroma and spicy-bitter taste.
Health Benefits: Oregano has been studied for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Pesto, anyone? Basil is another herb that stars in a lot of Italian dishes. Another member of the mint family, basil adds a sweet, minty flavor to a wide variety of dishes. The presence of the chemical compound eugenol adds the clove scent and flavor to the herb, while citral gives it an interesting citrus-y dimension. Basil actually originated from India, but it has been used in Italy for thousands of years.
Health Benefits: Basil has strong antioxidant properties.
A relative of oregano, thyme is a herb that has been enjoyed throughout the ages. Associated with the virtue of courage, ancient Greeks used thyme in their baths. In the Middle Ages, it was used as a dream catcher to stop nightmares. This herb has a dry aroma and adds a subtle, minty dimension to dishes.
Health Benefits: This study shows thyme’s possible effects with regards to hypertension reduction.
The name “rosemary” is derived from the Latin words “ros” and “marinus”, meaning “dew of the sea”. It is a hardy herb and can survive tough droughts. When added to homemade Italian seasoning, it adds a nice, fresh aroma. Dried rosemary is perfect for lamb, pork, potatoes, and turkey.
Health Benefits: Rosemary can help with indigestion, as well as a number of other health issues.
Now that you know what is in Italian seasoning, you can now create your own by grinding and mixing 2 tablespoons of each herb. You can also add garlic powder, sage, cilantro, and black pepper if you prefer.
— Melissa’s Produce (@MelissasProduce) November 30, 2017
Tip: Always store your homemade Italian seasoning in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. This will help preserve its freshness.
What Italian Seasoning Does for Your Dish
A Healthier Alternative
Italian seasoning provides you with an all-natural alternative to artificial flavoring. It brings unique flavor to a wide variety of dishes. Take pizza, for example. The traditional Italian pizza is topped with mozzarella, herbs, and tomato sauce — nothing else.
A Zesty Flair
The complexity of these herbs’ flavor will certainly add an unforgettable dimension to your dishes. As a matter of fact, something as simple as baked potatoes could taste like something straight from an Italian kitchen.
An Unmistakeable Aroma
Baking chicken? Add a bit of Italian seasoning, and fill the house with the wonderful aroma of fragrant herbs.
What to Put Italian Seasoning On
Italian seasoning is quite versatile. You can use it on:
Cooking meat or poultry? Add it to the rub. Making pasta? Use it to season the sauce. It’s a valuable addition to your spice cabinet. You can even make your own Italian dressing for salads.
Want to make a simple 3-course Italian meal? Watch this video by Tasty below:
The dried herbs in Italian seasoning are at the heart of every Italian dish. It’s a simple, healthy secret that has been passed on from one generation to the next, the core of a cuisine that is now being enjoyed by millions around the world.
What is your favorite Italian dish, and what do you love about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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