My AIP Seasoning Series is back! Today I’m sharing my simple, aromatic Greek Seasoning recipe that is just perfect for summer, with it’s punchy herbs and zing of lemon.
It’s barely the beginning of summer here, but already my kitchen is well over 90 degrees and even as a food blogger and photographer, I’m really not feeling the love when it comes to raising the temperature in there any more than is necessary. It’s usually about this point in the year where I concede weather-induced defeat, move my Instant Pot outside onto the deck, abandon making anything more complicated than a salad or ceviche inside and bribe my husband with meat to do all the grilling. We do what we have to do.
And this kind of stuporific heat brought on a whole bunch of travel nostalgia, taking me back to a time when I was lucky enough to spend some of a summer traveling around Greece. When I wasn’t attempting to drink my bodily weight in ouzo once the sun had set (because, hello exchange rate that made it cheaper than water!), I was busy taking in the sights and enjoying my first taste of what it was like to eat simple, seasonal, nutritious, well prepared food.
It’s probably safe to say that somewhere between the Aegean islands and Thessaly was where I discovered that salad didn’t have to be a “diet food”, I did actually like vegetables and the beauty of fresh ingredients surpassed everything I’d ever learned about food up until that point. Also, that Lonely Planet kind of lied. (Can you believe people used to use guidebooks to find hotels when landing in a strange country for the first time? That. That was silly).
If you go a-googling for Greek seasoning recipes or pick up a package or two, you’ll frequently come across mixes with ten or more ingredients. While it’s true that a Greek kitchen will traditionally use plenty of herbs, I’m going to hazard a guess that they don’t fling ’em all into every single recipe as some greek seasoning blends will have you believe!
Classic Greek herbs include arugula, basil, bay leaves, dill, fennel leaves, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, purslane, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme and wild celery… but I think we can agree that throwing every single one of those into the mix would be a little crazy, kind of confusing flavor-wise and pretty impractical in terms of a homemade greek seasoning mix. And that’s just before considering the spices that are often added, too!
I wanted to create a Greek Seasoning blend that’s flavorful, but not muddled; that’s made with a handful of easy to find ingredients that you can whip up at home and keep to hand for simple weeknight meals. I’ve kept it to six ingredients that you can find at grocery stores, which means you can mix up a batch quickly and it’s easy to store. This Greek Seasoning makes a great addition to dressings, dips, sauces, roast chicken or fish and vegetable dishes and I’ve included a few ideas on using it below.
The other advantage of using my Greek Seasoning blend is that you’re missing out on all the allergenic yuckery often added to commercially produced blends. The thing is, the ingredients lists on ready made seasoning mixes don’t have to be any more transparent with some of their ingredients than using the word “spices” (a huge problem if you’re trying to avoid specific things like nightshades!), plus they can be packed with some less than stellar additions, like soy, dairy, and corn derived fillers, as well as the ubiquitous flavor booster, MSG.
Here’s an ingredients list from a popular grocery store Greek seasoning blend:
“Salt, black pepper, corn starch, garlic, monosodium glutamate, oregano, flavor base seasoning (hydrolyzed corn and soy protein, sugar, onion powder, spice extractives), parsley and five other spices”.
So that’s a pretty good summary of why I like to make my own seasoning blends! First off, why the heck can’t you tell me what, exactly the ingredients are? Second of all, why you gotta mess things up with that hodgepodge of unnecessary, all-the-allergens-added extra ingredients. And, lastly, why do you expect people to pay for glorified salty garlic powder with a side of corn, when all they really want is to flavor their goddamn food? I mean, really. Until I had to avoid gluten, grains and dairy, it sure as heck never occurred to me that those kinds of ingredients were lurking in the bottom of a seasoning package.
Sadly, these days I know better. And although I’m an expert label checker now, I prefer to skip that whole exercise wherever possible. You know, before I really start to stick out as the crazy lady who picks up everything in the grocery store before putting it down again. The woman who can turn a quick trip for essentials into a three hour round the aisles marathon is not who I’m trying to be! So, I like to make my own easy Greek Seasoning. As always, this recipe is salt free, because I prefer to add salt as I cook instead of cutting my seasoning blends with it.
When I was traveling through Greece, I was exceedingly budget conscious. I wanted to squeeze the most out of every penny I had saved, so I skipped the touristy places in favor of local, hole in the wall type places and the plentiful markets packed with street vendors. To this day, I can feel the breeze whispering over my skin as I ate bowls of yogurt, honey and fresh fruit somewhere in the dark of an Athens night. I remember the flavor explosion of real feta drizzled with plentiful olive oil and the tongue-blistering wonder of fresh pita.
These days, I can’t enjoy those the dairy and gluten extravaganza of my youth, but I can still be inspired by the flavors I found there. The freshness of herb filled tzatziki sauce and the lemony marinades of those delicious street style meat snacks, souvlakia, were my inspiration for this Greek Seasoning mix. You’ll find it’s a blend that’s super versatile and perfectly suited for the summer, even if, like me, you’re over 6000 miles away from Athens.
Where to use this Greek Seasoning:
- Mix into coconut cream and chopped cucumber for a dairy free tzatziki.
- Sprinkle it onto white fish and bake wrapped in parchment over lemon slices.
- Whip it into a salad dressing with red wine vinegar, lemon and olive oil.
- Use it as a dry rub for roast or grilled chicken.
- Add to a marinade for pork of olive oil, red wine vinegar and lemon and grill on skewers with veggies.
Did you miss my earlier AIP Seasoning Series posts?
This post was included in the AIP Recipe Roundtable.
- MIX: Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine evenly.
- PULSE: This step is totally optional, but if you would like a finer texture, transfer all the ingredients to a spice mill and pulse a few times.
- STORE: Keep in an airtight container at room temperature.
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