In most cuisines worldwide, spices are considered an integral part of the cook, which helps bring out the dish’s natural flavors. Spices also add flavor to the dish, turning it from bland to a lip-smacking taste within seconds. In some cases, spices like paprika, turmeric, and saffron are added to change the color of the food to make it more appealing.

There are five basic flavor profiles – bitter, sweet, salty, spicy, and sour. However, adding spices does not just add these flavors to dishes but simultaneously enhances 155 other flavor characteristics.

Vegan cooking mainly involves vegetables and plant-based products which are bland on their own. Hence, vegan dishes are dominated by spices which help bring out the flavor quotient of the plant-based ingredients. So, if you’re looking for a spice list for your next vegan dish, here is a guide!



It is a sweet and tangy spice with a slight hint of an anise flavor. Many German, Russian, Scandinavian and American cuisines use this spice, along with dill, garlic, coriander, oregano, thyme, and parsley. The dishes prepared using this spice are added to sauerkraut, salads, sausages, soups, and bread.

All Spice

All spices add an earthy and sweet flavor to the dish and blend well with cinnamon, mace, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom. It also forms a great combination to bake sweet dishes and soups, bread, salads, etc.

Cayenne Pepper

This is the spice for you if you want to make your dish spicy. It is often used in Southwestern, Mexican and Italian cuisines and goes well with almost any spice. However, it is mainly added to sauces, curries, chili, and pizzas.

Cayenne Pepper


Cloves are earthy and sweet, often seen in Caribbean and Indian cuisines. It is one spice that blends exceptionally well with savory and sweet dishes. Indians also use cloves in their tea to enhance the flavor of milk and tea.


Cumin is mainly smoky, earthy, and nutty in Asian and Mexican cuisine. When used with different vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, etc., they bring out a different flavor. When you start using cumin, it also helps with the digestion of your food, without which you can feel its absence.


Nutmegs are primarily used in French and Indian cousins with a sweet, nutty, and warm flavor. They add aroma when paired with cloves, allspice, and cinnamon, making the dish more appealing. Sometimes, they are also used in baked goods.


Star Anise

Star Anise has a strong licorice flavor, mainly seen in Chinese, Mexican and Asian cuisines. However, when paired with Indian Garam masala, it offers the best taste to flavor rice, curries, and other stir-fried vegetables.


It is early and bitter, adding color to the food, mainly seen in Moroccan and Indian foods. It can also be paired with all the species mentioned above to add color to different rice dishes and curries.

Categories: Vegan Cooking


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