A good spice mix can transform the most simple wholefood meals into a gastronomical delight. I buy my spices in bulk, not only so I can pop a pinch of this and a dash of that into my saucepan, but to create handy spice mixes for the meals we enjoy over and over. There’s always some basic mixed herbs in my pantry, some celery salt, a couple of bright orange curry mixes and a version of this homemade taco seasoning. They’re all very easy to make will save you a ton of money compared to buying the premade versions. Those store-bought ones also unfortunately contain a lot of crap.
I headed to the international food aisle at my supermarket recently to see for myself just how healthy a packet mix of taco seasoning would be. You’d probably assume it’s just all spices in those little foil or glass containers, right? Hah! Here’s what I found on the labels of three different brands displayed in my supermarket:
Old El Paso Taco Seasoning: Maize flour, sugar, salt, garlic (8%), paprika, cumin (6.5%), tomato (6%), onion, food acid (330), oregano, chilli, anti caking agent (551), paprika extract, ground bay leaves.
Mission Taco Seasoning: Maize Flour, Salt, Sugar, Spices, dehydrated Vegetables(Tomato, Onion, Garlic, Red Bell Pepper), Anticaking Agent(551), Food Acid(330), Herbs, Colour(160c).
Woolworths Select Seasoning Mix: Spices and Herbs (Paprika, Cumin, Oregano, Black Pepper, Coriander), Vegetable Powders (Tomato, Onion, Garlic), Salt, Yellow Maize Flour, Sugar, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Anticaking Agent (551),Canola Oil (Antioxidant (320)).
So, the Old El Paso brand has a base of corn, sugar and salt with citric acid (E330) and silica dioxide (E551). Mission also has contains the citric acid and silica dioxide with added colouring derived from capsicum (E160c). Woolworths is probably my favourite however (sarcasm) as it contains the corn flour, citric acid, silica dioxide, canola oil and butylated hydrozyanisole (E320). Ermm…. Yummo? They’re still better than one of the US brands I found with MSG added….
The good news is that it’s so easy to make your own spice mixes that once you get started you’ll never consider buying the supermarket brands again! This recipe is a hotter spice mix than my All-Purpose Mexican Seasoning and can be used in exactly the same way as the store-bought varieties, e.g. sprinkle over beef, chicken or veggies during cooking (1 – 2 tbsp/500g of ingredients) or can be used as a spice rub before grilling. There are ten easy-to-find spices in this recipe with no additives, no fillers and no CRAP.
- 4 tbsp chilli powder
- 3 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp garlic powder or granules
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp fine celtic sea salt
- Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well. Spoon into a 250ml glass jar with a lid and store in a cool, dry place.
- Use 1 - 2 tablespoons of Homemade Taco Seasoning per 500g of meat when cooking. This amount replaces one packet of store bought seasoning.