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20 Top Spices

© 1997 – 2013


Most of our no-salt recipes use some spices or herbs for flavoring. When we don't use salt, the herbs and spices really kick in with their natural flavors, not overwhelmed by the bitter and pungent salt taste.

The best weay to describe the uniqueness of an herb and a spice is to understand where they come from or how we obtain them. Usually herbs come from the leafy part of a plant. They are often dried, but some, like basil can be used fresh (basil is also available dried).

Spices are found in seeds, roots, fruits and even bark, as well as in some vegetation. Herbs are generally available throughout the world, while spices are generally found in the Far East and in tropical zones.

Herbs can also be occasionally found in cosmetics, medicines, and as a food preservative.

The following list of spices and herbs includes USDA nutritonal data and suggested uses for each. We use many more spices than these, but if I were restricted to just twenty, these would be my choices (listed alphabetically). The nutrient data for each is based on one-teaspoon. We list only the nutrients from our standard list that have USDA readings. For instance, if a spice has no sugars or fats, they won't be listed in the data for that spice.
See Spices and Herbs for Vegetables.
Allspice Nutritional Information

Calories: 4.997 r
Protein: .116 gr
Carbohydrate: 1.37 gr
Dietary Fiber: .41 gr
Total Fat: .165 gr
Saturated Fat: .048 gr
Monounsaturated Fat: .013 gr
Polyunsaturated Fat: .045 gr
Calcium: 12.6 mgr
Magnesium: 2.565 mgr
Potassium: 19.8 mgr
Sodium: 1.463 mgr
Vitamin K: 0


Allspice (ground) - This is a mildly aromatic spice prepared from dried allspice berries. Used in cakes, cookies, stews of beef, pork and game.
Anise Seed Nutritional Information

Nutrient Data Per Teaspoon:
Calories: 7.077
Protein: .37 g
Carbohydrate: 1.05 g
Dietary Fiber: .307 g
Total Fat: .334 g
Saturated Fat: .012 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .205 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .066 g
Calcium: 13.6 mg
Magnesium: 3.57 mg
Potassium: 30.3 mg
Sodium: .336 mg
Vitamin K: 0


Anise Seed (whole) - From anise. (tends toward licorice flavor). Generally seeds used whole. Used often as a flavoring in cooking and liquers. The anise is a Eurasian annual herb of the carrot family. Use with soups, sauces, cookies.

Caraway Seed Nutritional Information per teaspoon

Calories: 6.993
Protein: .415 g
Carbohydrate: 1.048 g
Dietary Fiber: .798 g
Total Sugars: .013 g
Total Fat: .306 g
Saturated Fat: .013 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .15 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .069 g
Total Omega-3 FA: .003 g
Calcium: 14.5 mg
Magnesium: 5.418 mg
Potassium: 28.4 mg
Sodium: .357 mg
Vitamin K: 0


Caraway Seed - The pungent fruit of the caraway. Used in seasoning and especially in rye breads. Also of the carrot family. Also used in medicine. Use in salads, soups, sauces, stews, roasts, and breads. Also used in liquers such as the Scandanavian aquavit liqueur.
Cardamom Nutritional Information per teaspoon

Calories: 6.22
Protein: .215 g
Carbohydrate: 1.369 g
Dietary Fiber: .56 g
Total Fat: .134 g
Saturated Fat: .014 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .017 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .009 g
Total Omega-3 FA: .002 g
Calcium: 7.66 mg
Magnesium: 4.58 mg
Potassium: 22.4 mg
Sodium: .36 mg
Vitamin K: 0


Cardamom (ground) - Another spice also used in medicine. Cardamom, also spelled kardamom (peppergrass) is a blend of the aromatic fruit of the indian herb and amomon. From the ginger family. Seeds and ground available. Use to mix with other spice blends, cookies, and candies. If you drink coffee a dash of cardamom adds a very nice flavor.
Celery Nutritional Information per teaspoon

Celery Seed Nutrient Data Per Teaspoon:
Calories: 7.84
Protein: .361 g
Carbohydrate: .827 g
Dietary Fiber: .236 g
Total Sugars: .013 g
Total Fat: .505 g
Saturated Fat: .044 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .319 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .074 g
Total Omega-3 FA: .004 g
Calcium: 35.3 mg
Magnesium: 8.8 mg
Potassium: 28 mg
Sodium: 3.2 mg


Celery seed - Celery is of the carrot family. These seeds taste like celery but don't come from the celery you buy in a store. Celery seeds are exlusively from farmed or cultivated "wild" celery." Celery seeds used as spices in soups, stews and also in dressings and sauces.

Chili Powder Nutritional Information per teaspoon

Calories: 8.164
Protein: .319 g
Carbohydrate: 1.421 g
Dietary Fiber: .889 g
Total Sugars: .187 g
Total Fat: .436 g
Saturated Fat: .077 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .093 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .194 g
Total Omega-3 FA: .019 g
Calcium: 7.228 mg
Magnesium: 4.42 mg
Potassium: 49.8 mg
Sodium: 26.3 mg
Vitamin K: 2.748 mcg


Chili Powder (no salt) - Made from grinding ancho chilies to a powder. Often combined with other spices for a blend wuch as oregano, cumin, cloves or allspice. Many chili powder products have added salt, some are half salt. So be careful here. We like Wayzata (excellent heat) and Grandma's (mild heat). There are other no-salt brands available. Used many ways from soups and stews, all meats, most fish, vegetables, sauces, eggs, and party dips.

Chinese Five Spice Nutritional Information per teaspoon

Calories: 6.508
Protein: .261 g
Carbohydrate: 1.273 g
Dietary Fiber: .684 g
Total Sugars: .016 g
Total Fat: .236 g
Saturated Fat: .025 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .116 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .049 g
Total Omega-3 FA: .011 g
Calcium: 17 mg
Magnesium: 4.899 mg
Potassium: 27.3 mg
Sodium: 13.2 mg
Vitamin K: 1.255 mcg
Chinese Five Spice (AKA five-spice powder) - Thought to be important for Chinese cooking, it is mostly a mix of ground spices that combine the five primary flavors of Chinese meals. Sweet, sour, bitter, and pungent. They like it salty too, (soy sauce), but we can change that . The five spices often used for this powder are cinnamon, cloves, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, and ginger or fennel seed. Chinese Five Spice is used to flavor many Chinese dishes. Make your own Chinese Five Spice with this recipe. Simply mix together:
  • 2 teaspoons Szechuan black pepper (1.848 mg)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves (5.103 mg)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (.26 mg)
  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds or ground ginger (4.4 mg)
  • 2 teaspoons star anise (.672 mg)


  • Combine and store in dry container in dark pantry or cabinet. Use for stir fry, fowl, or in any soup calling for spices or stews. Note: Some recipes call for whole peppercorns, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and the fennel and anise seeds. These have to be blended together in a processor but I suggest you heat the pepper, cloves and cinnamon sticks until fragran (in a fry pan) before blending. It's a lot more work than the above recipe. Makes about 3 tablespoons. About 13 mg sodium per teaspoon.
    Cinnamon Nutritional Information per teaspoon
    Calories: 6.422
    Protein: .104 g
    Carbohydrate: 2.095 g
    Dietary Fiber: 1.381 g
    Total Sugars: .056 g
    Total Fat: .032 g
    Saturated Fat: .009 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .006 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .002 g
    Total Omega-3 FA: .001 g
    Calcium: 26.1 mg
    Magnesium: 1.56 mg
    Potassium: 11.2 mg
    Sodium: .26 mg
    Vitamin K: .811 mcg


    Cinnamon (ground) - An aromatic spice used in cereals, cakes, stews, breads, cookies, chutney, relishes, practically with any cooking. From the dried inner bark of a cinnamon (esp. C. zeylanicum) Available in sticks or ground (powder).
    Cloves Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 6.783
    Protein: .126 g
    Carbohydrate: 1.285 g
    Dietary Fiber: .718 g
    Total Sugars: .05 g
    Total Fat: .421 g
    Saturated Fat: .114 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .031 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .149 g
    Total Omega-3 FA: .09 g
    Calcium: 13.6 mg
    Magnesium: 5.544 mg
    Potassium: 23.1 mg
    Sodium: 5.103 mg
    Vitamin K: 2.978 mcg


    Cloves, ground - Dried unopened flower bud of a tropical tree of the myrtle family. Available whole and ground. Use in baking, meats, spice blends, pickles and more.
    Coriander Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 5.364
    Protein: .223 g
    Carbohydrate: .99 g
    Dietary Fiber: .754 g
    Total Fat: .32 g
    Saturated Fat: .018 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .244 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .031 g
    Calcium: 12.8 mg
    Magnesium: 5.94 mg
    Potassium: 22.8 mg
    Sodium: .63 mg


    Coriander (ground) - Of the carrot family. Aromatic. Available ground. Used in Southwestern, Asian, Spanish and middle eastern dishes. Use in salads, sauces, with fish, chicken,
    Curry Powder Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 6.5 Protein: .253 g Carbohydrate: 1.163 g Dietary Fiber: .664 g Total Sugars: .055 g Total Fat: .276 g Saturated Fat: .045 g Monounsaturated Fat: .111 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .051 g Total Omega-3 FA: .009 g Calcium: 9.56 mg Magnesium: 5.08 mg Potassium: 30.9 mg Sodium: 1.04 mg Vitamin K: 1.996 mcg


    Curry powder, (unsalted) - A blend. Thought to have been been created in 1810. Consists of several pungent ground spices such as cloves, cayenne pepper, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander, mace, white pepper, and others. Some commerical curry powder ccntains added salt. Use with chicken, vegetables, soups, stews. Used extensively with Indian cuisine.
    Cumin Seed Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 7.875 Protein: .374 g Carbohydrate: .929 g Dietary Fiber: .22 g Total Sugars: .047 g Total Fat: .468 g Saturated Fat: .032 g Monounsaturated Fat: .295 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .069 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Trans Fatty Acids: 0 g Total Omega-3 FA: .004 g Total Omega-6 FA: 0 g Calcium: 19.6 mg Magnesium: 7.686 mg Potassium: 37.5 mg Sodium: 3.528 mg Vitamin D: 0 mcg Vitamin K: .113 mcg


    Cumin Seeds – Another member of the carrot family. Used as an aromatic flavoring spice. Used in other spice blends.
    Dill Seed Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 6.405 Protein: .336 g Carbohydrate: 1.159 g Dietary Fiber: .443 g Total Sugars: 0 g Total Fat: .305 g Saturated Fat: .015 g Monounsaturated Fat: .198 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .021 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Trans Fatty Acids: 0 g Total Omega-3 FA: .003 g Total Omega-6 FA: 0 g Calcium: 31.8 mg Magnesium: 5.376 mg Potassium: 24.9 mg Sodium: .42 mg Vitamin D: 0 mcg Vitamin K: 0 mcg

    Dill Seed - Yet another member of the carrot family. Dill is a European origination and has a mild to strong aromatic foliage and seeds both of which are used in flavoring pickles and other foods. Use dry dill along with Splenda or sugar to convert our yo cheese into a substitute mayonnaise. (See page: )
    Fennel Seed Nutritional Information per teaspoon Calories: 6.9 Protein: .316 g Carbohydrate: 1.046 g Dietary Fiber: .796 g Total Fat: .297 g Saturated Fat: .01 g Monounsaturated Fat: .198 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .034 g Calcium: 23.9 mg Magnesium: 7.7 mg Potassium: 33.9 mg Sodium: 1.76 mg


    Fennel Seed - A European herb of the carrot family. Aromatic and flavorful addiion for many spice mixes and soups. Use in sauces, Don's Mock Sausage, pork roasts and sometimes with barbecued chicken thighs.
    Garlic Powder Nutritional Information per teaspoon Nutrient Data Per Teaspoon: Calories: 9.296 Protein: .47 g Carbohydrate: 2.036 g Dietary Fiber: .277 g Total Sugars: .68 g Total Fat: .021 g Saturated Fat: .004 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .011 g Total Omega-3 FA: .001 g Total Omega-6 FA: 0 g Calcium: 2.24 mg Magnesium: 1.624 mg Potassium: 30.8 mg Sodium: .728 mg


    Garlic Powder (unsalted) - Ground garlic. Garlic is European and cultivated generously for its bulbs, which can prove either sweet or hot. Good nutrients for the heart and blood system. Look out for commerical garlic powder, some of it contains added salt. Use in soups, sauces, stews, in other spice mixes you make, barbecuing or grilling.
    Ginger Nutritional Information per teaspoon Calories: 6.246
    Protein: .164 g
    Carbohydrate: 1.274 g
    Dietary Fiber: .225 g
    Total Sugars: .061 g
    Total Fat: .107 g
    Saturated Fat: .035 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .018 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .024 g
    Total Omega-3 FA: .005 g
    Calcium: 2.088 mg
    Magnesium: 3.312 mg
    Potassium: 24.2 mg
    Sodium: .576 mg
    Vitamin K: .014 mcg


    Ginger, ground - Of the ginger family. Prepared usually by drying and then grinding ginger plants to powder. Ginger is a rhizome and is used worldwide as a spice and sometimes in medicine. Some studies have shown that ginger relieves osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis pain. Ginger has been shown to be superior to Dramanine in warding off seasickness. Use with Asian cooking, soups, stews, barbecue rubs and chicken. Ginger is available as fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, candied (crystallized), and ground. Cbe used in some desserts.
    Mace Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calfories: Protein: .114 g
    Carbohydrate: .859 g
    Dietary Fiber: .343 g
    Total Fat: .55 g
    Saturated Fat: .162 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .19 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .075 g
    Total Omega-3 FA: .001 g
    Total Omega-6 FA: 0 g
    Calcium: 4.284 mg
    Magnesium: 2.771 mg
    Potassium: 7.871 mg
    Sodium: 1.36 mg


    Mace, ground - The aromatic spice from the dried external fibrous covering of a nutmeg. Use in homemade spice mixes for rubs, soups, sauces, stews, vegetables, and some desserts.
    Mustard Powder Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 9
    Protein: .5 g
    Carbohydrate: .3 g
    Dietary Fiber: 0 g
    Total Sugars: 0 g Total Fat: .6 g
    Saturated Fat: .1 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .3 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .2 g
    Calcium: 5 mg
    Magnesium: 0 mg
    Potassium: 11 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg


    Mustard Powder - From the mustard plant and its seeds. Dried and ground and used for flavoring. Use in other blends and mixes.
    Nutmeg Nutritional Information per teaspoon Calories: 11.6
    Protein: .128 g
    Carbohydrate: 1.084 g
    Dietary Fiber: .458 g
    Total Sugars: .627 g
    Total Fat: .799 g
    Saturated Fat: .571 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .071 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .008 g
    Calcium: 4.048 mg
    Magnesium: 4.026 mg
    Potassium: 7.7 mg
    Sodium: .352 mg


    Nutmeg, ground - Molucca native. From a tree. Very aromatic and used in other spice blends, pies, soups, desserts, eggnog, Fettuccini Alfredo (pasta), and many other dishes.

    Onion Powder Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 8.328
    Protein: .243 g
    Carbohydrate: 1.936 g
    Dietary Fiber: .137 g
    Total Sugars: .852 g
    Total Fat: .025 g
    Saturated Fat: .004 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .004 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .011 g
    Calcium: 8.712 mg
    Magnesium: 2.928 mg
    Potassium: 22.6 mg
    Sodium: 1.296 mg
    Vitamin D: 0 mcg
    Vitamin K: .098 mcg


    Onion Powder, (granulated or powder) - Use in bread (for salt flavor replacement), and practically with anything else except desserts. Works well with spice blends and rugs.
    Pepper, Black Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 5.355 Protein: .23 g Carbohydrate: 1.361 g Dietary Fiber: .557 g Total Sugars: .013 g Total Fat: .068 g Saturated Fat: .021 g Monounsaturated Fat: .021 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .024 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Trans Fatty Acids: 0 g Total Omega-3 FA: .003 g Total Omega-6 FA: 0 g Calcium: 9.177 mg Magnesium: 4.074 mg Potassium: 26.4 mg Sodium: .924 mg Vitamin D: 0 mcg Vitamin K: 3.438 mcg


    Pepper, Black, black - Useable with most all foods except desserts.
    Pepper, Red, Cayenne Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 5.724 Protein: .216 g Carbohydrate: 1.019 g Dietary Fiber: .49 g Total Sugars: .186 g Total Fat: .311 g Saturated Fat: .059 g Monounsaturated Fat: .049 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .151 g Total Omega-3 FA: .012 g Calcium: 2.664 mg Magnesium: 2.736 mg Potassium: 36.3 mg Sodium: .54 mg Vitamin K: 1.445 mcg


    Pepper, Red, Cayenne - Dried powder of hot peppers. Powder or flakes. Used in most all dishes depending on ethnic origina. Best with chili con carne, chili beans, basrbecued beef or chicken.
    Mace Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Calories: 14.9
    Protein: .505 g
    Carbohydrate: .663 g
    Dietary Fiber: .28 g
    Total Sugars: .383 g
    Total Fat: 1.252 g
    Saturated Fat: .136 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: .178 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: .863 g
    Total Omega-3 FA: .009 g
    Total Omega-6 FA: 0 g
    Calcium: 40.5 mg
    Magnesium: 9.268 mg
    Potassium: 19.6 mg
    Sodium: .588 mg


    Poppy Seed - Works with breads, pastry, vegetables and many desserts.
    Turmeric Nutritional Information per teaspoon

    Nutrient Data Per Teaspoon: Calories: 14.9 Protein: .505 g Carbohydrate: .663 g Dietary Fiber: .28 g Total Sugars: .383 g Total Fat: 1.252 g Saturated Fat: .136 g Monounsaturated Fat: .178 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .863 g Total Omega-3 FA: .009 g Calcium: 40.5 mg Magnesium: 9.268 mg Potassium: 19.6 mg Sodium: .588 mg


    Turmeric - Works well with your homemade spice blend, soups, stews, sauces, dressings, homemade unsalted pickles, fish, poultry including duck and goose, and with omelletes.

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