Sometimes the perfect seasoning can elevate your food from simply satisfying to a work of art. It is always good to try to experiment with different types of spices, fresh herbs, or citrus juices to add that perfect layer of flavor (or that extra zing) that a dish might need. A peek in my kitchen pantry yields a lot more than your average salt and pepper– there are tons of different toppings that can add texture and spice to your meal, and they’re too good not to try. Ready to expand your horizons? Try these 5 spices to give your food a little boost.

  1. Tumeric SeasoningTurmeric. You may already have tried turmeric without realizing it– it’s used in classic American mustard to give it that bright yellow color. Turmeric is in the ginger family and boasts a warm, slightly bitter taste. It’s a staple ingredient in curry, and it’s well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  2. Ground sumac. Made from the red berries in a sumac bush, this tangy spice is popular in the Middle East (where the sumac bush is native). Use it as a beautiful finishing powder or try it on your salad to achieve that lemon-like flavor that complements leafy greens. Bonus: although it has a lemony taste, ground sumac doesn’t have the acidity that lemon juice does.
  3. Porcini powder. Rub some of this mushroom powder into meat before grilling, stir it in with pasta sauce or a savory soup, or simply add it to anything for an extra dose of umami, the “fifth basic taste.” It’s a simple way to add that porcini mushroom taste to any meal without going overboard.
  4. Marjoram. Don’t confuse it with oregano! This perennial herb is similar to oregano because the two are in the same plant family, but marjoram is milder and has a bit more of a floral, herbal flavor. Try it on pork or mix some into your soup.
  5. Lavender. This one is ideal for the sweeter things: sprinkle some onto fruits like peaches, blueberries, and lemons, or add a pinch to a cocktail for a refreshing floral note. Lavender is a relative of mint and pairs well with meats like roast chicken.