How to Use Herbs & Spices in Cooking

When you’re eating a clean diet, food can get a little repetitive and sometimes a bit dull. Chicken breasts really do lose their appeal when you are eating them daily with bland vegetables and rice.

Food shouldn’t have to be like this, regardless of how strict your diet is. Herbs and spices are a seriously easy way to spruce up your mealtimes and there are so many varieties to work with that food should never seem boring again.

Here are a few of our favourite homemade herb and spice blends as well as a few marinades that are really easy to put together and store in your fridge.

Feel free to try your own combinations and avoid buying pre-mixed blends from the supermarkets as they often come with added sugar or excess salt. When combining seasonings for yourself you can be completely in control of what you put in.

Tip: They’re called ‘rubs’ for a reason. Don’t just sprinkle a bit over your food and hope for the best. Be liberal and rub the herbs into your meat before cooking (use a little olive oil if it helps).

For Chicken:

Sesame Marinade

  • 5ml sesame oil
  • 5g garlic powder
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 5g of honey
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Cajun Rub

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Indian Marinade

  • 40g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Lime and Coconut Rub

  • Zest of half a lime
  • 15g of dried coconut
  • 1 tsp dried coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • (Melt 10g of coconut oil and pour over the chicken breast. Rub the mixture on top.)

Orange, Honey and Mustard Marinade

  • Juice of half an orange
  • 50g wholegrain mustard
  • 25g honey
  • 10g balsamic vinegar
  • 5g black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

(Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to five days.)

Italian Rub

  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • (Optional zest of half a lemon)

For Steak:

Spicy Pepper Rub

  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp rosemary

Balsamic Mustard Marinade

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp parsley

And try this healthy sauce:

Mushroom Sauce

  • 3 x button mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • Slice the mushrooms and fry in a pan with the olive oil and garlic powder.
  • Reduce the heat and add the yoghurt, mustard and honey – stirring well.
  • Add the thyme and black pepper and pour over your steak.

For Fish:

Balsamic Marinade

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Dill and Lemon Rub

  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Superfish Rub

  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

If you want more mouth-watering and diet-friendly recipes, subscribe to the Eat UP Newsletter here. 

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