I was really excited when I heard this. Then I realized they weren't talking about the restaurant chain. Que disappointment.

A study at Washington State found that if you want to eat less salt, you should eat more CHIPOTLE, the seasoning, not the place that serves burritos the size of cantaloupes. (Their food is actually loaded with salt.) Researchers tested a bunch of spices to see how well they hid the fact that people's food didn't have a lot of salt in it. They tried basil, garlic powder, pepper, and others. But chipotle seasoning was the only one that made a big difference. People had a harder time guessing how much salt was in their food when chipotle was in it too. Which wasn't the case with other spices. It's not clear why it works, but they're planning a bigger, follow-up study now.

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Well, that inspired me to look at my own spices, and I've realized that I have a lot of alternatives that might work just as well as chipotle. Or at least would be different than using tablespoons of straight up salt? Here are some of my go to seasonings, the "I use that all the time" spices.

1.  Complete Seasoning.


I seriously hadn't tried this until a couple years ago (just bought a new bottle) and it is The Bamb Diggity.  It's  garlic, onion, cumin, coriander seeds, parsley, oregano, and of course, salt and pepper. But it's not too salt forward.  I usually do a bit of paprika, garlic power, onion powder, etc on meats (think steak, chicken, basically everything but fish), and this just replaces that. And it doesn't hurt that the company has an amazing story - the guy who founded it fled Castro in Operation Peter Pan.  When he grew up (after some time in the service), he started up a spice company in Florida with his boy in the late 1960's.  And they still run it together!

2.  Thai Seven Spice.


Not sure why it's to the side, can't seem to fix it, sorry. What's in this one? Well, it's a bit more than seven spices, but it's not too complicated. Coriander, paprika, chili, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, onion, mustard, cloves, cumin, celery powder, and bay leaves. And I know you'll be skeptical of this, but... to me it doesn't seem very Asian. Basically, this is like, the best taco seasoning ever. It replaces the packets for me, no joke.

3.  Dan-O's.


I found this on TikTok, believe it or not. There is some good stuff on that app, I swear. Anyway. It's rosemary, garlic, onion, lemon peel, orange peel and in the spicy version, cayenne.  This is something I would recommend especially for people with high blood pressure who are trying to cut corners on their salt intake.  And, it has no sugar, if you're looking out for that. This stuff is great!  And you can totally get the non spicy version if you want, both are great. I just..... like it spicy.

4.  Kinder's Seasoning.


This one does have salt, but if you're looking to cut corners on things like cooking with butter, this might help.  It has dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, butter flavors, spices, red bell pepper, parsley, yeast extract, turmeric, sunflower oil.   But that's just this variety, they have a bunch of different kinds if you don't want buttery tastes. I just saw it on a whim one day and decided to plunk for it.

5.  Aleppo Pepper.


I saw this one of the cooking shows I watch on YouTube. It's from Turkey and the show suggested to put it on eggs. WHICH IS AMAZING. But it also works in a lot of different dishes, too! It goes just a little bit farther than paprika, and not quite as far as, say, a cayenne. Gives you good color with a little spiciness.

6. Lemon Pepper.


I know you've seen this at the store before. And it's popular. Because it's delicious. I love this on chicken wings, for example. The only downside is you gotta use it often or quickly, or it starts to clump up a little. Which isn't the end of the world, but is inconvenient.

7. White Pepper.


I got this from a store in Columbia I go to sometimes when I need something specific but I don't want to order it online.  I think you can get this online, but I never have tried, because I go to Columbia a lot (my boyfriend NJ lives there), and it just makes sense to stop by and pick it up myself.  You might choose to use white pepper if you want to not have black flecks in your dish, or if you want a milder pepper flavor.  You see it a lot in white chicken chili recipes.  I also imagine it might be helpful in seasoning dishes for kids who don't like "the black bits", you know.  It's also in a lot of  Chinese food recipes, which is why it has the characters on the package. They're not anything super crazy - you've seen the different colors of peppercorns in the shakers.  This is just the powdered version of the light ones.

I know we've talked about condiments you put on everything...but what about spices?  What are your favorite "use em every time" seasonings?

Spicily yours,

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Gallery Credit: Joni Sweet


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