When faced with such a huge array of herbs, spices and sauces, finding the right flavors for a dish can seem an intimidating task. But cooking’s all about chemistry, and Spoon has the perfect formulas. We’ve compiled a list of classic combinations to take the guesswork out of your cooking, versatile enough to apply to nearly any dish.
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Delicious in its simplicity, this classic combo is a tried-and-true favorite. Use it as a basic dressing for any salad or a classy dip for crusty bread — the quickest way to heaven, in our humble opinion.
Garlic, ginger and scallions
This aromatic trio makes up the foundation of several Asian cuisines. Quickly fry them in oil for a fragrant stir-fry base or throw them into marinades to instantly add savory flavor.
Cilantro, lime and jalapeño
Add a Mexican twist to your cooking with fresh cilantro, zesty lime and spicy jalapeño. Bring any dip or meat to life with a healthy dash of each, or mix them into a easy salad of diced tomatoes, corn and beans.
Butter, parmesan and black pepper
You really can’t go wrong with butter and cheese. Mix them into a minimalist sauce to instantly transform boring pasta, or roast your favorite vegetables in butter and top liberally with cheese and pepper.
#Spoontip: Brown your butter first for rich and nutty undertones.
Soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar
Use this catch-all combination of salty, sour and sweet as a quick stir-fry sauce or easy meat marinade. Adjust the amounts of each ingredient to fit your own tastes.
Tomato, basil and mozzarella
This flavorful trifecta is an Italian staple. Fresh, juicy tomato complements mild, creamy mozzarella and a hint of sweet basil pulls it all together. Try them stacked in a melty panini, layered into a refreshing salad or mixed into colorful pasta.
Fish sauce, chili and lime
Don’t knock fish sauce until you try it — it’s a quick and easy way to add umami to any dish. Try this Thai-inspired combination in stir-fried noodles or over meat, then top it off with crushed peanuts for extra crunch and flavor.
Garlic, rosemary and lemon
Pungent garlic, fragrant rosemary and bright lemon work together to create another go-to combination. It’s great mixed into rice or stirred into soup, but really shines when paired with grilled or roasted chicken.
#SpoonTip: Roast your meats and fish topped with intact lemon slices for maximum infusion of flavor.
Of course, the possibilities don’t end here. Use these pairings as spring boards for your ideas, or come up with entirely new combinations. Experiment, improvise and make your dishes your own. The kitchen is your culinary playground — so get cookin’.