" We're here to facilitate your plant-based journey "

PlantPlate.com is here to provide the recipes, information, and practical advice needed to follow a healthy plant-based diet. Whether you're interested in improving your health, losing weight, or eating more sustainably, a whole foods plant-based diet may be the perfect solution for you.

My name's Emma, and I started PlantPlate in 2013 with the help of my husband Scott, a web developer and fellow plantivore. I’m a certified Plant-Based Nutritionist who loves to cook, and I've followed a plant-based diet for over a decade. Having lived in various locations throughout the world - sometimes on a shoestring budget, and often with irregular and demanding work schedules - I’ve had to constantly adapt my diet in order to make it work. It’s taught me a lot, and it’s motivated me to show others just how accessible and enjoyable this way of eating can be.

The recipes featured on PlantPlate are based on minimally processed plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. They're free from all animal products, processed oils and refined carbohydrates, and are made with simple and affordable ingredients. Our articles are aimed at providing you with plant-based know-how when it comes to shopping, cooking, nutrition and day-to-day living. We have answers to common questions and share practical knowledge that we have acquired through experience. Finally, the resources section contains links to books, DVDs, and video presentations from some of the world's leading experts on plant-based nutrition. It is our hope that these resources will help you to fully understand and evaluate the health benefits of this wonderful way of eating.

Welcome to PlantPlate!  We hope you enjoy your visit. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us at contact@plantplate.com.

The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat health problems or illnesses without first consulting your doctor.

Using Herbs and Spices

Learn how to add flavour and depth to your meals, with this easy-to-use herb and spice guide.

If you're following a healthy plant-based diet (and using the recipes on this website) then you'll be cooking without oil, and with minimal salt. For some people, this can take a bit of getting used to! The best way to adjust your palate is by naturally enhancing the flavour of your food with herbs and spices. Cooking with different herbs and spices will add flavor and depth to your meals, without increasing the sugar, sodium or fat content.



Having spices on hand is important for creating delicious, flavourful food, especially when cooking meals from different cuisines. Depending on the recipe, you will either need to fry the spices with your base ingredients until they become aromatic, or add them later in the cooking process. "Cooking off" spices along with onions, garlic and stock is sometimes necessary to reduce bitterness and to achieve the right flavor profile.

There are a few common spices that I think you should have on hand at all times. Learn how to incorporate them into your dishes by referring to recipes, or by using the list below. Remember that with most spices, a little bit really goes a long way!

  • Allspice: Caribbean dishes, Ethiopian Dishes, North African Dishes, Middle-Eastern Dishes, desserts
  • Bay Leaf: Soups, stews, pasta sauces
  • Cardamom: Indian dishes, baked goods, desserts
  • Cayenne Pepper: Mexican dishes, North African dishes, soups, sauces, 
  • Chili Flakes: General use
  • Cinnamon: Mexican dishes, sweet potato/pumpkin dishes, baked goods, breakfast cereals, desserts
  • Cloves: Ethiopian dishes, Middle Eastern dishes, Indian dishes, baking, roasting, 
  • Coriander Seed (whole or ground): Mexican dishes, Indian dishes
  • Cumin Seed (whole or ground): Mexican dishes, North African dishes, Middle Eastern dishes, Indian dishes
  • Fennel Seed: Roasting, pasta sauces, breads, soups
  • Garlic Powder: General use
  • Ginger Powder: Soups, curries, baked goods
  • Nutmeg: Baked goods, breakfast cereals, desserts, mushroom dishes, soups, mashed potato/sweet potato/pumpkin
  • Paprika: Mexican dishes, Middle-Eastern dishes, stews, soups, sauces, 
  • Saffron: Spanish dishes, Indian dishes, North African dishes
  • Smoked Paprika: Mexican dishes, Southern dishes, sauces
  • Sumac: Excellent as a salt replacer, and in Middle-Eastern, North African & Indian dishes
  • Turmeric: South Asian dishes, Middle-Eastern dishes, Indian dishes, plant-based "egg" dishes (such as scrambled tofu)



Fresh herbs are particularly good in salads, and will also add extra flavour to cooked dishes. Fresh herbs can be expensive though, so it’s best to find a local market where they are reasonably priced. You can also try growing your own in your backyard on a window ledge.

Fresh herbs that I use frequently include:

  • Basil: For pasta sauces, pizzas and salads
  • Chives: For baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, soups, dressings and salads
  • Coriander / Cilantro: For almost all Mexican, Indian and South-East Asian dishes, including salads and soups
  • Dill: For sandwich spreads, green peas and beans, and salads
  • Mint: For fruit smoothies, fruit salads, regular salads, and South-East Asian dishes
  • Parsley: For soups, stews, sandwich spreads and salads
  • Rosemary: For soups, stews, and roasted vegetables
  • Thyme: For soups, stews, and roasted vegetables



Dried herbs add lots of flavour to soups, stews, sauces, and roasted vegetables. They're often available in bulk-food sections, so you can purchase as much or as little as you like. Dried herbs will keep well for long periods when stored correctly, making them a reliable and inexpensive alternative to fresh varieties. Remember that they have a more concentrated flavour than fresh herbs, so when you're making substitutions, use 1 teaspoon of dried herb for every 1 tablespoon of fresh herb in a recipe.

Some staple dried herbs for your pantry could include:

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Dill Weed
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme



Article photo courtesy of geishaboy500 via Flickr