If you’ve ever had Caribbean food, you know it’s full of flavor. The secret to all that tastiness (besides love, of course) is Caribbean green seasoning… or green seasoning for short.
Caribbean people are connected to green seasoning, much like Italians are to pesto. It’s a part of us!
It’s used in many ways: as a marinade; cooked into savory dishes; and even as a garnish. I use it to season meat and fish and flavor my soups, beans, veggies and more.
There is a catch though!
There is no fixed recipe for green seasoning.
It all depends on your likes and what you can get your hands on.
Caribbean Green Seasoning: Main Ingredients
Culantro is the backbone of this recipe. But if you aren’t from the Caribbean, you probably never heard of it. Cilantro… sure… but culantro… unlikely!
Good ol’ Google says culantro is sometimes called Mexican coriander, long coriander, bandanya or chadon beni (pronounced shadow beni). Some markets label it as Thai parsley.
Still never heard of it?
It’s ok. These photos from my garden will give you an idea of how culantro looks (ignore the weeds!).
Culantro is mistakenly called cilantro or coriander. But it is not. Look at its leaves; they are long, straight and have jagged edges; unlike cilantro’s. Here’s a great article that explains the difference.
I wish I had a smell app so you could get an idea of how sharp and strong culantro smells. It’s herbaceous and smells like cilantro… but ten times better!
**If you can’t get your hands on culantro; use cilantro (aka coriander) as a substitute. It is weaker and milder; but will do the trick…
Cilantro looks like this:
I use an entire bulb of garlic to make my seasoning. Sometimes if the peeled cloves are too small, I may add a couple larger cloves from another bulb. But one bulb is usually enough.
Caribbean Green Seasoning: Optional Ingredients
Culantro and garlic are the main ingredients in Caribbean green seasoning. They tend to overpower all other additions (except pepper). But that doesn’t stop us from throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the seasoning.
I love chives. They have such a nice, mild, oniony flavor; but the flavor almost disappears when culantro is involved.
2. Mexican Mint
This is another star. It has an oregano, thyme-like smell and flavor. It’s really good! I call it Spanish thyme; others say Indian borage, Cuban oregano, podina, and broad leaf thyme. FYI it’s not even part of the thyme family!
Speaking of thyme… its fine leaves are a great option to add to your seasoning.
If you are using cilantro instead of culantro in your green seasoning, parsley can help improve its sharpness and flavor.
Onions add a pungent flavor. But they cause the seasoning to go bad much faster.
If you want to add onions, you should mix in a spoonful of vinegar. The acid will preserve the seasoning.
Ginger is a very common addition to Caribbean green seasoning. It’s perfect if you love Asian flavors and cuisine.
7. Hot Pepper
Spicy peppers are another favorite. You can add any pepper – chili, cayenne, banana, cherry, jalapeño, habanero, and datil (I think that’s the name for pimento pepper. Correct me if I’m wrong).
You can also add pepper flakes or paprika powder.
Rosemary is not usually used in green seasoning. But I love it!
Rosemary is one of the few herbs that won’t be overshadowed by culantro. The flavor always comes through!
Basil is not a popular option for green seasoning. Pesto… definitely! But green seasoning, not so much.
Still, basil reduces the sharpness of culantro and is really quite nice!
My Green Seasoning Recipe
My green seasoning recipe is as basic as it gets.
I use three ingredients: culantro, garlic, and water. That’s it!
Caribbean Green Seasoning
- 100 small culantro leaves (or 50 larger leaves)
- 1 bulb garlic (peeled)
- 1/2 cup water
- Wash culantro leaves with warm water.
- Blend water and garlic.
- Add culantro leaves a little at a time and continue blending until it forms a thick paste.
- Add any other ingredients you desire.
That’s it! Three ingredients to deliciousness!
Caribbean green seasoning can be used immediately to marinate meats and season food. You can also store it in the fridge. It’ll last three to four days before it oxidizes and loses its bright green color.
You can freeze green seasoning in ice cubes too and use as needed.
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