Cooking with dried herbs and spices is an easy way to add layers of flavor to your dishes. I regularly incorporate dried herbs and spices into my recipes.

One of my favorite ways to save time in the kitchen is to use pre-mixed seasonings, such as all-purpose seasoning or Italian seasoning blend. For example, when I want to give my recipes an Italian accent, I grab just one jar of Italian seasoning blend and I use that instead of six or seven jars of herbs (like basil, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary and marjoram). Pre-mixed herb and spice blends really make it a lot easier and less time-consuming to get a mouthwatering meal on the table!

Here’s my go-to list of dried herbs, spices and seasoning blends that I like to keep stocked on my spice rack:

  • All-Purpose Seasoning Blend
  • Basil
  • Black Pepper, in grinder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Cinnamon (Ceylon), ground
  • Cumin
  • Dill Weed
  • Garam Masala
  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasoning Blend
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Paprika, regular and smoked
  • Parsley
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Red Pepper Flakes, crushed
  • Rosemary, crushed
  • Sea salt and/or Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Turmeric, ground

Penne with Asparagus and Herbed “Butter” Sauce


So simple but oh so satisfying, this one-pot pasta makes great use of fresh spring asparagus. The entire dish whips up in less than 20 minutes, making this an ideal solution for a delicious, home cooked weeknight meal.



1 pound uncooked penne pasta (use gluten-free variety for a gluten-free option)

4½ cups fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1½ to 2-inch lengths

3 tablespoons vegan buttery spread, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon dried parsley, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

¼ teaspoon dried marjoram

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed

1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the penne. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the asparagus, stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the penne is cooked al dente and the asparagus is crisp tender.

Meanwhile, put the vegan buttery spread, parsley, basil, marjoram, garlic powder, sea salt and optional turmeric into a bowl large enough to also accommodate the penne and the asparagus, and whip vigorously with a fork until well combined.

Drain the penne and asparagus, and while they are still piping hot, pour them over the buttery herb mixture. Toss gently until thoroughly combined. Season with more salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste, and toss again. If the pasta seems slightly dry, add a bit more vegan buttery spread, to taste. Serve immediately.


Recipe and excerpt from Vegan For Everyone by Laura Theodore. Published by Scribe Publishing Company, ©2020. Reprinted by permission.

Photo Credit: Annie Olivero,


Laura Theodore is a recognized public television personality, celebrity PBS vegan chef, award-winning cookbook author and recording artist. She is co-creator and host of the highly successful Jazzy Vegetarian vegan cooking series on national public television and host of the weekly Jazzy Vegetarian Podcast on Unity Online Radio. Laura is author of five cookbooks including her highly anticipated, March 2020 release, Vegan for Everyone: 160 Family Friendly Recipes with a Delicious, Modern Twist. Her 2018 book, Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan, won silver medals at the 2018 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, Midwest Book Awards and the 2019 Living Now Book Awards. The Jazzy Vegetarian television show is recipient of the Taste Award for Best Health and Fitness Television Program (Food and Diet) and was inducted into the Taste Hall of Fame.



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