Spring is well underway and summer is coming. Anyone who knows me, knows that this is NOT my favorite time of year. I basically get through summer in anticipation of autumn! There are redeeming qualities about summer. Gardening and fresh, home grown vegetables, trips to the local farmer's market for locally grown produce. Canning season is always something I look forward to and strawberry jam is on the list for this year. A few trips to Busch Gardens and maybe the beach. Lastly grilling is something I always look to during the summer. Yes we grill most of the year, but let's face it, summer is when you grill. It just is!
That is my line of thinking with this new seasoning mix I have come up with. This salt free lemon pepper and herb blend is the best of a couple of worlds. Firstly this is lemon pepper so yeah, there's that. Second this is kind of like an Italian seasoning, only mixed with lemon pepper seasoning so you kind of end up with an amazing Tuscan lemony, peppery, Italian explosion in your mouth when you use this blend. The third benefit of making your own blend is that you can control what goes into this. Have you ever turned over the bottle of lemon pepper to see what is really in there? A couple of the varieties I researched actually have NO lemon at all! Only citric acid to give it a tangy edge to fool your brain into thinking that there is lemon in that thar bottle! Some had MSG mixed in others had lemon oil and canola oil and most had salt as the main ingredient. The salt free versions had dried lemon peel and of course, no salt and other things. When an ingredient list ends with "natural flavors and spices" I get a little freaked out because that could mean a lot of things!
So making our own is a total option here. I have used a lot of different things to give this an amazing citrusy boost Including granulated lemon peel that I get from The Spice Barn website. This is a much better value than those little bottles on the grocer's shelf and you can use this for a lot of things. I have also added some True Lemon crystallized lemon juice to give this an amazing lemon flavor and tang. There is no need for citric acid because this dried lemon juice is amazing and will make you fall in love with the lemony taste it can give anything! I will leave links to both of these sites below in the resources listing.
I have used a peppercorn blend that includes black, white, pink and green peppercorns. Sometimes the blends also have coriander and allspice in them as well. I love this blend, but if you just have black peppercorns, go for that! use what you have! I added onion, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, basil, thyme, and oregano to make this blend pure perfection. This screams Tuscan summer to me. I have never been to Italy, but I can imagine and in my mind I can just see the lemon trees and olive groves and the beautiful Tuscan sunrise greeting me in the morning! Ok, ok, enough daydreaming! Back to business.
I just toss all this into my mini food processor or coffee mill and grind this up. Not super fine, though. We are not going for powdered or pulverized. I think the beauty of this blend is the course grind. Perfect for a grilled ribeye steak with chunky pieces of peppercorn on the top that get just a little charred when grilled just right! After this is blended just pour into a mason jar with a tight fitting lid and you are good to go the next time you grill.
I would use this on just about anything savory. Sprinkle on beef, chicken pork or fish. Mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a salad dressing or quick marinade. Sprinkle over steamed veggies and dress with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. You can even dress freshly popped popcorn with olive oil and salt and sprinkle a wee bit of this seasoning on top with some parmesan cheese for an amazing tangy Tuscan popcorn for movie night! How does that sound?
I hope you give this salt free lemon pepper and herb seasoning blend a try and I hope you love it!
Salt Free Lemon & Herb Blend
4 tablespoons peppercorn blend
4 tablespoons dried lemon peel granules
4 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons dried, minced garlic
2 tablespoons dried, minced onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice crystals (Truelemon)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon red pepper flake (optional)
Step by Step Instructions
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor, mini food processor or coffee grinder.
Pulse to blend to a coarse grind. You don't want this powdered.
Place in a mason jar or airtight container with a tight fitting lid.
Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
This is great to season steak, chicken, fish or pork. Used as a seasoning for salad dressing or marinade or sprinkled over fresh steamed veggies with a spritz of fresh lemon juice.
Get a printable version of this recipe here:
Get lemon peel granules at The Spice Barn
Get True Lemon products on their website:
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