Recipe: Green Seasoning

If you’re West Indian, you’ve most likely come across this versatile marinade and may even use it on a regular basis to add some richness to your meat and seafood dishes.

Green seasoning has been a cooking staple of family’s for as long as I can remember. I have vivid memories of those large green jars and bottles that populated my childhood fridge and can still feel the sting of the shadow beni, scotch bonnet pepper and green onion aromas as they would hit my nose while being blended together before a big cook. Now as an adult with a fridge of my own, it is only right that it also contains a similar collection of green jars.

What is it?

Green seasoning is described as a sauce or paste made with a celery and onion base and laced with fresh herbs. It is added to meat or seafood before cooking and left to marinate so the flavors are absorbed. It is important to note that I don’t think any two people make green seasoning the same. Some regions add distinct flavors to their green seasoning by using ingredients that aren’t commonly used elsewhere like in Barbados where they may use curry powder and chili in their green seasoning. But generally, the look and consistency of your sauce varies greatly, which you realize when you make your own. I made a batch recently that came out almost lime green in color and with more of a paste consistency (see above).

Keep reading to find out how you can make your own green seasoning and up your cooking game in the kitchen. 😎

DISCLAIMER: Y’all… I’ve never known this recipe to come with measurements. I don’t measure anything and I didn’t really bother trying to. I gave a few estimates to guide you. The base ingredients are celery and onion… The rest of the ingredients can vary in whatever amount you use. There’s no perfect way to make green seasoning. As long as it’s a shade of green and you like how it makes your food taste.

Caribbean Green Seasoning Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Celery (chopped)
  • Green onion
  • Onion (quarter, chopped)
  • Garlic (5-8 cloves)
  • Cilantro
  • Thyme
  • Pimento pepper (or other hot pepper, 2)
  • Rosemary
  • Vegetable oil
  • White vinegar
  • Water (for blending)
  • Optional: salt, ginger, lemon juice

Substitutions:

Here in San Antonio, I have yet to find a store that sells me Caribbean staples like salt fish (cod) and shadow beni so I’m always making substitutions. For this recipe I had to substitute the usual shadow beni you would find in green seasoning with its cousin, cilantro. Because cilantro is not as pungent as shadow beni, I had to double the amount I would normally use.

I had to find a replacement for pepper as I didn’t have any on hand when I was making this batch. Instead, I used some hot sauce and half of a green pepper I had sitting in the fridge. Though the green pepper didn’t add much heat at all, the hot sauce worked fine. I also substituted fresh rosemary and ginger with dried rosemary leaves and some ground ginger, as these ingredients were minimal compared to others in the recipe.

Instructions:

1. Blend all your ingredients together using a blender or food processor. If using a blender, make sure to add a little water so your ingredients can mix properly. I usually start with my celery and pack in the larger ingredients first, then the smaller ones. Blend until your sauce is free of large chunks. You can blend for longer if you want a more liquid consistency.

2. Use glass jars or plastic containers to store your seasoning. I personally love using my 8oz wide mouth Ball Mason Jars that come with air-tight lids.

And voila! You’ve now made your own green seasoning 😎 Time to cook.

I used some from this batch to make baked chicken right after. Here’s a photo of what green seasoning looks like when you use it to marinate your chicken. I usually set my chicken in the fridge for 30 minute to an hour under plastic wrap or foil.

Things to note:

    These jars usually give me maybe a months worth of green seasoning but after two months, I would discard any remaining jars.
    If you want to make your green seasoning last longer you can freeze it in small bags or ice cube trays.
    I won’t recommend using it as a dressing. It’s specifically used during the cooking process, not after.

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