Friday, May 02, 2008

Kalyn's Kitchen Picks: Spike Seasoning

Spike Seasoning
(Updated May 2008) Recently I created an archives page for all the posts I've written for Kalyn's Kitchen Picks and was surprised to realize I'd never written an official pick for Spike Seasoning. I did find a post back in 2005 where I'd written about Spike, so I'm just updating that post here instead of cluttering up the interwebs! Truly my love for Spike has not wavered during that time, despite some of the anti-Spike comments (which are still there from the original post.) Spike has been sold for more than 50 years, so I think it's safe to say I'm not the only one who likes it!

I like the flavor Spike adds to egg dishes, salads, stews and soups, marinades, and roasted vegetables. I think it adds a little extra something to dishes where you want a complex blend of flavors; I probably wouldn't use it for a dish where you want one flavor to dominate.

Spike was originally created by Gayelord Hauser and is made by Modern Products. What's in it? Here's a list of the 39 ingredients: Salt and sea salt, de-fatted nutri-soy granules, granular toasted onion, nutritional yeast, granular garlic, celery root granules, ground dill, horseradish granules, mustard powder, lemon peel, orange powder, parsley flakes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, white pepper, rose hips powder, summer savory, mushroom powder, safflower, parsley powder, white onion powder, spinach powder, tomato powder, sweet Hungarian paprika, ground celery seed, cayenne pepper, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground coriander, ground fenugreek, ground cloves, cinnamon powder, plus a delightful herbal bouquet of the best Greek oregano, French tarragon, French sweet basil, French marjoram, French rosemary and Spanish Thyme. Spike comes with or without salt. It contains no chemical free flowing agents and the label says "No added MSG." There is 24 mg. potassium in the salt free variety per serving. Spike has quite a collection of flavors, but it works amazingly well. Spike is often sold near the health foods, although some grocery stores carry it near the spices in Utah.

(Edit - read the debate in the comments about "no added" MSG for clarification. I personally am not concerned about MSG or sensitive to it, and based on what I learned when I wrote this post about MSG for Blogher I consider it to be safe.)

If you live in the U.S. you can probably find Spike in your grocery store, or in a health food store. You can also buy Spike Seasoning from Amazon.com or from Gayelord Hauser's Modern Products.

More about Spike:
Lydia from The Perfect Pantry also wrote about Spike Seasoning.

Some of Kalyn's Favorite Recipes Using Spike Seasoning:
Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Spike Seasoning
Cottage Cheese and Egg Breakfast Muffins with Mushrooms and Feta Cheese
Roasted Mushrooms with Tarragon Vinaigrette
Foil-Wrapped Grilled Butternut Squash with Sage
Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta, and Two Herbs
Mushroom Lover's Frittata with Spinach and Cheese
Chickpea Salad with Olives and Herbs
Grilled Chicken with Tarragon-Mustard Marinade
Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, and Feta
Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice, Ground Beef, Red Pepper, and Basil
Swiss Chard and Mushroom Squares

Other Bloggers Who Cook with Spike:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Friendly, check ingredients.)
Spike Chicken Filets from Stephanie's Kitchen (a Utah blog!)
Mom's Beef and Noodles from My Humble Kitchen
Spinach and Cheese Muffins from Chick in the Kitchen
Classic Macaroni and Cheese from The Culinary Chase
Quick and Easy Turkey Meatloaf from Christine Cooks
Fresh Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry from Ginger Lemon Girl
Chicken Mushroom Marinara Bake from Ginger Lemon Girl
Basic Pantry List from Christine Cooks Vegetarian

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58 comments:

  1. Actually, hydrolyzed vegetable protein is a type of glutamine of the MSG variety. So, no there is no ADDED MSG, but there is definitely chemical stuff in there. If you knew how they make HVP, you'd understand.

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  2. The Spike debate continues I guess. Personally I plan to keep using it.

    Anonymous, if you have more information, please share. And tell us who you are so we can continue the discussion.

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  3. Have you found other types of dry seasonings that would make for a good substitute? Or how about just using fresh herbs?

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  4. Rebecca, Spike is a general-purpose seasoning, so any all purpose seasoning salt type blend that you like the flavor of would make a good substitute. (I do have to admit though that Spike is so unique that I'd order it online before I subbed something else for it.) Fresh herbs aren't really the same kind of flavor, in my opinion.

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  5. Comments before this were from 2005 when I first wrote about Spike Seasoning.

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  6. Regarding the HVP question:

    It looks like they're now calling the hydrolyzed vegetable protein "de-fatted nutri-soy granules". (It's in about the same position in the ingredient list, HVP is often derived from soy, and there are no Google hits for this miracle product other than as an ingredient in Spike.)

    HVP is a simple way to add MSG to a product and still be able to say "no MSG added". It's not really a mystery or conspiracy; it's just public information that's not widely known. From the FDA flavorings FAQ:

    "Are MSG and hydrolyzed protein related?
    Yes. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. It is found in virtually all food and, in abundance, in food that is high in protein, including meat, poultry, cheeses, and fish.

    Hydrolyzed proteins, used by the food industry to enhance flavor, are simply proteins that have been chemically broken apart into amino acids. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form MSG. In this case, the presence of MSG does not need to be disclosed on labeling. Labeling is required when MSG is added as a direct ingredient."

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  7. Pat, thanks for the clarification. Since I wrote this post about MSG for Blogher I've considered it to be safe. However for people who want to avoid it, your information may be helpful.

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  8. Pat, your comment made me curious. I just checked my most recent bottle and it does say "hydrolyzed vegetable protein."

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  9. wow I have to try this spice! It sounds wonderful!

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  10. I was at the health food store the other day and saw this sitting on the shelf and remembered it being in so many of your recipes so I picked up a jar and I'm glad I did! This really does add a ton of flavor to food! I loved what it did to my moms Beef and Noodle recipe and I added some to a steak I had fried...I absolutely love it! Whatever the debate, I guess as long as I'm not eating a bottle of this stuff a day, I don't care... It's darn tasty... Thanks for letting me onto this mix, Kalyn!

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  11. I've never seen Spike in any of the markets here in Rhode Island -- so I've never tasted it. Clearly must remedy that situation... I'm off to Amazon to order some.

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  12. I did follow the Grateful Dead around, and I even lived in a VW bus for awhile, but I'm afraid I'm a little too young to be a true hippy. Regardless, I really like Spike on certain things. Namely, hashbrowns and homefries. Peace, love, and happiness, Ms. Glaze

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  13. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who cares if this stuff has hippie roots!

    Lina, I think it's wonderful. Obviously not everyone agrees.

    Meeso, glad to hear you liked it!

    Lydia, I'll bring you some to BlogHer this summer!

    Ms. Glaze, how fun to hear about your adventures. I'm a *bit* older than you and was pretty much a full-fledged hippie for a while, but the funny thing is that my hippie days were well behind me before I ever heard of Spike!

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  14. Kayln,
    Thanks SO much for the link love gal! I LOVE SPIKE seasoning! The Garlic and All Purpose are my favorites and I just think they are wonderful! I sprinkle them on everything from casseroles to scrambled eggs. I love your site so much!!! Thanks again!!

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  15. I have never heard of Spike, but thanks for the top. Anything that will make my diet work, know what I mean? :-)

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  16. I've never tried Spike, but 'll give it a try.

    So what's the hippy connection? Popular in the Haight? used to flavor joints? Alice B. Toklas like it?

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  17. I picked up a bottle of it today at the grocery. I can't wait to try it. I'm too young to be considered a hippy! Instead I'm the "love child" of one. =)

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  18. Carrie, you're so welcome.

    Divas on a diet, give it a try.

    Mimi, it was started by the first commenter, my friend CookieCrumb who said "Spike is just too hippie." It was very popular back in those days, although I think mostly in salads with sprouts, not Alice B. Toklas brownies or joints.

    Dee, how fun. Thanks for sharing that!

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  19. I just wanted to add that since reading about Spike on your blog I have picked up a jar and it is my "secret ingredient" in tuna sandwiches. My sons (8 and 10) have even commented that I make the BEST tuna sandwiches - they won't eat them made by anyone else! :)

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  20. Thanks for the headsup! I'll give it a try.

    Paz

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  21. Well, I was intrigued so I bought some today. I was surprised to find it so easily (and the salt-free version, too).

    I will try it and report back.

    So, OK, maybe I won't make brownies with it...

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  22. Jenfr, hadn't thought of that, but makes sense to me.

    Paz, I bet you'd like it.

    Mimi, I haven't tried the Salt Free kind so I'll be curious how you like it. (Okay I admit I'm kind of a salt freak.) No brownies, for sure.

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  23. Funny about the hippy connection -- Gaylord Hauser was anything but, just a health nut in the 30's. Even with the salt version, it's a good way to reduce sodium in food. I just found my back-up 'stash' (get it?) packed from the last move. I think it's the tangerine (?) that's the real secret. Also in a Japanese blend, togarishi, I think.

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  24. I couldn't find this at Wal-mart today!! I wonder why :(

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  25. In Utah it's sold near the health foods in some stores, not always by spices. I don't shop at Wal-Mart so I don't know if they have it here, but I do know you can order it online.

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  26. Thanks for the post. I saw it for sale on Amazon (in a six-pack), but I'd never heard of it til now. I think I'll check the local stores for a bottle before buying six at once :)

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  27. Whats the difference btw Spike and Vege-Sal?

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  28. Spike is very different from Vege-Sal. Vege-Sal is a blend of salt and a few vegetables, mostly salt and used like salt, to season cooked foods or on raw food like tomatoes. Spike is a blend of many different herbs and flavorings, used to season foods while cooking.

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  29. Hi Kaylyn,

    I stumbled on your site a couple of weeks ago and absolutely love it!

    I also live in the SLC valley and I have had trouble finding Spike seasoning. I have visited several grocer's - even the one's that usually have everything - but no Spike seasoning.

    Can you tell me if you have found it in any local grocery stores?

    Thanks!

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  30. Hi Cooling Fool,
    Glad you're enjoying the blog! Spike is often sold by health foods, not by the spices. I can find it at Smiths and some Albertsons if I look where the natural foods are. You can also get it at Whole Foods. I know for sure the Whole Foods in Sugarhouse and the one on 400 South both have it.

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  31. I've been loving your blog ever since I found it a couple of weeks ago! I've lost 9 lbs on the South Beach Diet and am enjoying your tasty recipes just as much as I enjoyed higher fat/ carb foods prevously.
    I've been contemplating getting Spike since it's in a lot of your recipes, but I really don't like the flavor of celery at all. Before I buy it, could you tell me if the celery is prevalent?

    Thanks!

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  32. Christine, glad you're enjoying the blog. I'd definitely say celery is not a strong flavor in Spike. In fact I had to look at the ingredients to realize it had celery. It's such a blend of flavors, I'd say nothing else tastes quite like it.

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  33. Living here in Utah I am wondering other than online if there are any local stores that would carry Spike? I check my local Fresh Market but am wondering if I would have better luck at Harmons or a health food store.

    Side note thank you for posting these recipes I have just started these diet and have already lost 5 lbs with many more to go.

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  34. Kjersti, I buy Spike at Smith's Marketplace or Whole foods in Utah. In regular grocery stores it's usually sold near the health foods (not by the other spices.)

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  35. Kalyn- I've been following your blog for quite some time now. I think I found your blog when I was searching for Cafe Rio copycat recipes. Anyway I read this post a long time go and then stumbled across the seasoning at my local Meijer (store similar to Super Walmart) in Ohio. I was thrilled to find it, and you're right- it's amazing. I've never tasted anything quite like it. Thanks for the recommendation and keep 'em coming. I love your site.

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  36. So glad to hear you were able to find it and liked it.

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  37. I couldn't take the time to wade through all of the comments, but is spike similar to Mrs. Dash? Seems like it might be, but I'm not sure I'd want Mrs. Dash tasting eggs.
    Can't wait to try this recipe!

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  38. Paula, I haven't used Mrs. Dash so I don't know if it's similar. Spike is a blend of many, many different spices. You can substitute any spice or dried herbs that you like the flavor of in eggs if you're using it for an egg casserole dish.

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  39. Hi Kalyn,

    I'm so glad I found your post! I've been looking for Spike for several years now since my last bottle ran out! :( I can't seem to find it anymore in my regular grocery stores and the managers I've asked for it don't seem to have heard about it either. I'm going to check the health food stores out now since I never thought about looking for it there. Thanks! :) Cat

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  40. Cat, you can also order it online if you don't find it in your health food store.

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  41. Hi - Just found your blog and mostly love it. I do NOT understand Spike, however. It's number 1 ingredient is SALT. In most chef's books - this means you're just paying for very expensive salt with a few hints of other things thrown in...maybe just try your favorite top 3 spices from it? Great ideas otherwise! Cheers

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  42. If you haven't tried Spike that might be why you don't understand what a complex flavor it has. But if you don't like it, don't use it. Simple solution.

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  43. You know I've been following you for at least a couple of years now! When you get older like me, they go fast! I kept reading about Spike and today was at Sprouts here in Phoenix actually looking for something else you mentioned when there it was, SPIKE! So an inexpensive addition that I will try!

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  44. SuAnn, I know what you mean about the years going fast! Yaay for Spike; hope you have fun with it. It's great on eggs or roasted veggies for a start!

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  45. Kaylyn, I can't seem to find the Spike here locally. I saw an earlier comment about Mrs. Dash. I can find that in abundance, have you had a chance to to try it and compare? I know it's not quite as complex but then there are several varieties.

    Also, I just wanted to say you have the most amazing SB blog ever! Time and again I keep coming back! I think I have read you more than my actual SB cookbooks!

    Love from a loyal reader, Emily

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  46. Thanks Emily! I'm afraid I haven't tried Mrs. Dash. Spike is sold by the health foods, usually not by the spices, and you can buy it from Amazon.com. I'm betting something like Mrs. Dash would be a good replacement though.

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  47. I have never remotely implied that Spike is a substitute for fresh herbs, so I am not going to publish comments arguing that point.

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  48. Y'all are all do cute! Love your blog! Love that you don't take crap but your still tastefull in your retaliation. Cute cute! And I can say y'all cuz I'm from the south!!

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  49. Just tried this tonight and I loved it! I had made the pilgrimage to Whole Foods after work looking for brown rice tortillas (I don't eat wheat at all, not a no-gluten thing, just no wheat). Struck out on that, but I happened by the spices and saw both Spike and the chipotle chile, neither of which is available in the small town I live in. I figured it was meant to be. I did leave out cilantro because I don't care for it, but otherwise made it exactly to your directions. It was delicious! I will definitely be making it again, and plan to share the recipe with some coworkers who also love chickpeas. Btw, saw about your arm on Facebook- yikes! Hope you heal up quickly.

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  50. Is Spike more for cooking with and not adding at the table??? We made some vegetable soup and sprinkled it on it. More like Italian seasoning to me which we don't care for, so wondering if cooking with it is better once it gets blended with other ingredients.

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  51. I definitely think it's an ingredient to be added as things cook; I never use it to sprinkle on cooked foods.

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  52. People who don't want to buy this or use it, feel free to do whatever works for you. But no need to leave comments here convincing the rest of us why we should not like it. Those kinds of comments won't be published.

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  53. I admit that I bought Spike seasoning for one of your recipes, and then it got lost in my spice shelf.

    After reading these comments, I will definitely consider using it more broadly than I have. Thanks for your blog!

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  54. I do think it adds flavor to a lot of goods, glad you like it!

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  55. I made your cheesy cauliflower tots for dinner last night. The recipe calls for Spike, so I went out and bought some. I used it on my ham and egg muffins this morning. Incredible flavor!!! It's got to be the Spike seasoning! Thank you!

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  56. Kristin, so glad you like it. I have been a fan of Spike for years and years now!

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible.

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