Strictly Caribbean green seasoning - a unique blend of herbs and spices that are blended together and used in many cuisines soup and stews.
I bet you're wondering if there was a mistake with the title of this post, oh but it does resemble pesto doesn't it?
Well I have news for you my friend, this herbaceous seasoning is known as Caribbean green seasoning.
This seasoning is so simple to make with most of the ingredients being pantry staples.
What is Caribbean green seasoning?
The equivalent of Italy's pesto, green seasoning is a poignant element in Caribbean cooking.
The Eastern Caribbean islands such as Trinidad (home of green seasoning), Barbados tend to use this as a marinade in meat or fish dishes to enhance the flavour.
In the Spanish speaking Caribbean islands, they call it Sofrito and (the Cubans are partial to some Mojo Marinade), which is essentially the same thing and in Haiti they make their own version called Epis.
How to make green seasoning?
In respect to make this green seasoning recipe, each cook has their own version of the quantity of herbs that are used, so the taste will differ ever so slightly.
The ingredients range from; cilantro, shado beni (culantro) , parsley, celery, pimento, bell peppers, onion, scallion, garlic, thyme, spanish thyme and scotch bonnet for a kick.
I like to add a red peppers to my green seasoning which creates a dark green/brown hue instead.
In spite of any personal adaptations, it is important to note that there is a undeniable trend of how deliciously green and nutritious the end result is.
One of the key ingredients is culantro (shado beni and Spanish thyme) sadly living in the diaspora doesn't offer me the luxury of obtaining these 2 staples.
Now the secret is out there, everyone will know the quintessential foundation to great tasting Caribbean food.
Your meat dishes will permeate thoroughly with the aromatic flavour of Caribbean green seasoning and you will thank me for sharing this wondering taste of paradise with you.
I usually chop up all of the ingredients and rinse them thoroughly in a colander to eliminate any dirt
The next step is to pulse in either a blender or food processor - I used my blender which created more of a puree texture.
If you want a course texture then I recommend using a food processor instead. You might need to add some 1tbsp or two of olive oil to help liquidise the seasoning.
Depending on the frequency of use, store in freezer (ice cube tray) to preserve shelf life. If you intend to use it often, store in refrigerator for up to 1 month
Recipes to use the seasoning in
Other Trinidadian recipes you may like
Notes and tips
- Use green seasoning in marinades or stews
- Use 1 whole red bell pepper rather than half if you cannot find pimento peppers
- Freeze any additional seasoning to extend the shelf life
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Strictly Caribbean Green Seasoning
- 1 bunch of cilantro or culantro/chadon beni/spirit weed if you can get it
- ½ bunch of parsley
- 4 scallions chives, chopped
- 1 head of garlic peeled
- 1 bunch of thyme about 8 sprigs
- 1 stalk of celery sliced
- 2 pimento peppers
- pinch of himalayan pink salt
- 1 small onion sliced
- ½ red bell pepper sliced
- Transfer all of the ingredients into a colander and rinse thoroughly
- Place all of the ingredients into either a blender or food processor (if using food processor blitz on high speed until the bulk of the herbs have broken down into a coarse texture, remembering to pulse and scrape the sides.
- If using a blender blitz until a puree is formed, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to help things move along quickly.
- Store in a mason jar or container in a cool place.
would you use scotch bonnet pepper in place of anything or just add it?
Hi Kristen, I wouldn't recommend replacing scotch bonnet pepper with any of the ingredients. If you want fiery green seasoning them simply add the desired amount along with the rest of the ingredients. I hope that helps and thanks for asking!
I’ve been storing this in Souper Cubes 2-tablespoon cubes and love it! My favorite uses are stirred into vegan mac and cheese or with rice and bean dishes. Thanks for sharing your awesome recipes!
You are more than welcome Veronica.
It's good to know that with the right refrigeration, greens seasoning can last a long time. I'd like to start expanding my spice rack at home because I've been trying out different styles of cooking based on foreign cuisines. As such, I might need more versatile seasonings to use moving forward.
Thanks for commenting!
How do I stop it from turning food green . Lol I see you said to add red peppers . Anything else. ?
It shouldn't make your food turn green unless you are using it alone or in excess. The red peppers will create a darker hue, the paste won't be a bright coloured green. I hope that helps.
I wish it was easy to find pimento peppers in the Uk I have to search high n low in the Caribbean food markets but since Covid etc it’s harder 🥺🥺
Hi J, I'm also experiencing the same thing too. I wish I could recommend a resource but I can't. I will update If/when I find a vendor.
Try the Asian shops or African food shops they will have it
I found a way to preserve the seasoning longer in the fridge if stored in a jar. Pour a good amount of EVOO on top. It will become solid and form a seal along the top of the seasoning.
we store some meat like this in France. we would render the fat of of meat. pack meat in container pour fat on top put seal on and freeze of put in fridge. It forms a seal and no air can touch food. I wish I could find Spanish thyme. it is not something one can find here.
Thanks for the tip Tina. I will give that a try next time!!
My African hairdresser told me to pour olive oil on the top to preserve the seasoning & it did for 6 months
Greetings from California!!!! I made this recipe the other two nights ago and am still eating it for lunch. Just what I was looking for. Now I am stocking up several more of your recipes. I am originally from the American South and I wanted a healthier version of some of these foods. However when you take away the high fat, salt and sugar, you need some spice. Thus I am going Caribbean. Thanks Charla for so many recipes!!!!!!!
You are very welcome Ali. I'm glad you like my recipes.
When you say marinade do you cover with mixture and sit. My meat ( chuck roast) needs to be browned first , can I sear meat with green seasoning?
Marinade is when wet ingredients in this case green seasoning is applied to the meat. Once it sits on the meat it is then marinating (wet ingredients sitting on the meat). I personally would brown the meat first of all since the texture/consistency of the green seasoning may inhibit the actual browning of your meat. Once it is seared then use your green seasoning accordingly. I hope that helps!
Smells awesome! Thanks!
How much do you use for each dish?
I am making Caribbean Curry Chicken and the recipe calls for 1 tsp Caribbean green seasoning. Is that all I need? Can I use more?
Hi Shelly, you add it depending on what the recipe calls for. A few teaspoon or tablespoon is more than though to add the right flavour to the recipe.
I MUST say that we do add vinegar and oil to the mix ingredients. It gives a real smooth texture to the Seasoning especially when blending..
Thanks for the tip Sally, appreciated!!
Omg this is great conversation. Love the way you all distinguish the food names.. Very Educational
Thank you. I try my best to do my research prior to posting.
Made this today and let me say, it smelled great the moment I started blending the ingredients together. It was so aromatic, I'm sure it would be great on pan-seared fish or shrimp. Thanks for sharing!
Yes. It's very complimentary for stews or to marinate a fish dish enjoy!!
Hi Charla, when you say a bunch of cilantro do you mean the whole big bunch you buy in one or should I divide it and use half of the bunch ??
Hi Rosa. Half a bunch of cilantro will do for the recipe 😉
I was wondering what to do if I can't find any green onion?
You can use chives instead, those are probably the most undetectable substitution for green onions.
Hi! First off, this looks and sounds divine! It has all of the flavors my taste buds crave! Second, I can't wait to make this but I wanted to clarify for my own purposes, when you say "head of garlic" do you mean the whole bulb or individual cloves from the bulb? Thanks!
Hi Renee, I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. You will need individual cloves from the bulb so in total you'll need about 10-12 garlic cloves or how ever many a whole head contains. I hope that makes sense!!
Is this a condiments or a marinade or for both uses?
Hi Mark. The green seasoning is a marinade.
I want to make this recipe, but I don't know what pimento peppers are. The only pimentos that I know of are the ones that are stuffed into green olives that are made from red peppers. Can I just use more red peppers?
Hi Neeli. yes you can.
What Trinbagonians call pimento the rest of the world calls Trinidad seasoning peppers. It's different from the pimento berry.
Thanks for commenting
I made this yesterday. The smell filling the kitchen was delicious! I've added it the ice trays & popped in the freezer. I can't wait to use it.
I'm so glad to hear that. You can use it for sooooo many recipes, it makes an excellent base.
Christine | Mid-Life Croissant
This would be so fantastic with fish. Can not WAIT to try it. And now I'm obsessed with culantro. Off to google it some more! Thanks for bringing this to Saucy Saturdays, Charlene.
Is cilantro, culantro and shado beni the same thing? I like in the UK and cannot seem to find any of these items.
cilantro is another term for coriander. Shado beni/culantro = same thing. Yes sadly this is VERY difficult to obtain in the UK. Coriander is probably the nearest replica to shado beni although not as pungent as the real thing.
Evi @ greenevi
Wow, this is so creative! I've never had anything like this before, but love every ingredient (and pestos in general), so I'm pretty sure it's a winner recipe 😉
Thanks Evi, it's pretty much a staple in Caribbean households. I'm sure you'd like since you're already a fan of pestos :).