Saturday, October 15, 2011

VeganMoFo 15: Bright Red Annatto Seeds!

Today's Spice is Whole Annatto Seeds

We've had a lot of pretty wintery days recently, so I've been in the mood for soup. I made this wonderful Potato-Kale Soup with crispy pieces of Chorizo Sausages, from Viva Vegan. Once again, I must pause to recognize what a tremendous book Viva Vegan is. This was a nice hearty and wholesome soup. The soup itself was filling without being at all heavy, and the sausage bits gave you little flavor blasts of spicy seasoning! We both loved it.

These are annatto seeds. They are sort of the size of giant sumo wrestler sesame seeds on steroids. And they are bright red. I also have a package of powdered annatto, because I just can't stop buying spices. For the sausages in this recipe, the annatto seeds are cooked in warm oil, which produces a brilliant dark orange oil - and then that's the oil you use for the sausages... which gives them their color. Plus, this recipe deserves a special shout out for using even more spices from my over-crowded spice cupboards: paprika! annatto! epazote!

Bonus Spice: Epazote (aka "Mexican Oregano")
It's not hard to find epazote around here, but I don't use it all often. It always cracks me up how rough and "natural" it is in the baggie. Here it is, straight out of the bag and full of various twigs and small branches.

So, before using it, I filtered it through my sifter, and now it looks much more palatable.


  1. Yay Viva Vegan!

    I always just leave out the annatto seeds as I don't have any on hand, but you are making me want to become a spice hoarder and start collecting all of these neat things!

  2. Yay! Also, urp. I have noticed the twigs and things in my epazote, but never thought to filter them. I just crumbled them and added them in.

  3. Viva Vegan is so fantastic! The food that comes out of that book is always mind-bogglingingly good. I love having those sausages on hand, because they have so much flavor packed into them. They're a great addition to tacos, pizzas, my mouth... I haven't been able to find epazote. Is it worth finding?

  4. Yum! Have to admit the ONLY thing I've ever done with my annatto seeds is make the annatto infused oil and the chorizo from Viva Vegan. But... these are two worthy reasons to keep annatto on hand!

    I really want to try fresh epazote... the dried stuff tastes like nothing to me.

  5. Viva Viva Vegan! I really like that soup, it's so filling.

    And I can finally say that I know and have tried both of these spices, woohoo! And from now on I will sieve my epazote!

  6. Your posts are making me want to get MORE kinds of herbs and spices to try...I'm sure that wasn't the point :)


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