Caribbean green seasoning is the backbone of any savory Caribbean and Trini meal. Its fresh flavors dominate the dishes and will make you want more.
The seasoning is usually strong, sharp and herbaceous which come from ingredients like culantro or chadon beni, garlic, and thyme. You can also make it spicy if you wish with the addition of pimento and scotch bonnet peppers.
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Caribbean green seasoning ingredients
The main stars of this recipe are:
- chadon beni: This herb is native to the Caribbean and Latin America and is often called bandhania, shadow benny, culantro, Mexican coriander and recao. The leaves are dark green and elongated with saw-tooth edges. It smells and tastes sharp, strong, herbaceous and slightly bitter, similar to parsley and cilantro (which are milder).
- garlic: This further compliments the sharpness of the chadon beni leaves and so adds to the dominant sharp flavors of the seasoning.
- water: This is optional if you want a smooth, wet sauce. You can leave this out if you want the seasoning to last a bit longer and not oxidize as quickly.
These ingredients are enough for a tasty, herbaceous green seasoning. But, adding more sharp, spicy ingredients will always add more depth of flavor.
Add-on ingredients usually include:
- pepper: Being from the Caribbean, scotch bonnet and pimento peppers are widely available and are often used in the seasoning. You can use pimento for a milder sauce, or scotch bonnets for a spicy kick. Or use any of your favorite fresh peppers like chillis and cayenne.
- ginger: I personally love adding ginger to my seasoning.
- chives: This herb adds a mild, oniony taste that mellows out the sharpness of the chadon beni. Using more chives also adds bulk to the sauce.
- celery (cilantro): What we call celery in T&T is actually cilantro. Cilantro has a milder taste to chadon beni.
- Spanish thyme: This herb is sometimes called podina, broad leaf thyme, Mexican mint, and Indian borage. It has a unique oregano-like smell and taste that go really well in the seasoning.
- fine thyme: Fine thyme has lots of health benefits, but the taste all but disappears in the seasoning. Still, feel free to add this herb if you have a lot on hand.
- parsley: This herb has a similar flavor profile to chadon beni.
- onion: Adding onions to the seasoning compliments the sharpness of the other ingredients. However, onions may cause the seasoning to spoil more quickly. So, it’s best to leave it out.
- vinegar: This is often used as a preservative to increase the shelf life of the seasoning and help it retain its bright green color. But, it will eventually oxidize and darken over time.
There is no fixed recipe for making Caribbean green seasoning. You can choose any combination of the above ingredients to make this recipe. It’s all based on personal preferences and there is no right or wrong way to make it.
Equipment for this recipe
A blender or food processor is needed to make Caribbean green seasoning. I usually use the nutri-blender attachment from my Ninja kitchen system (which you can find on Amazon) but a magic bullet, mini chopper or food processor will work.
My mom prefers making her seasoning using a mortar and pestle. She says the flavors are stronger and more intense when ground in that way. So, if you have the time and patience, you can also try making this recipe with a mortar and pestle.
How to make Caribbean green seasoning recipe
Prepare the ingredients
Step 1: Choose the ingredients you want to use in the seasoning and give everything a good wash. Here I am using chadon beni, Spanish thyme, thyme leaves, ginger, garlic, and pepper.
Step 2: Peel the garlic and ginger.
Step 3: Cut and remove the seeds in the pepper (or leave them in if you prefer a spicier seasoning).
Blend everything together
Step 4: Add the ingredients to your magic bullet, blender, or food processor. I usually blend the garlic, ginger and water first before adding the herbs and pepper. But, you can add everything at the same time if you like. This gives a wetter seasoning.
If you want a drier seasoning, then the food processor is better suited for making this recipe. You can also add the vinegar at this point if you want to preserve the seasoning for longer.
Here’s a side by side comparison between a dry seasoning and one containing water.
Step 5: Use the seasoning immediately or bottle and store in the fridge. The seasoning can last one to two weeks in the fridge and even longer when frozen. After some time, without vinegar, the seasoning will oxidize and become dark green in color. It is still good and useable.
How to use Caribbean green seasoning
There are so many recipes using Caribbean green seasoning that you can try. You can use it in soups, stews, rice dishes, noodles, meat, curries, and so much more. Here are some of the many recipes on my blog that require the seasoning:
Meat & Seafood
- curry chicken
- stew chicken
- baked chicken
- curry duck
- shrimp wontons
- chicken wontons
- fried shark
- fried king fish
- air fryer mahi mahi fillets
- breadfruit pie
- chunky vegetables
- doubles channa
- curry channa and aloo
- curry bodi
- fry bodi
- pumpkin talkari
- aloo pie
Where to buy Caribbean green seasoning
You can skip making this recipe and buy Caribbean green seasoning instead. In T&T, you can find fresh seasoning in the refrigerated section of the supermarket and preserved seasoning in the sauces and spices section.
If you are outside of the Caribbean, you can find some preserved seasonings on Amazon.
Green seasoning vs sofrito
Caribbean green seasoning and the Puerto Rican version of sofrito are not the same sauce. In this case, sofrito contains chadon beni, cilantro, cubanelle peppers, bell peppers, onion, garlic and tomatoes. The tomatoes change the color of the seasoning making it more yellow green to a light brown. But, if you are in a pickle and cannot find Caribbean green seasoning, sofrito is a great substitute.
Caribbean green seasoning recipe
Caribbean green seasoning
- 50 medium chadon beni leaves
- 12 garlic cloves (1 bulb)
- 3 Spanish thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- 2 inch ginger
- 1 pepper (like pimento or scotch bonnet)
- 1/2 cup water (optional)
- 2 tsp vinegar (optional)
- Blender or Food processor
- Wash all fresh leaves and other ingredients.
- Peel garlic and ginger.
- Cut the top of the pepper. Remove the seeds for a less spicy seasoning.
- Add water and the peeled garlic and ginger to a blender or food processor.
- Blend completely.
- Add all other ingredients to the blender or food processor.
- Blend until smooth.
- Use immediately or bottle and store in the fridge or freezer.