Sprinkle Robust Pizza Seasoning onto a plain jane pizza for more flavor, season ground meat with for a quick homemade sausage, or even make a hot cheesy pizza flavored dip for parties.
Years ago when I mixed up my first batch of Pizza Seasoning I was just looking for a way to spice up boring pizza. My homemade pizza seasoning soon became a pantry staple, and I was constantly reaching for it, that original spice mix was pretty versatile and it didn’t take long before I was using it in place of Italian Spice Mix in recipes.
The more comfortable I go with my Pizza Spice Mix the more I really started pushing the limits of my spice mix. I wanted something I could season ground meat with for a quick homemade sausage, and something that could even make a hot cheesy dip for parties with. As soon as I started testing all this out, I realized all of these ideas really called for a more robust pizza seasoning, so I began tweaking my original pizza seasoning until I had something that not only still jazzes up a plain jane pizza, but also can be used to create dishes packed with Italian flavors, and Robust Pizza Seasoning was born!
Robust Pizza Seasoning
So I am sure you have a few questions, especially if you clicked over from my original Pizza Spice Blend. Maybe you are wondering what’s the difference, or which one is right for me?
To really accomplish everything I wanted to do with my pizza seasoning, I had to make a few changes. The reader’s digest version of what is different is easy: more garlic, and the addition of fennel, marjoram, and salt.
But let’s take a closer look at what each of these increased amounts or new additions bring to the table:
- Garlic- I found the amount in the original recipe just didn’t cut it when I was making dips. The increased amount adds great flavor to dips but doesn’t overpower a pizza when used as a sprinkle on a ho-hum pizza. I used dried minced garlic because I feel like the larger pieces of garlic retain their flavor better in dried form, the spice grinder releases the oils and flavors that dissipate quickly in pre-ground dried garlic powder.
- Fennel- To me fennel seed tastes like sausage because it is SO commonly used to flavor all sorts of sausages, but this small seed actually has a distinctive “Italian flavor” that is similar to anise, which tastes somewhat like black licorice. I happen to love black licorice, but I know not everyone does. If you omit fennel your mix will be lacking an almost meaty flavor (think sausage). Because the fennel seed is one of the first ingredients to go in the spice grinder it will be processed down more finely adding a subtle fragrant sweetness evenly throughout the spice mix, so you will not get one bite full of fennel seed flavor, or have to worry about getting the seeds stuck in your teeth.
- Marjoram- Marjoram is oregano’s gentler, sweeter cousin. Could you substitute more oregano? Sure. But I think the marjoram adds another layer of flavor to the Robust Pizza Seasoning.
And like the original Pizza Seasoning blend Robust Pizza Mix still has many of the same cast of characters:
- Red Pepper Flakes
So if you are debating between the 2 recipes, I think it is safe to say Homemade Pizza Seasoning is much more like an all-purpose Italian spice blend. Robust Pizza seasoning packs more depth of flavor and more of a spicy kick.
Making Seasoning Mixes in a Spice or Coffee Grinder
Nothing beats a little spice grinder for pulverizing large amounts of spices, not only does it make quick work of mixing up a spice blend, the blades help release essential oils and flavors.
If you do a lot of cooking from scratch, I recommended you purchase an inexpensive spice or coffee grinder and dedicate it solely to spice grinding. It’s an affordable investment that will simplify your cooking. I think I paid under $20 for mine more than 10 years ago, and it is still going strong. If you grind your own coffee at home you are probably familiar with these small appliances, and while it seems redundant to have two, no one like cumin flavored coffee. Your spice grinder will come with care instructions, and while they are not difficult to clean or maintain, I do have a few tips to help you get the job done efficiently and thoroughly.
Cleaning a Spice Grinder
Remember safety first! Always unplug the grinder before cleaning.
- Use a stiff bristled dry pastry brush to remove all the spice residue. Yeah, you are going to want to have one of these dedicated to this job also, just label the brush ‘spices’ and keep it dry.
- For spice mixes that may have gotten packed up the blade, Wipe with a damp sponge or even a heel of bread.
- Once in a while pulse a few tablespoons of rice through and discard rice. This helps remove stuck particles and oil residues.
How do I use Robust Pizza Seasoning?
Just like my original Pizza Seasoning you can sprinkle Robust Pizza Seasoning on homemade pizza crusts prior to baking, incorporate it into homemade sauce or even add a little into the dough ingredients in a bread machine to bake the flavor right into the dough. Sprinkle on boring frozen pizzas, or even add 1 tablespoon per pound of meat to make homemade sausage.
Robust Pizza Seasoning
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1/2 tablespoon marjoram
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried garlic
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Pulse onion flakes, garlic, fennel and red pepper flakes in a spice grinder. Add all other ingredients and pulse a couple of more times to combine.