RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small-batch spice blends plus recipe cards to help you successfully incorporate these new flavors into your meals.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: RawSpiceBar
The Cost: $8 per month
COUPON: Use coupon code SPICEADDICT5 to get your first box for $3!
The Products: 3 freshly ground spice blends from one country or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 6-10 people.
Ships to: U.S. (with free shipping) and Canada (for an additional fee).
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Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This is the “Yucatan Flavor Kit." One of the main influences is the Mayan tradition of pibil, which is a way to preserve meat through spice and smoke! Sounds delicious to me.
In addition to sending recipe cards each month, RawSpiceBar also has a variety of recipes on their website available here. You can now filter by spice and diet to find recipe ideas, although only one of our spices this month (the Achiote Recado Rojo) had additional recipes available online.
Achiote Recado Rojo, 0.3 oz
This is new to me - some spices are now available to buy in larger sizes! I'm happy to see this since there have been some spice mixes I've really enjoyed and wasn't sure how I could get ahold of them.
Achiote (or annatto) is a slightly bitter seed originating in the tropics. This spice blend is traditionally used as a rub or marinade, but I ended up using it as taco seasoning when I was short on time to cook dinner one night. It was familiar thanks to the cumin, oregano, and garlic - but the achiote and cloves gave it a unique depth and spiciness. If you like adding a dash of cinnamon to your chili (one of my mom's secret techniques) then you may enjoy this too!
The Super Greens, 0.3 oz
I thought this was a really unexpected inclusion this month! This spice blend looks like matcha powder but it's not: spirulina, wheat grass juice, blueberries, ginger, vanilla bean, and maca make up the mix. I dipped my finger in and tasted a bit, and got mostly spirulina and a bit of ginger. RawSpiceBar suggests a 'healthy Mexican avocado smoothie' with this one... I've actually never had an avocado smoothie, so I was pretty intrigued!
Pequin Salt, 0.3 oz
I really enjoyed my salt last month so I'm happy to get a new one to try! This is sea salt plus pequin chiles for adding a spicy, salty kick to your dishes. Since it's a salt, it can be paired with the other recipes included, rather than having a recipe designed just around it specifically.
At first, I thought this looked like salt with red pepper flakes, but wow - this packs a punch! It is salty of course, but it has a lot of heat and some delicious smokiness as well. Yum!
Let's check out the recipes included this month:
Slow Cooker Cochinita Pibil
I like spicy food, so this recipe looked delicious! You cook up a marinade using the included spice mix including hot peppers, garlic, lemons, and tequila! With the holiday week at hand, we were short on time to prep for a slow-cooker meal though (and I don't have tequila on hand), so we had to pass this recipe by.
Achiote Kale & Squash Quesadillas
This recipe was totally up my alley, but it seemed a little unseasonal: We don't normally see butternut squash in stores here until it gets closer to fall. This uses the same marinade as the previous recipe in a vegetarian application though, which is great: I like that RawSpiceBar tries to include many different dietary options when they are designing their kits.
I am totally bookmarking this one for a few months though, as I love butternut squash and have never tried it prepared this way!
Avocado Super Greens Smoothie
Here's the easy, summertime recipe I have been looking for! First off: I've never tried an avocado smoothie. Second: other than the mango, I already had all these ingredients on hand. Third: it's way too hot to cook this week!
To prep, I cut up a banana in chunks and put it in the freezer for a few hours. Then it was just a matter of cutting the mango, washing the spinach, and slicing open the avocado. I used a stick blender to blend it all up, and topped with a bit of the Pequin Salt:
As you can see, it's very very green! I loved this and the consistency was amazingly smooth thanks to the avocado and frozen banana. I don't love banana, but it was completely undetectable in this blend thanks to the other ingredients.
The serving size was generous, too: In addition to this massive glass, I managed to freeze a few popsicles from the leftovers in an attempt to get some vegetables into my two-year-old. If I had to change anything about this, I might add a squeeze of lemon and definitely more Pequin Salt!
Verdict: As someone who already enjoys cooking, the value in RawSpiceBar for me is in trying new flavors and techniques. This was an intriguing variety of spices this month, and everything was (as usual) super fresh and introduced me to some new combinations I'd never tried before. In the past I've gotten more recipe cards in my monthly packet, so I feel like one might technically have been missing this month... but the kit still felt 'complete' to me. I'm also happy to find that I can buy spices from RawSpiceBar's Shop now since there have been a few spices I've been looking to cook with again. I hope the Pequin Salt is available soon because I really have been putting it on everything!
What do you think about RawSpiceBar?