Amazing ingredients to aquaint yourself with.
**I will constantly update this list as my pantry is usually bursting with ingredients. I am always hunting for new things to cook with so email me if you have any suggestions! Duziedew@gmail.com **
Digestive enzymes are a herbivore's best friend. These supplements help you break down and better digest foods, especially fibrous vegetables beans and grains. Your body naturally produces these enzymes but supplementing for additional support is very helpful if you eat a mostly plant based diet. You may also find that while you digest your foods more completly, you may require less food in general as your body absorbs more of the nutrients it needs from less food. Keep some in your pantry for eating in, and on your person for eating out.
Beans are absolutely amazing. They can be used in a variety of savory and sweet recipes. In desserts, beans can provide rich texture and moisture. They can eliminate the need for flour. Beans can take on a variety of flavors well. I use them for dips, chillies, stews and a lot of desserts. They are also as healthy as they are versatile. They are nearly fat free and pack a whollop of healthy vegetable protein. They can be eaten raw by soaking them overnight or cooked in myriad ways. They even mash well and serve as a great substitute for mashed potatoes! Beans are also very inexpensive, especially if you purchase them dried and soak and prepare them yourself (which incidentally makes them easier for you to digest). Keep a variety of canned and dried beans in your pantry.
wild brown ground millet
This easily digestible, gluten-free ground seeded grain (what a mouthful!) is available in healthfood stores. Millet is one of the only grains that is alkaline (not acidic) making it suitable for the ACD (Anti-Candida Diet). It is high in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals. I have added wild ground brown millet to desserts including a fantastic crumble. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a flour substitute when paired with oats and oat flour.
Millet, a common ingredient in bird seed, is one of my new favorite things. It is a gluten-free grain. It looks similar to quinoa in its whole grain form, and cooks up like couscous, only its way better for you. I have stocked my pantry with millet grits. Millet grits are roughly ground millet grains. They look remarkably like coarse corn polenta, and cook the same way, only faster. Millet grits are an ideal substitute for polenta if you or the people you are feeding cannot eat corn. I am looking forward to trying them in place of corn meal in mexican dishes like tamales. Millet grits have a little less flavor than polenta, so ramp up your seasonings if you are using it as a substitute. These grains can be used in sweet or savory recipes. They would make a fine replacement for cream of wheat or farina cereal.They could also be used as a replacement for mashed potatoes if you added some steamed or roasted and pureed cauliflower to them. Keep some in your pantry for gluten free cooking.
Nutritional yeast is another gluten-free wonder. It is a deactivated yeast. It is also a complete protein. It is very popular with vegans and vegetarians. I use it from time to time to impart a salty and cheese-like flavor to food. Many vegan versions of recipes like mac n'cheese will use this yeast to simulate a cheese sauce. It is a great ingredient for those who are lactose intolerant. You can buy it easily these days in most grocery stores but it is readily available in health food stores both as a bulk and packaged product.Keep some in your pantry.
organic frozen bananas
Frozen bananas are wonderful. They are a great addition to any smoothie. They can be used as an excellent egg replacer in vegan and vegetarian desserts. They can be pureed with a little non-dairy milk and your choice of seasonings for instant ice cream. I love baking with them so you will find them in lots of recipes on this blog. I use them as a natural sweetener and binder in desserts regularly. When consumed frozen or chilled they impart minimal banana flavor, if any. When eaten in cooked foods when still hot, they can provide a burst of banana flavor. Bananas are nutritional superfoods as well. Though they have a lot of sugar, they also provide a good dose of potassium and vitamin B6 and C. They are very low in fat and cholesterol free, unlike eggs. Conventionally grown bananas are sprayed heavily with pesticides so I tend to buy organic whenever possible. Keep some in your freezer.
I love cauliflower. It is amazingly versatile in savory and sweet foods. My favorite way to eat it is steamed or roasted and pureed with a little potato as it transforms into a silky and light mash that requires little to no seasoning. That being said, it can greatly benefit from the addition of cheese, oil, salt and pepper. Pureed it can be added to baked goods to impart moisture and silkiness to batters. Cauliflower is low in calories, sugars and saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol. It is very low on the glycemic index so it can be enjoyed by diabetics. It is a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, phosphorus and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid and manganese. Unlike mashed potatoes, pureed cauliflower is mildly anti-inflammatory, so it is a great substitute for people who cannot consume white potatoes. And cauliflower puree won't leave you feeling too full, unlike mashed potatoes. Keep some in your refrigerator.
Maple syrup is fast becoming one of my greatest kitchen allies. I have a hard time digesting refined sugar. It gives me headaches, nightmares, spikes my blood sugar levels and gives me a bright red flush in the face, and an overwhelming feeling of being too warm. I am able to tolerate organic dark brown sugar and cane sugar in moderation at best. I have pretty much written off conventional sugar altogether and usually regret ingesting it. Maple syrup used to seem not that useful to me but I bake with it regularly now and find that it doesn't overwhelm the flavor of most desserts -- even chocolate desserts where it seems inappropriate. Better still, it is a natural sweetener that doesn't seem to spike my blood sugar. I use less of it in a recipe than I would conventional sugar as well. I often pair it with apple sauce or frozen bananas in my dessert recipes to mellow its flavor. It is great in savory dishes as well -- in marinades and dressings, on roasted vegetables like squash and carrots...the list goes on. Keep some in your pantry or fridge.
I love lentils. They are nutritious and delicious. They are also amazingly flexible as a legume. They can even stand in for ground beef! The little gems are beloved by a variety of cuisines around the world and as such, can take on a variety of interesting flavors. I have yet to bake with lentils but am sure that it would be a brilliant plan as they are used in Indian breads and desserts often to great success. I use them in salads, soups, stews and curries primarily, but the sky is the limit. There are several different kinds (and colours) of lentils ranging from cheap to less cheap. They provide good protein and variety of vitamins and minerals. They are virtually fat free.They even contain a large amount of tryptophan which will help you sleep. Keep dry lentils of different varieties in your pantry.