One of the new and unexpected benefits of my recent change in eating habits is the introduction of really interesting foods I have not cooked with at home, and in some cases, had never eaten before.
I find this kind of cooking experimentation a lot of fun! It’s a way for me to create flavor profiles I may not have tasted before and combining ingredients in ways I’d never considered.
Then again, my hunger is propelling me to do these things because one of the issues I’ve faced is lower levels of satiety. It depends what I eat, of course, but I use minimal amounts of oil in cooking and vegetables are filling, but only temporarily. The good news is they are also quite low in calories so it’s okay to have multiple smaller meals during the day.
The Veg* Pantry
So, here’s some fun items you can acquire for your veg* pantry that will add lots of options to your flavor profiles:
Powdered Peanut Butter – because of how it is processed, powdered peanut butter has 85% less fat than “normal” peanut butter and can be reconstituted using water instead of oil. (I bought this product because I want to make a home version of “Sesame Noodles” which uses peanut butter and soy sauce, along with chinese noodles and toasted sesame seeds. I have yet to try out the recipe in the “lab,” haha.)
Black Truffle Oil – this is actually sunflower oil infused with black truffle mushroom “essence” so the caloric content is really the sunflower oil first and foremost (120 calories per tablespoon), but it can give dishes a rich, meaty and savory quality.
Avocado Oil – I love avocados so the idea of having avocado oil to add to some dishes was too tempting to pass up. Like olive oil, it’s a great source of poly-unsaturated fat, just like the whole avocado.
An important note about avocado oil – it is highly beneficial to dry skin as well and can be applied directly to the face or body. It is ph balanced at the same level of the oils our skin naturally produces.
Chia Seeds – Yes, I keep mentioning chia seeds. They are a super-food and are high in Omega 3’s, have 5x the calcium of milk, high in fiber, on and on! Chia seeds add a wonderful crunch to any dish, but nutritionally these little seeds are a powerhouse.
Quinoa – What food can you think of where, when you eat 1/4 of a cup of it cooked, provides you with 6 grams of protein? Yeah, I thought so. Quinoa – another super-food. It’s got such a wonderful nutty flavor and fantastic texture, it’s very easy to substitute this whole grain instead of rice or pasta.
Dried organic mushrooms – getting fresh organic mushrooms isn’t always possible, and more to the point, mushrooms go bad rapidly if you don’t eat them. If you keep dried mushrooms in your veg* pantry, you’ll always have a wonderful source of flavor on hand to enrich any dish. Also – mushrooms have been scientifically shown to boost the immune system!
Since mushrooms can also absorb bad stuff from the ground, pollutants and heavy metals and other bad stuff – you should try to use organically grown mushrooms.
(I have used North West Foods in Oregon as a source of organic dried mushrooms.)
Tahini – it’s a sesame paste typically used in yummy Mediterranean dishes. Yep, it’s packed with Omega 3’s, calcium, copper and maganese too, and was first made over 4000 years ago!
So there you have it. This is NOT a complete list of all the stuff you can stock in your wonderful veg* pantry … because that could have been a much longer list!
What “Must Have” Items do you have in your veg* pantry that are a little unusual?