Our go-to guide explains some of the best ingredients to have on hand so you can make the most out of these recipes
almonds This nutritious nutn is high in protein and rich in vitamin E. It’s also a source of calcium, which makes it a great dairy-free addition to smoothies. Try making your own almond meal, blending into a pesto or just enjoying as an energising snack.
buckwheat Although it looks like a grain, this is actually a little dark brown seed that is related to rhubarb. It is high in fibre, and contrary to its name, contains no wheat or gluten, so it is suitable for people with coeliac disease.
cacao powder Cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans so they retain more minerals and antioxidants than varieties processed at high temperatures. Cacao is also available as ‘nibs’. You can buy both in health food stores and supermarkets.
cashews This buttery nut is cholesterol-free and a high source of copper, which helps to maintain blood cells in the body. It can be blended into a nut spread or soaked and blitzed into a dairy-free cream or milk.
chia seeds These black or white seeds come from a flowering plant and are full of fibre, protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Available in supermarkets and health food stores, they’re great for smoothies, jams and baking, or sprinkled over salads.
coconut cream This is a rich, thick liquid made from simmering shredded coconut in water for a long time. It is thicker and more rich than coconut milk. It’s great for adding extra body and creaminess to curries or desserts, without adding dairy.
coconut sugar Also known as coconut palm sugar, this is similar to coconut nectar but in granule form. Its caramel flavour gives a lovely note to baked goods. Find it in specialty food stores, Asian grocers, health food stores and supermarkets.
edamame These are young, green soybeans that are sold frozen both shelled and in their ( inedible) pods. They are high in fibre and protein and a good source of magnesium. Look for them in the freezer aisle of supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.
freekeh This is a young, wholewheat toasted grain with a light, nutty flavour. It is high in fibre, low in fat and has a low GI. The cracked variety cooks fast and is ideal as a more nutritious substitute for rice or pasta.
goji berries These sweet red berries from Asia are considered a nutrient-dense superfood. They are available in dried form and are popular additions to smoothies, breakfast bowls and muffins. You can find them in health food stores and supermarkets.
green tea noodles These are traditional Japanese soba noodles made using fresh green tea leaves and a combination of buckwheat flour and regular wheat flour, or 100 per cent buckwheat flour – making a quick and simple gluten-free option. Find them in Asian supermarkets.
matcha powder Made from specially grown green tea leaves, this powder is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Today it is a popular choice for adding subtle flavour and a bright green colour to food. Find it at health food stores and supermarkets.
miso paste Traditionally from Japan, this salty ingredient is made from fermented soy beans (or rice or barley) that are ground into a thick paste. It has a savoury, umami flavour and comes in a variety of shades from light to dark. Find it at supermarkets ( in the Asian food aisle) and Asian food stores.
Nori sheets These dark green, paper-thin wraps are usually found around sushi rolls, but the crisp edible seaweed is also ideal to add a unique salty and crunchy touch to a variety of dishes.
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) These dried green kernels contain essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are a great way to add crunch and flavour to muesli, salads and savoury dishes.
pickled ginger Often served with sashimi, this Japanese condiment can be found at Asian grocery stores and supermarkets. Or make it yourself using thinly sliced fresh ginger and simple ingredients such as salt, water, sugar and rice wine vinegar.
quinoa It looks like a grain, but quinoa is actually a seed. It comes in black, white and red varieties and is full of protein, with a chewy texture and nutty flavour. You can use it as a substitute for couscous or rice. Find it in supermarkets and greengrocers.
quinoa flakes This is simply quinoa that has been steam-rolled into flakes. Use it in muesli, pancakes or baked goods, or as a gluten-free alternative to breadcrumbs. Quinoa flakes are available from health food stores and supermarkets.
Rapadura sugar Extracted from the pure juice of cane sugar, rapadura (or panela) is evaporated over low heat, which means many of the minerals and vitamins from the plant are retained. Find it at specialty food and health food stores.
sesame seeds These little white or black seeds add flavour and crunch to salads, noodles, stir-fries and baked goods and they’re high in copper, manganese and calcium. When adding them as the finishing touch to a dish, toast the seeds in a dry frying pan first to bring out their subtle nutty flavour.
Sumac Add a tangy taste to dishes with this lemony flavoured powder popular in the Middle East and Mediterranean. You can find it in supermarkets.
sunflower seeds These seeds contain folate, vitamin E and magnesium, and essential fatty acids that are beneficial for cholesterol levels. They have a mild, nutty flavour and a firm texture. Use them to add a nutritious crunch to salads and baking.
tamari This salty condiment is similar to soy sauce, except it usually doesn’t contain gluten. It’s a byproduct of making miso paste and has a darker colour, richer flavour and is thicker than most soy sauces. It can be used as an alternative to soy sauce.
Wakame This dried seaweed has plenty of vitamins and minerals and is usually soaked in water or broth, giving it the texture of thinly sliced mushroom. It is the type of seaweed that is often found in miso soup. Find it at Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets.