When armed with these whole­some pantry al­ter­na­tives and nu­tri­ent-rich fresh foods that we love from this is­sue’s recipes, you’ll al­ways have ev­ery­thing you need for a fresh and light meal. Many of these in­gre­di­ents are sourced from supermarkets, but there

donna hay - Fresh + Light - - Contents -

Our go-to guide ex­plains some of the best in­gre­di­ents to have on hand so you can make the most out of these recipes


This nu­tri­tious nut 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.


Orig­i­nally re­fer­ring to the liq­uid re­main­ing af­ter milk was churned into but­ter, the va­ri­eties avail­able now are made by adding live cul­tures to low-fat milk. It has a tangy flavour and adds a great tex­ture to baked goods.

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.


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 oil

Ex­tracted from the meat of ma­ture co­conuts, this oil has a high smok­ing point (you buy it as a solid, so you may need to melt it be­fore us­ing). It’s a dairy-free al­ter­na­tive to but­ter and adds flavour to bakes and slices.


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.

fresh dates

With a tof­fee-like sweet­ness, dates make a great sub­sti­tute for re­fined sug­ars in desserts and are a good source of fi­bre. They are sold loose in green­gro­cers or the pro­duce sec­tion of supermarkets, and usu­ally need to be pit­ted be­fore use.

greek- style yo­ghurt

Made with pro­bi­otic bac­te­rial cul­tures, yo­ghurt is use­ful for a healthy diges­tive sys­tem. The Greek-style va­ri­ety is thicker and con­tains more pro­tein than other yo­ghurts. Look for nat­u­ral op­tions that don’t have any added sugar.


Also called flaxseeds, these small brown seeds have a nutty flavour and are high in omega-3 fatty acids. They can be baked into bread, sprin­kled on ce­real or used to make muesli slices and crack­ers.


Per­fect for sprin­kling into smooth­ies, baked treats or break­fast ce­re­als, this fine mix of ground lin­seeds, sun­flower seeds and al­monds is a highly nu­tri­tious and ver­sa­tile in­gre­di­ent to add to your diet. It’s rich in fi­bre and omega-3 fatty acids. Find it in the health food aisle of the su­per­mar­ket.

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.


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.

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.


Made from roasted and ground sesame seeds, you can find tahini paste in jars in the health food sec­tion of supermarkets. It’s a key in­gre­di­ent in hum­mus, but don’t stop there – add a dol­lop to dress­ings and dips for ex­tra flavour, or mix a spoon­ful into bis­cuits and cakes. The rich paste can some­times sep­a­rate in the jar, so stir well be­fore us­ing.


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 a gluten-free al­ter­na­tive to soy sauce in most dishes.

Whole­meal spelt flour

This nu­tri­tious flour is high in pro­tein and easy to digest. It does not con­tain wheat, though it does con­tain a small amount of gluten. How­ever, some peo­ple who are sen­si­tive to gluten can tol­er­ate spelt flour. Find it in the health food aisle of supermarkets or in health food stores.

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