7 Natural Foods for the Inspired Kitchen: Spiced Water, Dessert Hummus, Jackfruit and More

Reader Contribution by Kayla Matthews
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Having an assortment of staple foods for cooking on your homestead is excellent for when you want to cook crowd-pleasing dishes you can make almost without thinking about it. However, it’s also fantastic to regularly learn to cook new recipes instead of always eating the same things.

By doing that, you’ll become more confident in the kitchen and realize you’re more than capable of diversifying your methods. Moreover, the learning and exploration processes encourage you to venture outside of your comfort zone.

Once you test some of the items on the list below, you may realize you’re ready to learn other new things in the months to come, too.

At first, change may feel intimidating, but in this case, it’s the best way to learn about new things you can create in the kitchen. Some of the seven ideas mentioned here may become your new favorites.

1. Seed Butter

Most people have heard of options like almond butter, but there’s an emerging trend of individuals branching out beyond nuts when they make spreads. More specifically, they’re turning to seeds.

Sunflower seeds are a popular option, and that’s partly because almost 90 percent of the fats they contain are unsaturated. Plus, these seeds have more Vitamin E and magnesium than peanut butter.

Pumpkin seed butter is another possibility, especially after carving pumpkins to celebrate Halloween. Some people also add cinnamon to the mixture for a flavorful kick.

You can even make watermelon seed butter, which is exceptionally high in protein. Consider adding it as a condiment if you or someone in the home is a vegetarian or an athlete who needs higher-than-average amounts of protein.

2. Pegan Recipes

The pegan diet combines some elements of the Paleo diet and eating vegan. But, it’s a bit more complicated than merely adding aspects of both of those popular diets together. For example, you can eat meat, fish, vegetables and fruits but should avoid legumes, sugar, dairy and processed foods.

The pegan way of eating became known in 2014 but has rapidly gained momentum since then. If you’re interested in giving it a go, consider picking up a few cookbooks with pegan recipes. Then, you can spend more time working with tasty ingredients that blend well together instead of engaging in potentially frustrating trial and error.

3. Spiced Water

Pinterest is typically a go-to place to find out about trends, and statistics show a 353-percent increase in searches on the site for spiced water. Ginger is one of the frequently used spices for the beverage due to its anti-inflammatory properties and the fact it’s an antioxidant. Also, consider adding lemon if you want to tone down the punch of the ginger a bit.

Alternatively, if you have some fresh cucumber, think about combining up to eight slices of it with three to four mint leaves and one to two teaspoons of cumin. Then, add all that to eight cups of water.

Those are just a few possibilities for how you could make water less boring without depending on artificial additives.

4. Jackfruit

The jackfruit tree is related to the fig family, and when eaten raw and ripe, jackfruit tastes similar to pineapple or mango. However, you can also use the versatile jackfruit unripened in your recipes. Then, the flavor is more neutral, like a potato, and makes dishes more savory.

Many people who eat plant-based diets know jackfruit as a meat substitute often used in sliders that mimic pork barbecue. It also works well as a filling for tacos or burritos. In case you needed more evidence that jackfruit is set to take the mainstream by storm, Trader Joe’s announced a jackfruit cake as one of its first products of 2019.

5. Dessert Hummus

People often spread hummus made from chickpeas or beetroot onto crackers and veggies or plop dollops of it into bowls of salad. But now, there are options for chowing down on hummus as a way to end a meal. People are becoming increasingly interested in dessert hummus, thanks in part to a pitch on “Shark Tank” a few years ago.

Once the first brand hit the market, people started experimenting to create their own. You could make snickerdoodle dessert hummus, featuring cookie dough and cinnamon, or go with the always-pleasing flavor of dark chocolate.

6. Sri Lankan Cuisine

There was a time when most people only saw Sri Lankan food grouped with Indian fare on a menu. However, it has recently distinguished itself. Curry is a staple dish, served on a bed of steamed or boiled rice. There is even a curry made from jackfruit. It’s called polos, and you might feel ready to try making it once you become familiar with jackfruit-based cooking.

Otherwise, there’s a dish called kottu. It’s a stir-fry made with shredded roti bread and vegetables. You can also add eggs, cheese or meat.

7. Ugly Fruit and Vegetables

When you look at the produce section of a supermarket, the fruits and vegetables there probably look much different than the stuff taken from your garden. That’s because stores often only use the pieces that are most attractive.

But, there’s a push toward using every piece of produce possible, no matter how misshapen or “ugly” it is. Some stores package it together and offer it to shoppers at a discounted price. Some delivery services are even starting up in major cities that specialize in sending boxes of ugly fruit and vegetables to their customers.

Such a service might not serve your area, but it shows how people realize that ugly fruit and veg still taste good despite their appearances.

Research New Recipes Today

This list is a great place to start as you diversify your recipes this year. Now is the time to try some of these suggestions and see which ones you like best!

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Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living, sustainable consumption, eco-friendly practices and green energy. In the past, her work has also been featured on Grit, Mother Earth Living, Blue And Green Tomorrow, Dwell and Houzz. To read more from Kayla, follow her productivity and lifestyle blog: Productivity Theory.

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