And we’re back! With Part 2 of my Top 10 Healthy Kitchen Staples. I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to find out the final five essentials items on my shopping list each week, and now the time has come.
If you want a quick recap on the first 5 items, take a look here.
You’ve waited long enough, so let’s crack on.
6. Kidney Beans
Beans (kidney or otherwise) are one of my main sources of protein, so I eat them as often as I can. They’re inexpensive, require very little prep (just open the tin and drain the water…you can do it with your eyes closed), and they really pad out a recipe. As well as packing a good protein punch, they’re also a great source of fibre (good for your digestive system), and a whole host of vitamins and minerals to keep your heart ticking away nicely.
Kidney beans are my favourite – they’re super versatile. I use them in pasta sauce, fajitas, risotto, chilli, curry… the list goes on.
Tomatoes are a key element of a vegan or plant-based diet. If I didn’t like tomatoes, I honestly don’t know what I’d eat. Probably a load a veggie bangers and sweet potato mash…and cake. That could get very boring, very quickly (or could it?!)
The base of so many of my meals is tomatoes: pasta, chilli, curry, pizza… And what about salsa? Salsa with no tomatoes? It’d just be a weird lime/coriander/onion mix. The fajitas wouldn’t be anywhere near as good.
They’re also great chopped up and sprinkled over avo-toast, and in sandwiches, soup, and guacamole (best dip ever).
I think I’ve made my point – I can’t live without tomatoes.
If you’re interested in the health benefits, they’re rich in antioxidants, fibre, and vitamin C. They also help to reduce cholesterol so they’re good for your heart. Think about that next time you’re making salsa.
Ah garlic, you beauty. I love garlic. If we’re being honest, I probably put too much garlic in my food. At least I don’t have to worry about protecting myself from vampires though.
It adds so much flavour that it really takes meals up a notch. Not only that, it’s an awesome sauce of vitamin B6, manganese, selenium and vitamin C.
If you’ve not seen me harping on about sesame sweet potato fries on Instagram, you’ll perhaps be unaware that while we were in Hamburg last month, we had the best sesame sweet potato fries with vegan aioli. It is now my mission in life to recreate it, and I know garlic is going to be the star performer in this deliciously creamy dip. Hopefully I’ll have a recipe to share with you some time soon, but in the meantime, here’s a photo of some tasty-looking garlic.
Where would I be without pasta? Probably in the same place I’d be without tomatoes. Pasta is something we have at least once a week, sometimes twice, sometimes three times (I know, we need to calm down with the pasta). It’s quick and easy to make, it’s filling, and who doesn’t love carbs?*
One of the recipes I make most weeks is a homemade pasta sauce that’s packed with rafters with veggies. I also often make lentil ragu and have it with spaghetti! One of the recipes I’m developing for later this month is pasta with an artichoke-pesto sauce, so keep your eyes open for that one!
*If you don’t love carbs, please drop me an email and I’ll send you a list of why you should love carbs.
Nuts are another great source of protein. Walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews and almonds are all important items in my kitchen cupboards. Here are some of the ways I like to incorporate nuts into my diet:
- With muesli, porridge or overnight oats
- In smoothies
- As a snack alongside some dark chocolate (ooh, chocolate)
- In baking (carrot cake, flapjack, biscuits)
- Sometimes if I’m feeling fancy I’d sprinkle pine nuts over a meal
They’re also great as a post-workout snack!
To conclude my Top 10 Healthy Kitchen Essentials, I thought I’d finish with a cheeky snap of this cutie pie eating a nut. Because why not.
This past few days I’ve had a bit of a sore throat, so in order to stop any colds developing I’ve been working on a smoothie to give my immune system a bit of a boost. It’ll be with you on Saturday (unless the cold gets me first!), so make sure you check back for that.
For now though, I hope the rest of your week goes well. What are you up to this week? Let me know in the comments!