Extreme Makeunder: Pantry Edition

We are all about the whole “Eat this — not that” credo, but sometimes we’re looking for a little more than replacing a McDonald’s cheeseburger with grass-fed bison.

The most important part of making cooking an everyday part of life is always having the essentials in your pantry — the simple constants that make it easy to whip up a meal on an hour’s notice.

We thought we’d start our Makeunder series with a list of which staple ingredients you can toss out, and which yummy ones to add into your rotation for tasty, easy-to-make and healthy snacks. They’ll be even more flavorful than your old go-to’s. And we promise, you won’t even miss those 50-ingredient bottled salad dressings.

1. Celtic sea salt, Herbamare and gomasio replace iodized salt.

2. Raw honey, brown rice syrup, and barley malt replace sugar and artificial sweetener.

3. Quinoa, spelt berries, amaranth and brown rice replace white rice, oats and couscous.

4. Sweet potatoes replace regular potatoes (more nutrients).

5. Soba noodles, wakame seaweed and kelp noodles replace white pasta.

6. Dijon mustard is a staple that can be used in everything from marinades to salad dressings.

7. Chili oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil and extra virgin olive oil replace vegetable oil and canola oil.

8. Whole wheat flour, spelt flour, almond flour and coconut flour replace all-purpose flour.

9. Apple cider vinegar replaces balsamic — it has so many more health benefits!

10. Braggs amino acids, nama shoyu (fermented, raw soy sauce) and olive paste — choose these to flavor dishes over heavy sauces often made with cheese.

11. Sunflower seed butter, tahini and almond butter are better alternatives to peanut butter, which is not actually a nut, is a major allergen and is difficult to digest.

12. Nutritional yeast replaces cheese, and it is actually good for you.

13. Roasted nori (seaweed) replaces salty potato chips.

14. Arrowroot powder is great thickener for stir-fries.

Snacks you can make from these items:

  • Baked sweet potato for dessert, with a drizzle of coconut oil and cinnamon on top.
  • Baked kale chips sprinkled with nutritional yeast and Celtic sea salt.
  • Cold soba noodles with sesame oil and a little almond butter/cilantro sauce.
  • Wakame seaweed soaked in water with chopped avocado, cucumber and nama shoyu, and gomasio and nori strips sprinkled on top.

How to make your own salad dressing — saves money and calories, and always tastes better than the bottled kind:

  • Acid: lemon juice, Sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, champagne vinegar.
  • Oil: olive oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil or walnut oil.
  • Flavoring like Dijon mustard or raw honey.
  • Salt and pepper.
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