Stuck in a Culinary Rut? Expand Your Horizons with These Ingredients

Getting stuck in a culinary rut? Tired of the same old roasted chicken or tuna salad? Sometimes simplicity is good, but this article aims to broaden your flavor and ingredient options. Ever tried baking with buckwheat or seasoning with zesty yuzu, fish sauce, jackfruit, or nutritional yeast? What about enjoying bitter greens like escarole, or exploring kimchi or fermented bean curd? We’ve got 20 recipes to excite your palate!


Photo credit: Dédé Wilson.

Prepare for a flavorful, plant-based tofu stew infused with ample kimchi! Kimchi, a spicy fermented cabbage condiment, adds a punch to various dishes. Combine garlic-oil, ginger, hot pepper flakes, scallions, and firm tofu for a 30-minute stew that’ll leave you craving more. Get the recipe.

Fish Sauce 

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson.

Pungent fish sauce infuses your dishes with unique umami and salinity. Quality matters – opt for brands like Red Boat, as inferior ones can overpower your dish. Inspired by Pok Pok’s famous chicken wings marinated in fish sauce, our recipe lets you recreate this savory delight at home. Get the recipe for Pok Pok Chicken Wings.

Salted Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson.

Highlighted Ingredient: Buckwheat Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain with a distinct earthy flavor, perfect for both savory and sweet dishes. Our Salted Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies are a standout favorite. The robust taste of buckwheat paired with brown sugar, rich dark chocolate, and a touch of salt creates an irresistible combination. Get the Salted Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe.

Nutritional Yeast 

Photo credit: Ayten Salahi.

Nutritional yeast isn’t just for vegans – it adds a cheesy flavor and creamy texture to plant-based cooking. Our Baja Tempeh Taco Salad stars spicy, seasoned tempeh with a medley of flavors and textures, including arugula, cilantro, cabbage, pepitas, and crunchy tortilla chips. Elevate your salad game with this recipe. Get the recipe.


Photo credit: Dédé Wilson.

Miso, a fermented soybean condiment, adds rich umami flavor to our Soba Noodle Soup with Baby Bok Choy and Oyster Mushrooms. This comforting soup combines slurpy noodles, tender crisp vegetables, and jammy eggs for a satisfying meal. Get the recipe.


Photo credit: Ayten Salahi.

Though named after fruit, jackfruit often serves as a savory meat substitute. Our New Orleans Style Gumbo swaps traditional ingredients for jackfruit and butter beans, offering a plant-based, tummy-friendly twist on a classic dish. Feel free to add sausage for extra flavor. Get the recipe.

Preserved Lemons 

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson.

Lemons preserved with salt yield a sophisticated condiment that elevates dishes. Our Moroccan-inspired one-pot chicken dinner combines saffron, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and preserved lemons for a fragrant and balanced meal. Click for the recipe.

Calamari Steaks 

Photo credit: Philip Nicholas.

Grilled calamari steaks, whether fresh or frozen, offer a Mediterranean-inspired dish of simplicity and quality. With just a few ingredients, including high-quality olive oil, you can create a flavorful meal reminiscent of coastal dining. Get the recipe for Grilled Calamari Steaks.

Smoked Paprika

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson.

Smoked paprika lends a smoky depth to dishes, enhancing their flavor profile. Our Chicken with Grapes, Thyme, and Smoked Paprika is a quick and easy oven-roasted meal that balances sweetness with savory notes. Perfect for a hassle-free weeknight dinner. Get the recipe.


Photo credit: Dédé Wilson.

Nutritious tempeh takes center stage in our protein-packed Tempeh Lentil Chili with Squash. Enhanced with chipotle, smoked paprika, and oregano, this vegan chili features roasted butternut squash for added depth. Serve with rice for a satisfying meal. Get the recipe for Tempeh Lentil Chili with Squash.


Photo credit: Ayten Salahi.

Za’atar, a blend of coriander, cumin, sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, and hot pepper flakes, imparts robust flavor to dishes. Our tofu scramble, seasoned with nutritional yeast for a cheesy umami kick, makes for a versatile meal any time of day. Get the recipe.


Photo credit: Meeta Arora.

Hearty sorghum takes center stage in our Vegan Sorghum Grain Bowl, featuring fresh vegetables, cannellini beans, pecans, and avocados. This nutritious meal is perfect for a healthy summer dinner. Get the recipe for Vegan Sorghum Grain Bowl.

Black Sesame & Yuzu 

Photo credit: Katalin Nagy.

Experience the vibrant flavors of Japan with our Black Sesame Tart with Yuzu Curd. This Japanese-inspired dessert features a black sesame-infused crust filled with tangy yuzu curd, creating a delightful contrast of flavors and textures. Get the recipe for Black Sesame Tart with Yuzu Curd.


Photo credit: Dédé Wilson.

Experience tofu in a new light with our Banh Mi Tofu Bowl, featuring cooked rice, quick-pickled carrots and daikon radish, red cabbage, cilantro, and spicy mayo. This plant-based dish is low in fat, protein-packed, and perfect for a satisfying meal. Get the recipe.

Seaweed Highlighted 

Photo credit: Meeta Arora.

Introduce nori sheets into your cooking with our Easy Vegan Sushi for Beginners. This homemade vegan sushi recipe is both tasty and beginner-friendly, allowing you to customize your rolls with your favorite ingredients. Get the recipe for Easy Vegan Sushi for Beginners.

Fermented Bean Curd 

Photo credit: Joyce Lee.

Discover the rich, savory flavor of fermented bean curd in our Sweet And Sticky Char Siu recipe. This easy dish yields juicy, sweet, and sticky Chinese BBQ pork, perfect for recreating authentic flavors at home. Get the recipe for Sweet And Sticky Char Siu.


Photo credit: Nandor Barta.

Escarole Add bitter greens to your diet with our Escarole Soup, a light and flavorful dish ready in just 20 minutes. This one-pot soup is simple yet satisfying, making it an ideal addition to any meal. Get the recipe for Escarole Soup.

Buckwheat Groats 

Photo credit: Nandor Barta.

Elevate your meals with buckwheat groats, a flavorful whole grain. Our Juicy Vegan Lentil Loaf features this nutritious ingredient, resulting in a rich, moist, and satisfying dish. Perfect for a hearty vegan meal. Get the recipe for Juicy Vegan Lentil Loaf.


Photo credit: Nandor Barta.

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) Experience the meaty texture of TVP in our Meaty Vegan TVP Burger. This juicy burger holds together during grilling, boasting a crispy crust and rich flavor profile. Gluten-free and satisfying, it’s perfect for plant-based dining. Get the recipe for Meaty Vegan TVP Burger.

Want To Make The Most Of Asparagus Season? 25 Sides & Salad Dishes Hearty Enough For A Meal

 Photo credit: Emily Toshiko. 

We can’t get enough asparagus, and when their season hits, we gather them up and head to the kitchen. These 25 recipes are the best side dishes and salads, from classic grilled to unusual combinations, vegan and vegetarian, and even instructions on how to make the best white asparagus. Many of these recipes are hearty enough for a light main dish. READ: Want To Make The Most Of Asparagus Season? 25 Sides & Salad Dishes Hearty Enough For A Meal

20 Favorite Side Dishes To Pair With Burgers

macaroni slaw.
 Photo Credit: Dédé Wilson.

 Here are 20 of our favorite side dishes to pair with burgers, from oven-baked fries (2 kinds), green salads to hearty potato and pasta sides, even a quick stovetop mac and cheese. READ: 20 Favorite Side Dishes To Pair With Burgers

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  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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