Nutritionist reveals the 10 cooking staples you should always have on hand

Chilli flakes, tahini and tamari sauce are just some of the healthy staples a nutritionist believes we should all have in our pantry.

Jessica Sepel, who is based in Sydney, shared her top 10 cooking essentials, explaining that they make a ‘dramatic difference to her motivation to cook’. 

‘It also saves me so much time and means my meals are always bursting with flavour,’ Jessica wrote on JSHealth.

‘I usually have these ingredients laid out near my stove or on my kitchen bench. I highly recommend doing the same.’

So what are the things to keep in your kitchen? 

Jessica Sepel (pictured), who is based in Sydney, shared her cooking essentials - and the things she always keeps in her pantry

Jessica Sepel (pictured), who is based in Sydney, shared her cooking essentials - and the things she always keeps in her pantry

Jessica Sepel (pictured), who is based in Sydney, shared her cooking essentials – and the things she always keeps in her pantry

CHILLI FLAKES

Commonly added to curries and on freshly seared fish, chilli flakes have the power to lift just about any dish. 

Research has also revealed that red chilli flakes and other peppers help to stimulate metabolism and prevent fat storage.

‘A little spice makes everything nice! I love topping my meals with a pinch of chilli flakes to add an extra punch of flavour,’ Miss Sepel said.

Chilli flakes, tahini and tamari sauce are just some of the unusual items (pictured) Miss Sepel believes we should all have in our pantry staples

Chilli flakes, tahini and tamari sauce are just some of the unusual items (pictured) Miss Sepel believes we should all have in our pantry staples

Chilli flakes, tahini and tamari sauce are just some of the unusual items (pictured) Miss Sepel believes we should all have in our pantry staples

LEMONS  

When it comes to cooking, we are always looking for a balance between core flavour profiles, the nutritionist explained.

‘Fresh lemon juice has an acidic flavour which is one of the key elements. I use lemon juice to make a simple dressing and add some freshness to my meals,’ Ms Sepel said.

‘I also like to use the whole fruit by zesting the lemon and using the zest as a garnish on my salad, to make my lemon and herb chicken or on top of my morning porridge.’

Jessica Sepel uses lemon on top of her salads as a garnish

Jessica Sepel uses lemon on top of her salads as a garnish

This is a dish Miss Sepel created using lemon as the star ingredient

This is a dish Miss Sepel created using lemon as the star ingredient

‘Fresh lemon juice has an acidic flavour which is one of the key elements. I use lemon juice to make a simple dressing and add some freshness to my meals,’ she explained

GARLIC

This is an easy one to add to the pan with a little bit of olive oil to deliciously flavour just about any home-cooked meal.   

‘Garlic always lifts a meal to the next level,’ Miss Sepel commented.

‘I love to sauté my vegetables in some freshly crushed or sliced garlic. Simple and delicious.’

CURRY POWDER

For those who like their meals hot this additive is often used to flavour curries of all kinds.  

But it can also be a wonderful additive to hummus, egg salad, popcorn and even dressings.  

‘I add curry powder to my cauliflower rice, and use it to make a quick and easy curry with coconut milk or sprinkle it over my vegetables before roasting,’ Miss Sepel said.

TAHINI 

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds that works in most Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. 

‘Anyone who follows me knows I love tahini,’ Miss Sepel said.

‘Personally I use hulled tahini as it is extra creamy but if you are looking to increase your calcium intake opt for unhulled tahini.’

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

It’s a good source of antioxidants and healthy fats but is sometimes pushed to the side for other less healthy oils.

But when it comes to cooking, Miss Sepel swears by the extra virgin olive oil variety.  

‘It is not only incredibly nutritious but has a beautiful flavour profile,’ she said.

Miss Sepel's cauliflower recipe includes curry powder to give the dish a kick

Miss Sepel's cauliflower recipe includes curry powder to give the dish a kick

For those who like their meals hot, this additive is often used to flavour curries of all kinds

For those who like their meals hot, this additive is often used to flavour curries of all kinds

‘I add curry powder to my cauliflower rice, use it to make a quick and easy curry with coconut milk or sprinkle it over my vegetables before roasting,’ Miss Sepel said

DIJON MUSTARD  

‘My family and friends laugh at me because I love to add a big dollop of Dijon mustard to my salads,’ she explained.

‘It’s creamy, tangy and something I always have on hand.’

Brown mustard seeds and white wine are the main ingredients in this product.

TAMARI

Both soy sauce and tamari are byproducts of fermented soybeans, though the main difference between the two is the presence of wheat in soy and not in tamari.

‘This is my favourite ingredient when it comes to marinating,’ Miss Sepel commented.

‘It’s the star ingredient in my Japanese salmon marinade and also my satay sauce.’

SESAME SEEDS  

‘A sprinkle of sesame seeds on top of a nourish bowl, sautéed vegetables or roasted vegetables not only looks beautiful but adds a nutty flavour that I adore,’ she explained.

They are extremely good for your skin and hair, and packed with copper, magnesium and calcium.

Adding them to the top of your takeaway sushi will also work wonders to the quality of your meal.

SEA SALT 

The addition of salt to a meal adds depth and also enhances the natural flavours. 

‘I use sea salt which has a stronger flavour which means you need to use less,’ Ms Sepel explained.

Salt is essential for sustaining the hydration levels in the body.

Link hienalouca.com

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