Getting stuck in a recipe rut is the worst! To help inspire your kitchen endeavours I rounded up some recipes (from fellow food bloggers) using some of my favourite unsung heroes of the grocery store which I think you should try in 2018! 
•••
open-754996_1280Canned salmon 
Purchase the variety with the bone in and you’ve got a natural source of calcium, vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids, this is a fantastically nutritious and inexpensive pantry staple I recommend you start keeping.
Per 1/2 can:

  • Calcium – 420 mg calcium (more calcium than in 1 cup of milk)
  • Vitamin D – 960 IU (more than the 600 IU you need in a day)
  • Omega 3s EPA and DHA – 3000 mg (more than the minimum 300 – 450 mg you need each day).

Judy from Live Best made Salmon Zucchini:
Kara from Byte Sized Nutrition made salmon burgers:
Rosie from Rosie Schwartz made salmon and corn chowder:

agriculture-316595_1280Lentils
A naturally low glycemic index carbohydrate source, lentils are one of the highest fibre foods in the world, boasting 1 g of fibre for every 2 g of carbohydrate. They are a great source of protein and are low in fat. These qualities make lentils a very nutritious plant powered pantry staple. Lentils cook very quickly, taking as little time as white rice to cook from dried.
Per 1/2 cup cooked whole green lentils:

  • Protein – 12 g (perfect amount for a snack or 50% of the protein I suggest per meal)
  • Fibre – 9 g (adults between 19 – 50 need 25 – 38 g per day)
  • Folate – 39 – 200 mcg (adults have varying needs ranging from 400 – 600 mcg per day)
  • Potassium – 730 mg (most adults need 4700 mg per day)
  • Manganese – 1 mg (adults have varying needs ranging from 1.8 – 2.6 mg per day)

Amy Gorin from Amy Gorin Nutrition made cranberry apple lentil salad:
Kathy and Tracee from Triad to Wellness made potato beet and lentil salad:
Sarah from Sarah Remmer made lentil nuggets:
dates-1603127_1280Dates

These are just delicious. A source of fibre, and potassium, dates are a bakers dream for creating recipes with less refined sugar since they are naturally very sweet.
Per date:

  • Potassium – 165 mg (most adults need 4700 mg per day, a small banana offers 360 mg)

C&J Nutrition made vegan eggnog:

Kara from Byte Sized Nutrition made nice cream snickers bars:
Julie Andrews from the Gourmet RD made coffee cake yogurt muffins with streusel:

milk-can-1990075__480
Evaporated Milk
This is an unsung hero because it’s a fabulous substitute for cream in soup, mashed potatoes or coffee and it’s also high protein and calcium.
Per 1/2 cup:

  • Protein – 9 g (same amount is 1 XL egg or 1 cup milk)
  • Calcium – about 330 mg (same amount as 1/2 cup regular milk)

Jessie from Kitschen Cat made broccoli cheese soup:

Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker made tres-leches cake:
Holy from Taste and See made refried beans:

avocado-2133723_1280Avocado Oil
This is a great cooking oil to keep in your pantry because of it’s got a high smoking point, it’s rich in monounsaturated fats (good for reducing HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and overall combating cardiovascular disease) and it’s low in omega 6 fatty acids (our western diets are too high in omega 6 fats which can be pro-inflammatory). Use instead of olive oil for sautéing and keep your olive oil for salad dressings.

Mona from Queen of my Kitchen made avocado kefir caesar salad dressing:
Rachael from Rachael Hartley Nutrition made fried avocado tacos: 
Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN from Bucket List Tummy made turmeric parsnip fries:

hemp
Hemp Hearts
Easier to eat than slippery chia and flaxseeds, these little nutty delights offer lots of protein, with a good ratio (3:7.5) of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids (we need more omega 3 fats in our diet since it’s already very rich in omega 6 fats). Hemp hearts are also a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is very similar to the healthy omega 3 fat, EPA, found in fish and seafood. GLA helps to decrease inflammation and research supports its beneficial role in heart disease, arthritis and skin conditions. Add to your cereal in the morning to boost you protein intake and leave you more satisfied.
Per 3 tbsp:

  • Protein – 11 g (all nine essential amino acids, great for vegetarians or vegans)
  • Omega 3s – 3 g
  • Omega 6s – 7.5 g

Kelly From Eat Real Live Well made cashew cookie hemp energy bars:
Erica from Erica Julson made avocado hemp seed pesto:
Taylor from the Girls on Bloor made kale caesar salad with avocado dressing:
tofu-1713238_1280Tofu
Tofu is made from soyabeans. Soy when consumed from whole foods like tofu, tempeh edamame as one would consume them in typical Asian cuisine are nutritious, and safe. Soya protein can help to lower LDL cholesterol, and phytoestrogens can help reduce your risk for breast cancer. Tofu is also inexpensive and a blank slate waiting to be painted on.
Per 1/2 cup:

  • Protein – 10 g
  • Calcium – 250 mg
  • Manganese – 0.8 mg
  • Omega 3s – 0.2 g
Sharon from Sharon Palmer made a tofu kale power bowl:
Cara from Street Smart Nutrition made sofritas tacos:
Kelly From Eat Real Live Well made tofu ricotta:
 
brazil-nut-638972_1280
Brazil Nuts
A totally underrated nut. Just one or two of these little guys offers you an entire day’s worth of selenium! Selenium works as an antioxidant in the body, combating free radicals. It’s also great for the immune system and for keeping your thyroid functioning.
1 oz (28 g)

  • Selenium – 540 mcg (adults have varying needs ranging from 55 – 70 mcg per day)
  • magnesium – 106 mg (adults have varying needs ranging from 310 – 420 mg per day)

Throw these guys into your pre-made trail mix, top cereal, blend into smoothies or top salads.

Happy New Year everyone and happy cooking!
Rebecca