Here is a brief explanation of several unconventional ingredients that my recipes commonly include. Many of them can be found at natural/organic supermarkets, or online.
This is a natural thickening and binding agent often used in the food industry. It is a soluble fiber suited for a variety of recipes, including sauces, puddings, and gluten-free baked goods.
Another commercially used soluble fiber, this powder works particularly well in cold applications.
TIP: adding this to any homemade ice cream recipe does wonders for keeping it smooth and creamy.
Sometimes referred to as kojnac flour, this soluble fiber is a multipurpose thickener. It has a wide range of uses because it adds significant viscosity without excessive stickiness. Find out more here.
Whatever your dietary preference (rice, whey, pea, etc.), protein powders can be used in baked good to replace some of the flour, therefore reducing the amount of carbohydrates. They can also be added to ice creams and puddings.
This sugar alcohol is a favorable substitute for table sugar because it comes in granular form. It has negligible calories, yet is very effective for uses that require sugar-like behavior such as baking and candy-making. Because it occurs naturally, it is also an ideal alternative to artificial sweeteners. Find out more here.
This herbal no-calorie sweetener is best for use in beverages and sauces, yet can also be combined with erythritol in baked goods. It can be found in both plain and flavored varieties.
Made from the soluble fiber glucomannan (see above), these packaged noodles are a great alternative to starchy pastas. They can be used in entrées, salads, soups, and more. Among other health benefits, they contribute no calories to whatever you add them to. Find out more here.
This gluten-free flour is nothing more than finely milled coconut. Being low in digestible carbohydrates, it can be used in place of traditional grain flours.
When limiting fat intake, this provides a healthy source of omega 3 fatty acids. It serves as a twofold ingredient in many recipes, as it can partially replace both flour and butter/oil
Powdered Peanut Butter
Made of very finely milled peanuts, much of the fat has been removed to create a lower-calorie altertative to traditional peanut butter. In addition to being reconstituted with water to use as a spread, the powder can also be added directly to recipes such as baked goods, sauces, and ice creams.
This soluble fiber mixes easily into any recipe with minimal impact on thickness and texture. It can therefore be used a partial flour replacement in moderate amounts to add substance to baked goods. Find out more here.
Containing both soluble and insoluble fiber, these can also replace part of the flour in a recipe. When used in proper amounts, they enhance texture and stability of baked goods without adding excessive carbohydrates or calories. Find out more here.
This dairy-free milk alternative is very low in calories, yet still rich enough to provide creaminess. Using an unsweetened variety allows for use in both sweet and savory recipes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Noted for a variety of health benefits when found in raw, unfiltered form, this vinegar is another low-calorie flavor booster. It is ideal for dressings, sauces, and marinades.
TIP: add a small amount to egg whites before cooking to produce a fluffier, and therefore higher-volume result.