7 Unusual Ingredients That Will Take Your Cooking Experience to the Next Level

healthy fruit and veg

When they cooked, our mothers and grandmothers rarely steered from using traditional local ingredients. This happened because the market was not as full of options as it is now, and grocery stores were not as packed with interesting products as they are today.
If you are bored with using the same ingredients over and over again and want to experiment more with your dished, we completely understand. There are so many nutritious and interesting ingredients you can use to revamp your cooking, and they don’t require you to take a cooking masterclass to include them in your diet.
Don’t know what to put in your salad today? Want a nutritious breakfast that is not boring or tasteless? Here are 7 ingredients you absolutely must cook with once in your life.

Goji Berries

The popularity of goji berries has skyrocketed ever since the wellness industry started including them in nearly every product. And even though we sometimes question the credibility of these “miracle foods”, goji is truly a powerhouse berry.
They are known as wolfberries in some regions and are a true source of vitamin A, vitamin C, proteins, selenium, copper, and antioxidants. They provide 8 amino acids that are essential for us, which is why they have been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years.
You can include goji berries in desserts or in your breakfast smoothie bowl, but you can also make goji berry tea by using dried fruits. Because they are rich in fibers, a bowl of goji smoothie will keep you full for many hours.


This blue-green alga is one of the most powerful ingredients on the planet, as it is packed with nutrients and rich in vitamins. Vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-3, copper, iron, and lots of proteins – this is what spirulina packs and why it has become such as popular ingredient to add to your foods.
Its cousin, the E3Live algae, has also grown in popularity a lot in the past few years, and you may see it in the blue-colored foods that are so trendy right now. Think unicorn lattes, blue yogurt bowls, and colored smoothies.
You can use spirulina in smoothie bowls, drinks, or even as a salad dressing, for a pop of color. If it’s your first time using it, start with small quantities, because its strong taste may overpower your meals.


Cannabutter is a smoke-free way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without having to pick up a smoking habit in the process. Cannabutter is basically butter that has been infused with decarboxylated cannabis and is used to make edibles. Because cannabis has two main compounds – THC and CBD – each with its own effects, you need to do your homework really thoroughly before starting to use it in your meals.
CDB is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it won’t lead to a mind-altering state, while THC is the one responsible for getting you high. Cannabutter can contain only one of the compounds or both, so pay close attention when buying. If you want to learn how to make cannabutter, there are plenty of tutorials online that document the process thoroughly.


Mushrooms are some of the most versatile ingredients out there. They can be used in plenty of foods, including as a replacement for chicken meat, because of their similar texture. Cordyceps are fungi that grow on the larvae of insects, and even though this may not sound appetizing, hear us out on this one.
Mushrooms come in many forms, and some of the species have proven to have many beneficial effects on our health. The Chinese have used cordyceps in medicine for many years now, to treat ailments such as fatigue.
Try to look for full-spectrum powdered cordyceps and use it in your lattes, smoothies, and even salads. These marvelous fungi can help with exercise performance, lowering inflammations, and keeping you in shape.


Maca is a Peruvian ingredient, often known as the Peruvian ginseng, and is a cruciferous root vegetable that can be found in powder form. Its taste is very earthy, which is why some may not find it appetizing, but combined with other ingredients, it tastes delicious.
It works for smoothies, oatmeal bowls, lattes, or even sweet treats. It is a known energy booster, which is why it is perfect for those who want a caffeine-free alternative to their morning coffee. It is also believed to help balance hormones and enhance fertility.


Often called kuzu, this Japanese-native root has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. It helps with inflammation and has lots of antioxidants, making it perfect for a multitude of health issues. It has a very thick consistency, which makes it perfect for sauces and smoothies, plus it really fills your stomach.
Kudzu is believed to help improve your circulatory and digestive systems, soothing the body and helping with headaches. Some even believe it is a very effective cure for hangovers, so keep in in your pantry for those mornings after you’ve had one too many glasses of wine.
You can find it in dried form, which is perfect for making puddings. Just add some coconut milk, and you have a perfect dessert to help soothe your stomach


Activated charcoal is everywhere nowadays. You can find it in cosmetics, cleaning products, and also foods, tanks to the boom created by the wellness industry. Ayurveda and Chinese medicine are known to value activated charcoal a lot, as it is used for treating a variety of health issues. It can help promote kidney function, reduce cholesterol, and can even be used as a poison treatment.
Activated charcoal can also be used as a true toxin magnet because it is highly absorbent, making other chemicals bind to its surface. Be careful, however, as activated charcoal does not know how to differentiate between good and bad chemicals, so it can also absorb nutrients and supplements in foods, as well as medication. Use it in moderation and make sure it does not interfere with your treatment



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