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10 Old Ingredients to Use in a New Way

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10 Old Ingredients to Use in a New Way

Trying new and exciting foods always makes life more interesting. But sometimes we want the excitement, yet lack the time to look up or go searching for items to make that happen. If you’ve bought some of these old ingredients for one recipe, but still have them hanging around in the back of your pantry, use them up in new ways:

1. Nutritional Yeast:

One of my all-time favorite ingredients can be used in so many ways, try a cauliflower-based Alfredo or mac and “cheese” sauce, sprinkle it on popcorn for “cheesy” popcorn, add it to potatoes, or in sauces and dressings.

2. Tapioca Starch:

Due to its smooth texture, tapioca starch can be used to thicken sauces, pies and soups. This is a great replacement for cornstarch; use 2 tablespoons tapioca flour for each 1 tablespoon of cornstarch called for in a recipe.

3. Coconut/Almond Flour:

If you are avoiding grains these flours will be your best friend. Use them to make muffins, cookies, pancakes, breads, or waffles. They offer a great texture and nutty flavor.

4. Gluten-free All-purpose Flour:

Flour isn’t just for baking! If you find yourself with a bag of all-purpose gluten free flour use it to make your own tempura or other battering needs, use it to bind bean or vegetable patties, or even use it to make a roux.

5. Olive Oil:

Not just for topping your pastas and dipping your favorite breads. Olive oil can be used as a great lip balm or moisturizer, simply apply topically. Get a little on your hands while cooking? No problem, try rubbing it on your elbows or other dry areas.

6. Coffee Grounds:

Skin care from your morning cup of coffee?? Coffee scrubs are can be great exfoliators. Check out how to make your own here.

7. Miso:

Not just one of your favorite soup bases; miso is excellent for marinades, sauces and dressings. One of my favorites is a quick and easy gravy adding equal parts almond butter and miso with hot water to texture preference. Or try miso, lemon, tahini and water for a quick and easy dressing.

8. Full-Fat Coconut Milk:

Looking for a little indulgence?? Try refrigerating a can of full fat coconut milk, open it carefully not mixing the liquid with the coconut, drain  the liquid, then using a whisk, or hand blender, whip the coconut for 30 seconds to a minute. You can add vanilla, coconut sugar, or stevia to taste or leave it plain, and voila—whipped cream!

Note: don’t toss out the liquid; it can be used in your smoothies or juices as well.

9. Fresh Herbs:

Don’t you love how recipes call for only a couple tablespoons of herbs and you have to buy them by the bunch? Not to worry, there are lots of ways to use them. Start by flavoring your water! Some of my favorite herbs to add to water are basil, rosemary, and mint.  Just wash them off and drop them in your drinking water. Or try chopping the herbs up and placing them in some good quality olive oil, salt and garlic to taste. Dip bread in and enjoy!

10. Chickpea Brine:

You know that liquid from a can of chickpeas that you usually drain and toss out? You won’t anymore! This is known as aquafaba and is a perfect eggwhite replacer! You can use it in cooking and baking or even whip it up for whipped cream or meringues! Use about 4 tablespoons for the equivalent of 1 eggwhite. You can start with this pavlova recipe to try your hand at using chickpea brine.


Do you use any ingredients in a creative and fun way? Tell us about it below in the comments, and use #BestLifeProject when posting to social media!

Paige Snyder

Paige Snyder works at Vega as a Regional Educator. She is a plant-based nutritionist who specializes in sport performance, stress management, and achieving your optimal weight. Paige is currently completing her Masters in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and loves to develop raw dessert recipes.
Paige Snyder

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