We don’t know about you, but we’re doing a complete 180º on ready prepared convenience foods. It’s probably mostly to do with the sustainable movement since most store-bought convenience foods come wrapped in layers of plastic and unessasary packaging. But also because a lot of pre-packaged goods contain a whole lot of crap! Think stabilisers, added sugars, added salt, preservatives, food colourings, E numbers, binders and artificial flavourings, none of which are good for our bodies. These are all ingredients commonly used to prolong the shelf life, mask cheap ingredients and make a product more addictive so you repeat buy (we all know how addictive sugar is!). It’s easy to fall into the trap of relying on pre-packaged food… we try to eat as wholesomely as possible but sometimes those old favourites can creep in when we’re busy. 

While making every morsel you eat from scratch will undoubtedly be very tricky to sustain, there are a few food staples that we’ve recently decided to make from scratch. From trying and testing, homemade versions of your favourite foods a) taste way better, b) take way less time than you would have thought and c) are so much healthier for you! Below we’ve shared the 6 food staples that we think everyone should make themselves. 

Cashew Milk
Have you ever looked on the back of your nut milk carton? With a very little nut action and a few sneaky preservatives, you can definitely do better by making a homemade version. We love cashew milk for two reasons. It’s deliciously creamy AND you don’t need a nut milk cloth strainer. No mess, no extra step just soak the cashews overnight and blend away for the creamiest milk alternative you’ll ever taste! You can also customise with vanilla extract, maple syrup and even cacao for a chocolatey twist. We love this cashew milk recipe from one of our favourite foodie youtube channels, Downshiftology. Give it a go…. You will be converted.

Hummus
Who doesn’t love hummus? Seriously, it’s one of life’s greatest pleasures but just you wait until you’ve made it from scratch. Mind = Blown. The beauty with hummus is you can make it so many different ways, think beetroot hummus, red pepper hummus, avo hummus (the bomb), turmeric hummus, the list goes on! All you have to do is bung all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until your desired consistency, adding more olive oil, lemon juice or aquafaba for a smoother texture. We love good ol’ Jamie Oliver’s hummus recipe, which is a great base recipe for you to go off and create your own flavours. 

Nut Butters
Making the perfect nut butter is easier thank you think. With many shop-bought varieties often containing sugar, excessive amounts of salt and rainforest-destroying palm oil, you’d be wise to make your own, not only for the good of the planet but also your health. Deliciously Ella has an incredibly easy-to-follow peanut butter recipe on her website and shows what roasted and unroasted peanut butter looks like. Both are delicious!

Pesto
Pesto is one of those staples that can save you from a hunger meltdown when you’ve got no food in your fridge! In it’s simplest form, a simple pesto pasta recipe is always a winner but you can drizzle it on roasted sweet potatoes, dollop it on some salmon and even use it as a salad dressing. It can easily be made vegan by removing the parmesan and the flavours are so much more intense when it’s come straight from your blender rather than from a jar. Riverford’s pesto recipe is gorgeously flavourful and, again, ridiculously simple to make. 

Salad Dressings
Want an easy way to jazz up your salads this summer? Apart from the obvious addition of some creamy avocado chunks, knowing some tasty salad dressings can make all the difference when you want a speedy supper that doesn’t just taste like rabbit food! Our go-to recipe queen is Lisa from Downshiftology, again (we’re obsessed!) and she’s got a whole host of salad dressings recipes on her website that keep perfectly well in the fridge and don’t take an arm and a leg to prepare. We particularly love her citrus lime vinaigrette and her avocado dressing!

words by Molly Jennings

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