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Ingredients Guide

Not sure what kombu is or where to find it? What exactly is agar-agar, and how is it prepared? Our handy guide takes the mystery out of those unfamiliar ingredients and even tells you where to find them!

Agar-Agar: Sea vegetable that can be used in place of gelatin in many recipes. Available in flakes or bars in Asian markets and health food stores. (Check out our gelatin alternatives section for preparation and substitution tips.)

Agave Nectar: From the agave plant. Can be used as a replacement for honey. Available in natural food stores.

Arrowroot: Starch that can be used for thickening sauces. Use 1 Tbsp. to thicken 1 cup of liquid. Available in health food stores.

Blackstrap Molasses: Unrefined molasses with a stronger taste than regular molasses. Available in health food stores.

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos: Unfermented alternative to soy sauce that can be used to flavor tofu, stir-fries, soups, and pot pies. Available in health food stores.

Brown Rice Syrup: Made from malted brown rice. Can be used in place of sugar, honey, and other sweeteners. Available in health food stores.

Bulgur: Crushed wheat kernels that are typically used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Found in most grocery stores and health food stores.

Carob: Can be used as a replacement for chocolate in baking. Found in health food stores.

Carrageen: Seaweed that can be cooked as a side or used as a gelling agent. (Check out our gelatin alternatives section for preparation and substitution tips.)

Couscous: A nutty-flavored, quick-cooking grain that can be used in place of rice. Found in grocery stores.

Daikon: A large, white, Japanese radish. Found in specialty markets and Asian markets.

Demerara Sugar: Unrefined cane sugar. Available in most grocery stores and health food stores.

Edamame: A green soybean that can be steamed, sautéed, or tossed into soups. Available in Asian markets and most grocery stores.

Egg Replacer: Can be a powdered replacer, like the one made by Ener-G, or puréed tofu. (Check out our egg replacements section for more egg replacers.)

Florida Crystals: A brand of unprocessed sugar. Found in most grocery stores and health food stores.

Galangal: Also known as “Thai ginger.” Similar in taste and appearance to ginger. Found in Asian markets.

Garam Masala: Typically used in Indian food. A blend of cumin, black pepper, cloves, fennel, cardamom, dried chili, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and other spices. Found in the ethnic section of most grocery stores.

Herbs de Provence: A mixture of dried herbs from the southern region of France. Normally contains marjoram, savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender.

Hijiki: Dark-green sea vegetable that needs to be rinsed before cooking. Found in Asian markets and health food stores.

Kohlrabi: A root vegetable that is similar in taste to cauliflower. To prepare, boil until tender. Found in many grocery stores and Asian markets.

Kombu: Seaweed that is often used as a flavoring agent in soups, stews, and chilis and for braising tempeh. Found in Asian markets and health food stores.

Kudzu: A starchy powder that can be used to thicken sauces, gravies, and stews. Whisk with cold water until smooth to avoid clumping when adding to a recipe. Found in health food stores. (If you do not have kudzu, cornstarch and arrowroot can be used instead.)

Miso: Fermented soybean paste that comes in several varieties. The darker the paste, the stronger and saltier the flavor. Can be used to replace anchovies in Caesar dressing or in a marinade for tofu. Available in Asian markets and health food stores.

Nori: Thin black seaweed typically sold in sheets. Used as a wrapper for sushi. Found in health food stores, Asian markets, or the Asian section of grocery stores.

Nutritional Yeast: Nutty, cheese-like flavored powder. Cannot be replaced with brewer’s yeast or active yeast. Found in health food stores.

Pectin: A natural gelling agent found in fruits that can be used to thicken jams and jellies. Found in most grocery stores.

Quinoa: Pronounced “keen-wah.” A fast-cooking ancient grain that’s loaded with protein. Must be rinsed before cooking. Growing in popularity and can now be found in most grocery stores and in health food stores.

Seitan: Made from wheat gluten. A perfect substitute for meat in any dish. Found in health food stores and Asian markets. (Check out our meat substitutes section for preparation tips and a recipe for homemade seitan.)

Stevia: A naturally sweet herb with no calories. Much sweeter than sugar. Found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores or in health food stores.

Sucanat: A semi-refined cane sugar that tastes like brown sugar.

Tahini: Made from sesame seeds and also called “sesame butter.” Found in the ethnic foods aisle of most grocery stores.

Tamari: True soy sauce. Fermented from soybeans. The wheat-free version of shoyu, another soy sauce. Found in Asian markets and most grocery stores.

Tamarind: A fruity and sour pod from a tropical evergreen. Found in Latin, Asian, and Indian markets.

Tempeh: A cake of pressed soybeans. Found in most grocery stores and health food stores. (Check out our meat substitutes section for preparation tips and more information.)

Turbinado Sugar: Light brown raw sugar that has been partially refined and washed. Found in more grocery stores.

Umboshi: Tart Japanese plum that is dried and pickled. Found in health food stores and Asian markets.

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