Upbeet Anisha's Top 10 Flavor-Bursting Ingredients to Transform Any Meal

Upbeet Anisha's Top 10 Flavor-Bursting Ingredients to Transform Any Meal

Anisha (@upbeetanisha) is a food blogger, college student, and wellness advocate, focusing on bold flavors and healthy eating in her blog, Upbeet Anisha. Her fond memories centered around food inspire her beautiful plant-based dishes and she strives to show others how to make healthy eating fun, affordable, and approachable.

She says, "Good food is defined by nourishing ingredients and delicious flavors, so let's go to flavor town! This list includes spices, sauces, and other ingredients that can often singlehandedly elevate the flavor profile of a dish. 

Whether you are a beginner in the kitchen or a professional chef, the ingredients here will satisfy you and unleash your desire to experiment with flavors. Several of them originate from a particular cuisine, but in our multicultural world, they all deserve a spot in your kitchen!"

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Anisha Chandra
Plant-Based Food Blogger
  • Cold Mountain
    Mellow White Miso

    Anisha Chandra

    When I say everything in the title, I really mean everything! It's easy to discover a new way to use miso practically every other day. While it is a fermented soybean paste traditionally used in Japanese cuisine, it's perfect for adding that salty umami flavor to just about anything. 

    And since it is fermented, it's a natural source of probiotics that helps keep our gut happy. Miso's texture is similar to nut butters and it can be used immediately out of the package, with or without cooking. 

    I add it to mushrooms, salad dressings, pasta dishes, soups, and even pesto! Something to keep in mind is that miso is salty, so you want to make sure not to add too many additional salty ingredients, like soy sauce, to what you are preparing.
  • MDH
    Chunky Chat Masala

    Anisha Chandra

    Indian food is all about the spices. Chaat masala is an ingredient you don't often see in Indian recipes because it is primarily used to make chaat, the famous Indian street snack. However, it has the ability to elevate even your typical everyday eats! 

    It's a flavor-bursting mixture of a bunch of interesting spices, such as dry mango powder, black salt, musk melon, cumin, mint, hing, pomegranate seeds, and much more. All that flavor is packed into a one small powdery mix in the drawer of your kitchen. 

    I use it most often on avocado toast, but it's also an incredible addition to salads, drinks, dips, and curries. You might have heard about seasoning your toast with Trader Joes' EBTB seasoning, but next time, consider giving chaat masala a try!
  • Primal Kitchen
    Organic & Unsweetened Classic BBQ Sauce

    Anisha Chandra

    I tend to prefer making my own sauces over purchasing them, but this BBQ sauce is a staple in my pantry! Any time you want to add that tangy, smoky flavor without doing the work to mix the spices together yourself, you can just add this BBQ sauce to the dish. 

    You can use it in quesadillas, gravies, pizzas, and cauliflower wings! As an added bonus: Primal Kitchen uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry, so you know you're not eating anything processed. It's easy, delicious, and healthy - a win-win in every way!
  • MDH
    Amchur Powder

    Anisha Chandra

    If chaat masala is on this list, its secret ingredient has to be, too. Amchur powder is dried mango powder and it's quite a genius concept! It is made by drying mangos in the sun and then transforming them into powder. As a result, you get an intense, tangy flavor that is perfect for adding complexity to curries, stews, and chutneys. 

    But like chaat masala, there is no need to feel limited by its traditional use. I often add amchur powder to the mix when roasting vegetables like sweet potatoes or cauliflower or when I want to substitute lemon or lime juice in a dish.
  • Rani Brand Authentic Indian Products
    Garam Masala

    Anisha Chandra

    Garam masala literally translates to "hot spices," which sounds about right. While it's not necessarily spicy when added on its own, it does help bring out the other spices you may have added to your dish. It is a must-have for making Indian-style curries, especially because it gives you an authentic flavor without having to add a laundry list of spices. 

    However, it is important to understand that there are many varieties of garam masala, especially in different regions. So if you're following a recipe that has garam masala, keep in mind that the quality of your garam masala may impact how your recipe turns out, so choose carefully!
  • Rani Brand Authentic Indian Products
    Chilli Powder (Mirchi)

    Anisha Chandra

    If you love spicy food as much as I do, you'll be dropping this red chili powder everywhere. I can't pinpoint what exactly my mom's red chili powder adds that cayenne doesn't, but it is a special ingredient to me. 

    I always crave a little kick of heat at every meal, so sometimes recipes I find online taste bland to me unless I add one-fourth to one-half a teaspoon of red chili powder. If you are new to spice, be careful with this ingredient and add a pinch or two to see how you like it!
  • Bragg
    Nutritional Yeast

    Anisha Chandra

    Nutritional yeast is often mistaken for a cheese substitute, but it is more than that. While it is often used in plant-based meals to add a savory cheesy flavor, what it really adds is an umami flavor that can elevate a dish in an instant. So feel free to add it to a mac and cheese recipe, but also feel free to use it even when you are not trying to replace a dish's cheesiness. 

    I like sauteing vegetables with it, using it in soups, and adding it as a seasoning in salads. Even though it's often advertised as an ingredient for vegans to use, everyone could benefit from both the taste and nutrient profile of this ingredient. 

    Nutritional yeast is a valuable source of minerals and vitamin B12, which is often low in a plant-based diet. It also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein! 

    You will be disappointed if you choose to view nutritional yeast as merely a cheese substitute because, besides slightly mimicking the flavor, it is not particularly similar to cheese. Instead, view it as an ingredient that can add to the comforting flavors of a dish while being good for you!
  • Big Tree Farms
    Coco Aminos Seasoning Sauce

    Anisha Chandra

    Soy sauce is often scrutinized for its high sodium content, so what do you do when you want an option that still tastes amazing but is lower in sodium? Say hello to coconut aminos. 

    Contrary to what you may assume, coco aminos does not taste like coconut. Instead, it is an umami-rich sauce made from the fermented sap of a coconut palm tree and sea salt. It has a slightly sweeter taste than soy sauce, but it is still a low-glycemic ingredient. 

    You can use coco aminos instead of soy sauce or tamari in just about any dish, but because coco aminos costs more than the others, I usually avoid using large quantities of it for one dish. Instead, I'll use a spoon of it here and there. My favorite way to use it is in noodles, fried rice, roasted or sauteed vegetables, and flavorful salad dressings.
  • Kirkland Signature
    Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

    Anisha Chandra

    You likely know about using peanut butter to make nostalgia-evoking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but the possibilities with peanut butter are truly endless. I love using it to make peanut butter baked tofu, a peanut dipping sauce or salad dressing, brownies, and even stews. 

    It adds a creamy, nutty texture, that lip-smacking flavor you either love or hate, and healthy fats to your dishes. When cooking with peanut butter, make sure to choose a brand that only uses a single obvious ingredient: peanuts. 

    While it may be easier to buy a peanut butter with hydrogenated oils and never have to stir it, it is definitely worth it to buy the minimally processed kind of peanut butter. 

    If you get annoyed by the oil separating from the peanut butter, I would recommend storing the jar upside down! This keeps the oil mixed together with the peanut butter, ensuring optimum creaminess at all times.
  • Soom Foods
    Pure Ground Sesame Tahini

    Anisha Chandra

    If you're allergic to peanuts, then this condiment is for you. If you aren't allergic to peanuts, this one is still for you! Tahini is often known to be a Central or Middle Eastern ingredient. It adds an earthy nutty flavor without actually containing any nuts! 

    Instead, it is a creamy paste made by grinding sesame seeds. Unlike nut butters, tahini has a slight bitter taste. Consume it plain with apples or on toast or combine it with other ingredients. 

    The most obvious use for tahini is homemade hummus, which is a staple for me, but besides that, you'll have a fun time discovering all you can do with it. Try using it to make chocolate chip cookies, a lemon-tahini salad dressing or veggie dip, or a smoothie.