Making delicious Slow Carb meals is all about the spices and preparation. If you’re new to cooking, I’d suggest starting with my basics list below and experimenting a bit until you get your bearings.
You can then start to peruse my complete list of spices and sauces as you feel more comfortable in wanting to invest in your growing pantry. This is where things start to get fun and interesting!
Kitchen Basics – For those new to cooking, these are the basic spices, oils and condiment I’d advise having stocked in your kitchen at all times.
Veggie Salt – I add Veggie Salt to soups, stews or lentils to add depth of flavor when I don’t have any stock or broth on hand. I believe there are some equivalent products in the US.
Whole Peppercorns- Any will do, just pop them in a grinder. Fresh pepper has so much more flavor than pre-ground.
All Purpose Spice Blend – When I don’t have time to think about seasoning, there’s nothing easier than coating some chicken or meat in a pre-blended everyday seasoning and serving it up with some veggies – not the most gourmet meal, but it serves its purpose (quick and easy!) and still tastes great.
Italian Herb Blend – Pre-blended Italian herbs are great for seasoning chicken, soups, stews, Bolognese sauce, etc. I buy this blend from Penzey’s because their spices are very high quality, but any blend will do so long as it doesn’t have any added fillers.
Dried Chilli Flakes – Sprinkle chilli on just about anything to add a bit of kick. I usually buy in bulk and put the chilli into a grinder with some sea salt to make a chilli salt blend and because I like my dried chilli a bit finer than the whole flakes. You can also make your own custom blends with peppercorns and other spices by putting them directly into a grinder or shaker. You can get something fancy and make it a staple on your table or just re-use spice grinders that you’ve emptied and washed out.
Oils, Sauces and Condiments
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – EVOO is full of great health benefits and will serve most of your cooking needs. Definitely invest in a high-quality EVOO ( it does make a difference in terms of flavor!) and make sure it’s the Extra Virgin variety as the others don’t offer the same health benefits.
Macadamia Nut Oil – EVOO has long been my go-to oil for cooking and salad dressings. That was until I read The Four Hour Body and learned that Macadamia Nut Oil has more monounsaturated fat (the good kind!) than Olive Oil (81% compared to 77% in Olive Oil.) It also has a higher smoke point which means it shouldn’t go rancid when you cook it (as Olive Oil often does.) Learn all about the other amazing health benefits of macadamia nut oil here.
Ghee – Ghee is basically clarified butter. It’s often used in Indian food, but it’d ideal for the Slow Carb Diet because there’s no lactose. It also tastes great when you use it to cook your eggs. Ghee also has a high smoke point and many other health benefits. If you can’t find ghee locally, it is available online here.
Hot Sauce – I know everyone has their favorite hot sauce to put on eggs or use in guacamole. If you’re serious about Slow Carbing you may have to consider changing yours because most have added sugar. I nearly cried when I discovered that Sriracha has sugar. So does Tobasco, but I took that news much better. My hot sauce of choice is Frank’s Ret Hot. It’s a cayenne pepper based sauce so it’s good for your circulation, and helps speed up your metabolism. It should be available at your local store (I know it’s available at Safeway in California.) It’s not widely available in Australia, but I was able to buy an entire gallon at a specialty store for American products. I think I paid triple the amount shown here on Amazon, but it’s lasted about a year and made many many batches of buffalo wings. Do you have a favorite hot sauce? Please share!
Tamari – Tamari is a wheat-free soy sauce. While using soy sauce probably won’t stall your progress while Slow Carbing, this is a wheat-free alternative, and it actually tastes pretty good – like a very strong soy sauce. Tamari is also said to aid digestion and is full of antioxidants and other health benefits.
Garlic Paste– I always have fresh garlic on hand because I seem to use it daily in something, but when I’m in rush, I’ll reach for a jar of pre-chopped garlic. The flavor isn’t as good, but it’s certainly handy for those times when you just want dinner done NOW or you run out of garlic. We all know there are tons of benefits to eating garlic, but did you know you can increase those benefits just from letting it sit at room temperature after you’ve chopped it?
Ginger Paste – Again, I try to always have fresh ginger on hand, but sometimes I just can’t be bothered. If you’re someone who likes to cook Asian dishes, I’d consider this an essential. Ginger is great for digestion and has a host of other benefits as well, including anti-cancer properties.
Canned Tomatoes – I always have several cans on hand to make a chilli or a curry.
Canned Beans and Lentils – I consider these “emergency food”. It takes just minutes to drain a can of lentils and heat it up with a bit of garlic and spices. I’ve had a few people ask where they can find canned lentils in their area. If they aren’t available at your grocery store, look at a health food store or pre-cooked lentils are available bagged in the refrigerated sections of Trader Joe’s. For those who still cannot fine them, you can buy them online in cases of 12 here.
Dried Beans and Lentils – I prefer using dried beans and lentils. They are cheaper and aren’t packed in a sodium laden solution. They do require more time and preparation than canned so I’ll normally keep them on hand and cook a large batch over the weekend.
Packaged Daal – I love cooking Indian so I normally do lentils or daal from scratch, but sometimes there just isn’t time. If you can find pre-packed daal that doesn’t contain sugar or additives, these are nice to keep on hand for quick meals. They normally require 2-3 minutes of cooking in the microwave, and then you can serve them with some chicken and spinach. Fast, easy Slow Carb cooking.
Canned Tuna – I try not to eat too much canned tuna because of the mercury, but I keep 1 or 2 cans in the pantry for emergency situations. I toss a can with some frozen or fresh vegetables, white beans, some spices and a bit of olive oil for a speedy lunch or dinner.