On this page you will find over 100 of my absolute favorite products. We’ll start with my must-haves for the Simply Quinoa kitchen, then look at the ingredients that stock my gluten-free pantry shelves, the tools I find handy, the appliances I love, other goodies that I munch on and cookbooks that I can’t put down.I’m excited to share my healthy kitchen essentials with you and hope you find this resource valuable as you’re navigating your healthy lifestyle.
Choose the category you're interested in:
- My Top 10 Must-Haves
- Gluten-Free Pantry Basics
- Favorite Kitchen Tools
- Best Kitchen Appliances (big & small)
- Cookbooks I'm Coveting
My Top 10 Must-Haves
The most common color of quinoa, this is my go-to and one that I always have on hand. It goes well in all the recipes on this site
Red quinoa works wonders in fresh salads, stir fries and breakfast bowls. Don’t be surprised with the extra crunch, I’ve found that tends to just be the way red quinoa cooks.
Rainbow quinoa is a blend of white, red and black quinoa and it has the most sensational texture. It’s soft and fluffy, while still being crunchy!
When I want to cook pasta, I always choose quinoa spaghetti. It's easy to cook, tastes better than regular pasta, is never mushy.
I love this pasta and find that it not only holds up well against a heavy sauce, but you can also use it for pasta salads or even add it to a skillet and toss it with fresh veggies and a vegan alfredo sauce.
Quinoa flakes are hands down one of my favorite gluten-free ingredients. I not only use them in baking (like pizza, english muffins, pancakes, etc.), but I also use them for a super fast breakfast cereal.
My obsession with chocolate got a whole long stronger when I discovered that Alter Eco was brilliantly adding quinoa to their dark chocolate bars. You’ll always find a bar or two stashed away in my freezer.
I store all my quinoa products in these jars and love how organized my pantry looks. I also love that they’re glass and not plastic (better for us!) and clear so I know exactly what I’m grabbing.
Gluten-Free Pantry Basics
Brown rice flour is one of the more common whole-grain gluten-free flours you will find. It's relatively inexpensive, has a mild flavor and is a great addition to your homemade blends.
This is a standby in my pantry. I love sorghum flour for it's soft texture, mild flavor, and faint hint of sweetness. It goes well with both sweet and savory, and I almost always include it in my blends.
This flour has revolutionized my gluten-free baking. It takes some getting used to and experimenting, but I absolutely love it. It adds healthy fats and protein to my baked goods, makes them fluffy and soft, and simply tastes wonderful. As a note, blanched almond flour is different from almond meal – it's much finer and does not behave the same way when baking.
More often than not, when you're baking with gluten-free flours, you're going to want to add a starch. The starch not only helps to bind the ingredients slightly, but also provides a lighter, less dense baked good. I prefer to use tapioca but other starches work as well.
An alternative starch, potato starch (not potato flour!), serves the similar purpose but acts just a little differently. Potato starch has a stronger structure, which I find works better recipes that rely on structure like my high-protein quinoa bread.
Millet flour is another flour that I always keep on hand. I love the texture, I love the flavor and I have found that it truly works in almost all applications. Some people are allergic to millet, which in turn I suggest swapping for sorghum instead.
This is not a flour that I use often, but it's part of my high-protein quinoa bread recipe so I always have it on hand. While it does have a very strong bean flavor, garbanzo bean flour is high in protein so it helps provide structure to things like bread.
What would my pantry be without some chocolate? When choosing a cocoa powder, I like to go the raw route because I find it has the best flavor. While it's a bit more expensive, it also contains more nutrients and antioxidants so I feel less guilty using it all the time! (purchase through this link to receive 15% off)
Polenta is one of those meals that you can throw together rather quickly, that you can have a lot of fun with, and will still fill you up. Make sure to choose a gluten-free version (if you have an allergy / sensitivity) as there is often risks of cross contamination in most products.
I recommend Pamela's flour when you don't feel like mixing a bunch of different flours together and you just need something quick. I've used it in tons of different applications and have always really liked the finished product.
Pamela's baking mix is also a great choice to keep on hand. Whether a craving for pancakes hit or you want to make a quick batch of cookies, Pamela's is a great choice.
If you're looking for a flour that's higher in protein and works well in savory applications, I recommend Bob's Red Mill. The main flour is garbanzo bean flour, so don't be surprised if your baked good has a mild bean flavor.
When you're baking with gluten-free flours there's one major part missing; the gluten! Binding agents like guar gum help act as gluten normally would and helps keep your baked goods from falling apart. Guar gum is plant-based and corn-free so it's a great option all around.
Another binding agent is xanthan gum. It acts similar to guar gum, but is actually made from corn. If you're sensitive to corn, you should skip this.
The third binding agent that I recommend trying are psyllium husks which are high in fiber and gel with water. They take a little getting used to baking with (your liquid measurements will be different because of how much they soak up), but they're easier on your digestive system and most people end up liking the end result more.
When you don't feel like having quinoa – which I'm sure isn't very often 😉 – I like brown rice as an option because it's also high in whole-grain nutrients.
A good bottle of olive oil can make a huge difference in the flavor of your food. Opt for ones that are marked as extra virgin and cold-pressed, and if you can splurge, go for organic. Tip: buying in large quantities can usually save you money.
Just like olive oil, I always make sure to have a high-quality balsamic vinegar in my pantry. Whether I'm whisking up homemade salad dressing or making a balsamic reduction, I richer the flavor, the yummier the dish.
Tomatoes are a staple in my diet (it's probably the Italian part of me shining through). I usually have at least four cans so I can make a quick sauce whenever I need to or can toss them into a quinoa stew. Go for organic and look for BPA free cans whenever possible!
Did you know that soaking beans is super, super easy and actually saves you a ton of money? Plus when you soak them you can get some of the enzymes out that upset stomachs. Choose a variety and find what you like most. My faves: garbanzo, kidney, white beans and lentils.
Any well stocked pantry needs to have good spices. I like the variety that you can choose on Amazon, but if you have a local health food store and can purchase spices in bulk, that's definitely the way to go!
Favorite Kitchen Tools
If there's one tool I think everything healthy kitchen should have, it's a spirazlier. I use mine almost every day and love how I can quickly and easily transform more indulgent and carb-heavy dishes into light, healthy and low-calorie meals.
Kitchen shears not only come in handy when you need to open something (like a bag of quinoa or frozen berries), but you can also use them to cut ingredients like herbs, veggies and meat. If cutting meat, make sure you wash them thoroughly!
Hands down this is one of the best investments you can make for your kitchen. Have high-quality knives is a game changer. I've linked to the brand that I love using, but I suggest you go for what feels best in your hands. Global knives have a more delicate handle which make them great for women's hands (which tend to be smaller).
You can do so much with cast iron skillets. From roasting chicken, to cooking veggies to making pizza and even chocolate chip cookies, a cast iron skillet is a must-have.
I love having fresh salads with my dinner and since I often buy my greens from a large bin, I always run them in a salad spinner first. Getting any grit off makes a world of difference; no one likes biting into dirty salad.
Sieves have lots of purposes in my kitchen. I use them to sift flour, rinse canned beans, drain pasta. Many folks who love quinoa also use sieves to wash and rinse their quinoa before cooking.
For the longest time I purchased my almond milk from the store. It wasn't until just recently that I realized making it at home is not only cheaper, but it tastes so much better. Having a high quality nut milk bag is key as they're less like to tear when you're straining out pulp.
Like knives, a set of high-quality pans can do wonders for you cooking. I like All-Clad personally, because I can rely on their consistent temperatures and love that you can throw them in the oven to finish things off. They're stainless steel and oven-safe too!
In gluten-free baking whisk because especially handing since you're using a bunch of different flours, it's important to make sure they're mixed properly. And that's where the whisk comes in. I use mine all the time and love it!
My gluten-free english muffin recipe is one of the more popular recipes on the site, and they just wouldn't be the same without these english muffin rings. It helps the muffins keep their shape resulting in the perfect vessel for your breakfast or sandwich!
I've recently discovered fish spatulas and have to same I'm totally hooked. They're thinner than regular spatulas and have a longer surface area making them excellent for fish fillets, but also for delicate burgers, veggies and other items you might be needing to flip over (pancakes, anyone!?).
Any baker (at least any baker that I know) needs to have measuring cups and spoons. Baking is a science and if you're only slightly off then it can mess up a recipe entirely. I like going the stainless steel route because they're durable, easy to clean and will never tarnish or rust.
A stack of sturdy, glass measuring bowls are a must-have. I like this set because they are stackable and fit neatly in my cabinet.
Muffins are one of my favorite things to bake, and having a high-quality muffin tins helps get those perfect muffins I so desperately want to make every time. I love USA Pan because you can feel how well they're made.
Recently I discovered that the type of bread pan you bake in really does make a difference. I choose this one specifically because it has high sides which helps to give your gluten-free more structure and support during the rising and baking process.
I use large plastic storage bins like this to store my gluten-free flours. As I mentioned earlier, I always try to buy in bulk, and a large container like this makes the flour easily accessible and my pantry stays organized!
Personally, I like wood cutting boards although I'm sure some of you prefer plastic. I have a few handmade ones from Vermont that are my favorite, but these are also a great (and cheaper) option.
A mixed variety of wooden spoons like this gives you the most amount of flexibility in your kitchen. I have this exact set and use each of the spoons for a variety of things.
Since I'm a baker, I need to have spatulas. I like have a few different sizes, but the mini ones come especially in handy when you're trying to scoop out the remaining almond butter from the bottom of the jar!
I adore making homemade ice cream, and since I'm a food blogger, I always like to have the perfect scoop. This ice cream scoop is awesome; it's sturdy, easy to use and makes perfect cookies as well!
Just like with the other pans in this list, high-quality, stainless steel baking sheets are a must. I use them all the time for baking cookies, keep pancakes warm, roasting veggies and even toasting my own quinoa flour.
Since cookies are one of my favorite things to bake, I use my wire cooling racks quite a lot. But aside from just cookies, I also use them to cool off homemade tortillas, crepes, muffins, etc.!
Adding the zest of an into a dish can take it from good to fabulous. Citrus is the obvious choice here, but I also use my zester to grate pecorino cheese, garlic for salad dressings and ginger.
While I know that most of a vegetable or fruit's nutrients are in the skin, sometimes you just want to peel it (like when making apple pie). Having a good vegetable peeler will make this job one heck of a lot easier on your hands and wrists!
Appliances (big & small)
For the longest time I didn't think having a high-powered blender was necessary. Until I actually got one. My Blendtec has been the best kitchen investment I've made. It not only makes luscious, creamy smoothies, but I use it to make dressings, sauces, soups, ice cream and even grind my own flour. It's an amazing appliance and I couldn't recommend it more highly!
Next in line is a food processor. I actually have a hand-me-down Cuisinart from my Mom; it's over 20 years old and still works! She has since upgraded, and I have to say her Cuisinart food processor is amazing. I use it to make homemade nut/seed butters, energy bites, veggie burgers, pumpkin pie and more!
Having a stand mixer has really changed my gluten-free baking. Similar to gluten doughs, gluten-free doughs need time to hydrate properly, and a stand mixer definitely saves you from an intense arm workout! I also love that you can have attachments for the KitchenAid mixers. That's what I use for my ice cream maker and love it!
The Breville Elite Juice Fountain is a great addition to any healthy kitchen. Fresh juices have become an integral part of my diet. They give me energy, nourishment and help my body feel rejuvenated and refreshed. I love the juicer I have and use it almost every day!
When you don't feel like cooking, don't have a ton of time, or are really craving a meal with a ton of flavor, crockpots are totally the way to go. I love making my vegetarian quinoa chili and homemade spaghetti sauce in mine!
A toaster oven is one of the most versatile kitchen appliances. Not only can you toast slices of gluten-free bread, but you can also use them to reheat leftovers, make tasty tuna melts, or even bake in them! I've also discovered I don't need a microwave because I have a toaster oven.
An electric waffle iron is a given in my house. We've been having waffles every weekend since I was a little girl and as soon as I had my own kitchen to furnish, a waffle iron was one of my first purchased. This is the same one I have and I love it!
Electric mixers are one of those less expensive products that you don't realize how often you really use them! I use mine to make cookies, whip egg whites, my gluten-free english muffins and so much more!
I absolutely adore being able to make my own ice cream at home. Since I'm dairy-free, ice cream is not only super expensive, it's also usually loaded with extra additives and unhealthy ingredients. Making it at home couldn't be easier and I have to say is much tastier too.
Dehydrators are great for making healthy snacks. I love making apple rings, raw granola, energy bites, crackers ,etc. While it does take time to dehydrate food, it helps the ingredients retain their nutrients which makes them much better for you.
I like to grind my own spices, flours and meals, and I always make them using my spice grinder. I picked one up online that was very inexpensive and it's worked great for me!
This is sort of a luxury item and not totally necessary, but if you're a latte lover like me, you'll absolutely fall in love with this frother. I make green tea lattes, chai lattes and even espresso lattes for Matt.
Quesadillas are a quick, easy and totally delicious meal. Even if you don't eat cheese, plain veggie quesadillas are just as tasty. You don't necessarily need a quesadilla maker, but we use ours quite frequently, especially since Matt would eat one every day if he could!
If you can't afford a high-powered blender right now, I highly recommend you pick up an immersion blender. You can make wonderfully smooth sauces, soups and dressings. They're much less expensive and still get the job done.
Other Goodies I Love
Full-fat coconut milk is one of those ingredients that's incredibly versatile. I use it to make yogurt, dairy-free whipped cream, mousse, ice cream and so much more. It's rich, thick and tastes divine.
Now my go-to oil for pretty much everything, coconut oil is amazing. It has a subtle coconut flavor that doesn't over power other ingredients. I love to use it in baking, but also for cooking and even on my skin. It has tons of health benefits!
Coconut butter is made from the flesh of coconuts. It's thick and is great slathered on toast for breakfast, or mixed with hot cereal. You can also use coconut butter to make white chocolate!
I enjoy using natural sweeteners in my cooking and baking and since discovering coconut sugar, I've completely fallen in love. It's low-glycemic, but granulated so it can be used as a 1:1 substitute with other sugars.
Honey is another one of my favorite sweeteners. I opt for raw honey, but if you can't get your hands on that, try to go local. Honey that hasn't been too overly processed actually contains health benefits; so you definitely don't have to feel guilty about eating that honey-sweetened treat!
Growing up in Vermont, I'm clearly partial to pure Vermont maple syrup. Out of any sweetener, it is by far my favorite. It has a deep, rich flavor that goes well with pretty much everything: ice cream, cookies, granola, quick breads and of course pancakes and waffles.
Chia seeds are loaded with omega fats, protein, antioxidants and dietary fiber. They're incredible gelatinous so they can also be used as a substitute for eggs in vegan baking. I like to add chia seeds to my green smoothies for added protein and a super creamy texture. (use this link to receive 15% off your order!)
Flaxseeds are another nutrient-rich seed that can be used for many different things. You can grind them into a powder and use them as a substitute for eggs, you can use them as part of your flour blend in baking and can also add them to your smoothies for added protein.
While more expensive, raw nuts are definitely the way to go. They have far fewer chemicals, have retained all of their nutritional value and you can use them to make nut milks! I always have raw almonds and cashews on hand, both for snacking and for making dreaming dairy-free milks, dressing and dips.
Since I'm a big smoothie drinker and often have one to replace one or two of my meals per day, I like to have raw, vegan protein powder on hand to give my body a little extra nutrition. I love Vega, but also have tried Sun Warrior and Perfect Fit which are also very good.
Kind Bars are my go-to snack when I'm traveling. They're pretty much everywhere, but I make sure to always keep one in my purse for emergencies. They're made with healthy ingredients, almost all are gluten-free, and many are dairy-free as well.
I'm not a big fan of packaged gluten-free granola, but Purely Elizabeth is definitely an exception. They use the same ingredients I would use at home (like coconut sugar, coconut oil and honey) and it tastes amazing. My favorite flavor is their pumpkin fig…yum!.
Cookbooks I'm Coveting
If you're new to quinoa, this is a nice intro book. The recipes are easy to prepare, creative and for the most part healthy. They are not all gluten-free, but the authors have indicated which ones are.
By the same authors of Quinoa 365, Quinoa Revolution is another cookbook full of yummy quinoa recipes.
I love Shauna and Danny Ahern and their book is one of my favorite gluten-free cookbooks on the market. The recipes are all amazing, the photos are stunning and her writing is just as good as ever.
You wouldn't believe what Ricki was able to create without using eggs, dairy, gluten or sugar. Her desserts are stunning, her recipes are delicious and her spirit shines through the pages. I'm especially fond of her use of natural, wholesome ingredients!
This is hands down one of the best (if not the best) vegan cookbooks on the market. Angela is so creative in her use of ingredients, but her recipes are really accessible and simple to prepare. Even Matt, who is a vegan food hater, has loved what I've made from this book.
The Blender Girl by Tess Masters is a must-own for anyone who has a love affair with their blender (like me!). She really shows you the amazing meals you can make using your blender and pushes you to be creative and imaginative in the kitchen. Of course her smoothies are amazing, but there are so many other wonderful recipes in this book too!
Just as the title indicates, each recipe in this book is filled with nutrients and is designed to help you nourish your family with delicious food. There are so many recipes in this book it's almost overwhelming until you start reading through them and realize how special each one is.
I'm a big fan of the farm-to-table concept and The Nourished Kitchen is the first cookbook I've owned that is focused on that. There are 160 recipes and the entire book emphasizes whole grains, raw dairy, grass-fed meats and fermented foods.
How can you not love a cookbook called, “Super Healthy Cookies”? I mean that's everyone's dream, right? What I love about Hallie's book is that she has been able to recreate traditional recipes and put a completely healthy spin on them. Definitely no guilt when you bite into one of these babies!
Sugar addiction is a real thing. The traditional American diet is loaded with sugar and it's making us sick. This book not only describes the negative side effects of sugar, but also lays out a plan for helping you break the habit and live a healthy, more balanced life.
Kris Carr is a cancer thriver who has turned her passion for healthy, vegan living into an empire. This book is a great introduction to veganism and even includes a 21-day vegan challenge at the end.
Mark Bittman really will teach you how to cook everything in this book. Like seriously, everything. And many of the lessons also have diagrams which helps you see exactly how it should be done. The recipes are delicious and I love that he offers variations for many of them so you can cook what you're in the mood for without making many tweaks to the actual recipe.