When we go grocery shopping - which is something many of us have been doing more of lately - it's not often that we think of the more obscure, lesser-known foods that should be on the list. Around the world, there are plenty of foods that we don't give a second thought to despite the fact that they're good for us or are highly versatile. Even something as seemingly simple as a sauce or frozen food can do wonders to change a dish, which is something we could all use with all the cooking that's been going on at home.
For those who grow tired of writing the same grocery list week after week, there's some good news: Eat This, Not That has collected all of the most underrated foods so that you can add them to your list. Taking a chance on a new ingredient might just lead to something great, especially when it comes to mixing up dinner or even dessert.
Dulce de Leche
Speaking of dessert, dulce de leche is underrated for sure in terms of sweet treats. This South American specialty is wonderful on its own (we won't tell if you're eating it right off the spoon) but it's even better when warmed and drizzled over some ice cream. This caramel sauce is deeper and creamier than traditional caramel and goes well when topped on practically anything with a neutral flavor, from cakes to cookies and even yogurt, if you're looking to use it for breakfast.
Cauliflower has long been hailed as one of the most underrated and versatile vegetables. It also happens to be full of healthy vitamins and nutrients that often go unnoticed due to the sheer number of people who pass it by in the grocery store. Cauliflower rice is an easy substitute for actual rice but it also makes a great pizza crust or bed for meat or other vegetables. It's also fairly neutral in flavor which means it'll take on the profile of any condiment or spices that are added to it.
The lesser-known of the olive family, castelvetrano, are pricier than most. That doesn't mean they're not worth the price, though! These olives are unbelievably buttery and have a flavor that's mild with a slight saltiness, which is such a nice reprieve from the typical kalamata or Spanish olive. They're the perfect in-between for those who enjoy black olives but want something with a little more kick and a smoother texture, and they're perfect for snacking (or martinis).
A surprising staple, sauerkraut might not be as versatile as many other foods but its fermented nature and cabbage base make it super healthy. A bag or can of this should always be in the pantry ready for use on hot dogs, burgers, and even on sandwiches. Its flavor might be bold but even a little of this over chicken cutlet with a squeeze of lemon can be so transformative.
Traditionally, English muffins, as the name implies, are popular throughout the U.K. However, they've since become an American staple as well although they've lost a bit of popularity. It's time to bring them back simply due to the fact that their versatility allows them to be used for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - from pizza English muffins to cinnamon-raisin English muffins piled high with butter and jam.
Nori, as it's most commonly referred to, is packed with all of the minerals that many people don't often get in their meals. It's an ingredient that was popularized by its use in sushi but has since become a general snack, flavored with salt and eaten on its own. Nori-wrapped biscuits are also popular now which tempers the bold sea-like flavor of it, but it's delicious (and healthy) no matter which way you eat it.
Believe it or not, Brussel sprouts are experiencing a revival. This vegetable might get a bad reputation for its less than savory after-effects for some people, but it's really quite healthy in the same way that cabbage is. It's commonly used around Europe as a buttery, garlic-flavored side, and when pan-fried to a crisp golden brown, it's absolutely delicious.
The lychee berry is still somewhat elusive when it comes to grocery stores but, more often than not, it can be found canned. The flavor of this berry is sweet and tangy but also somewhat mild, with a bit of tropical flair. It's great when used in a fruit salad for a little exotic edge, or used in drinks or smoothies to reap its health benefits.