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10 Versatile Foods with Limitless Possibilities

Macaroni belongs with cheese and onions can be overpowering, but what about the foods that work no matter what you make them with? Versatile foods can be used as a blank canvas for infinite recipes. Read on for a list of the ‘chameleons’ of the produce aisle and some delicious ways you can use them.


1. Mushrooms


Mushrooms are the fungi everyone wants at the party. They go well reduced in wine, as a vessel for stuffing, pickled and even raw in salads.


Stuffed Mushroom Caps



Vietnamese Beef and Mushroom Pho



2. Potatoes


The cornerstone of most Western cuisines, potatoes work in soups, salads and sides and can be baked, boiled, fried, mashed, roasted and even microwaved. They can become fries, home fries, hash browns, chips, skins, latkes, tater tots and even pasta like gnocchi.


Mexican Sausage, Poblano Peppers & Potato Tacos



Old Fashioned Potato Salad


old fashioned potato salad


3. Peppers


Raw or cooked, green or red, peppers bring a lot to the table. They can be used as garnish, in stir fry, leafy salads and even for dips, sauces and salsa.


Italian Stuffed Peppers



Mini Grilled Chicken and Red Pepper Skewers



4. Cabbage


The essential ingredient for coleslaw, raw cabbage adds a crunch to just about anything. But it can also be cooked, braised or boiled and takes on the flavor of the spices and dressings you pair it with.


Citrus Peanut Slaw


Citrus peanut slaw


Shrimp Po’Boy



5. Eggplant


Primarily because of its porous texture, eggplant absorbs other flavors while maintaining a full and juicy taste all its own. It can be roasted, fried, grilled or baked in cuisines ranging from Italian to Asian.


Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms



6. Tofu


Soy-based tofu is notoriously bland on its own, but this makes it the perfect sponge for any flavor you cook it with. It is a great protein source or meat replacement and tastes good baked, fried, grilled, crumbled or scrambled. Just make sure you press it before cooking to release excess water.


Shrimp Pad Thai



7. Carrots


Raw or cooked, big or small, carrots can be used for almost anything – including desserts.


Asian Soba Noodle Salad



Caramel Carrot Cupcakes



8. Cauliflower


Cauliflower goes great ground into soup, roasted and served raw with dip. But this versatile vegetable can also replace less healthy foods in meals like cauli-fried “rice,” cauliflower crusted pizza and vegetarian “buffalo wings.”


Cauliflower Mash


how to make cauliflower mash


Cauliflower Leek Soup



9. Banana


Bananas have arguably the least flavor of any fruit. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked, mashed or sliced, in the healthiest smoothies and the sweetest desserts.


Banana Pecan French Toast



Banana Caramel Cream Pudding Cups


banana caramel cream pudding cups recipe


10. Spinach


You may think of raw spinach as the perfect base for a fresh salad. Or maybe you prefer sautéing some up and serving it with eggs in the morning or in a main meat or pasta dish at night. No matter what you decide, everyone can agree that spinach packs a ton of nutrients without being overbearing in flavor.


Spinach Brown Rice Beet Salad



Loaded Mac and Cheese With Spinach


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