The Flavorful Pantry Ingredients Gina Homolka Always Has On Hand - Exclusive

Gina Homolka has made a name for herself, proving that healthy food does not have to be devoid of flavor. While many other chefs and healthy food experts shy away from store-bought ingredients, Homolka embraces them as useful tools for healthy cooking. Her new book "Skinnytaste Simple: Easy, Healthy Recipies with 7 Ingredients or Fewer" emphasizes that using store-bought pantry items is nothing to be ashamed of. We spoke to Homolka in an exclusive interview where she told us her favorite items and how to pick them. 

When picking products, though, be mindful. "I also look at the ingredients because I want to make sure that everything's not processed," she explains. "Ingredients are really important so that everything is nutritious." Do not just buy the first item you see on the shelf. Look for ones without additives, sugars, and fillers.

Using these pantry ingredients can add a quick boost to a dish. Homolka says the key is "you want to use really great condiments like Harissa." Harissa is a simple pepper paste loaded with flavor. She also suggests finding "a really good barbecue sauce." 

Additionally she says, "I have used a really good quality marinara when you're in a pinch."

Other pantry staples

Sauces are great for adding flavor, but there are some other simple pantry ingredients Homolka always has on hand, like delallo olives. In addition, healthy supplements such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds, which she uses "every day for my breakfast. I throw it in a salad. They're loaded with omega threes, they're full of fiber, and a little goes a long way. You don't need a lot." An additional daily food for Homolka is avocados. "I probably eat an avocado a day, somehow, whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner," says the author of Skinnytaste.

Finally, Homolka knows some foods have gotten a bad reputation in the past, but once again, by looking at ingredients and buying quality products, another healthy item can add a real boost to a meal. "Cottage cheese has gotten so much better these days. There is the Good Culture brand that is delicious, and it tastes like the inside of burrata. I don't know if you've tried Good Culture, even the full-fat one." Good Culture makes cottage cheese with milk, cream, salt, and cultures — nothing else. This makes a rich and creamy cottage cheese that tastes amazing and can really add a rich element to any dish, while also adding a generous hit of protein.

Skinnytaste Simple: Easy, Healthy Recipies with 7 Ingredients or Fewer" is on sale now.