(Scroll down--selected ingredients are in alphabetical order.
For information on Gluten-Free grains, click here.)

Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is made from a cactus-like plant, and is one of the natural sweeteners used by many people who do not consume refined sugars. Agave nectar comes in "light" and "dark/amber." The light agave nectar is almost completely tasteless, and I've been told that the dark/amber nectar tastes similar to maple syrup (I've never personally used the dark nectar yet). It's about the same consistency as honey (a little thinner), and can be substituted tablespoon for tablespoon for honey. One-third cup of agave nectar can be substituted for 1 cup of white sugar. . The nectar is sweeter than sugar, so it takes less amounts for substitutions. In some recipes, you may have to change the amounts of liquid in the recipe if this substitution is made. 


Amaranth grain, like quinoa, has protein innately created into it, and is known as a "complete grain." According to the side of my package, amaranth "originated in South and Central America. It was a staple food of the Aztec empire and the preferred grain of Aztec royalty. Of all grains, Amaranth has the highest protein content and is a good source of calcium, fiber and iron." You can cook amaranth with water, similar to quinoa or rice; Amaranth flour is also very popular as a part of gluten free baking. When I first started looking for amaranth grain, I didn't even know what I was looking for...So in case that is you, I've added a close-up picture of the grains:
Here is a recipe that I've tried, using amaranth in a unique way.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are little, tiny seeds that can usually be found in those pull-down bins that you measure out by weight in many grocery or specialty food stores. They are usually black, but here are some that are lighter. They can be ground into chia seed meal with a coffee grinder.

Mixed with water, chia seed meal "gels" together, and (like flax seed meal) makes a good substitute for eggs in baking recipes. Some people like chia seeds even better than flax seeds, since they are tasteless and can easily blend into different types of recipes. For even more info on chia seeds, check out this webpage.

Coconut Palm Sugar
 Also known as simply "palm sugar," this natural sweetener can be substituted cup for cup in place of refined sugar within recipes. Coconut palm sugar is more grainy than refined white sugar, and has an earthy, tropical aroma.
Check out this post for tips on how to make powdered palm sugar.

Coconut Oil

This container of coconut oil is just plastic, but you can also find coconut oil in glass jars (usually organic). Coconut oil has the same consistency as shortening. It doesn't have much of a smell, but when used in recipes such as cookies or biscuits, it gives a slight coconut-y taste. Coconut oil is stored at room temperature, and is also a solid at room temp. Depending on your local climate, coconut oil may melt some in the jar during summer months. You can also melt coconut oil in the microwave, for example, if using as a substitute for butter or grapeseed oil in recipes.

Grapeseed Oil
 Grapeseed oil (which, exactly as its name implies, is extracted from grape seeds) is a good alternative in dairy-free baking and can easily be substituted for fats in a recipe such as melted coconut oil, vegetable oil or butter. I was pleasantly surprised to find this in my local Walmart (I live in a fairly small town), and was interested to try it out in my recipes.

Psyllium Husk Powder
Yes, you saw that right.
Psyllium husk powder is most often found in your run-of-the-mill fiber supplements, like Metamucil. Just check the ingredient list on the back. Psyllium husk powder can be used not only to add extra fiber, but in gluten free cooking it can help hold together baked goods, especially if you're wanting to avoid xanthan or guar gum.
Here is a recipe easy flour tortillas using psyllium husks. 

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)

Before going gluten free, I had never heard of quinoa. And until recently, I didn't know that quinoa can be prepared in different ways. Quinoa is an ancient grain, originally from South and Central America. One of the unique qualities of quinoa is that it has protein already in it, unlike most other grains, earning it the name of a "complete grain."

There is whole grain quinoa, which is very versatile, and similar to oatmeal (in sweet recipes) or rice (in savory recipes). It looks similar to amaranth grains. In sweeter recipes, you can add fruit and sweetener (like maple syrup or agave nectar) for a great morning treat. In more savory recipes, quinoa can be made into several kinds of salads or even soups. Here and here are some recipes that I made recently with whole grain quinoa.

Then there's quinoa flakes.
 Quinoa flakes, straight from the box, looks (to me, at least) like oatmeal:
You can also make your own quinoa flour (when a recipe calls for it) by putting your quinoa flakes in a blender. Here and here are some of the recipes I've tried with quinoa flakes.

Short for sunflower butter, Sunbutter is made of sunflower seeds, similar to nut butters like almond and peanut butter. It is ideal for people with nut allergies. However, sunflower butter has a very distinct taste, and may take some getting used to. My favorite ways to use sunbutter so far are with the chocolate sunbutter cups and rice crispies treats.