Open Forum: What’s your Favorite New Food Discovery of 2011?

Hulled Hemp Seeds

I hope you have been having a wonderful holiday season!  Before we turn the page on 2011, I thought it might be fun to ask a quick question.

Last year, my new favorite food was nutritional yeast. Although it’s easily dismissed as “hippie health food,” this stuff is definitely worthy of consideration, if only for its great taste.  I love the versatile, cheesy-nutty flavor (especially sprinkled on popcorn!), and it adds a savory Umami flavor to soups and other dishes. Oh yeah, and there are all those B vitamins it delivers (Vegans: It’s a good idea to choose a brand that is fortified with B-12).  So when I finally tried it last year, it quickly became my favorite new food.

This year, my discovery is hulled hemp seeds. Like nutritional yeast, they’re both healthy and delicious (swoon!). Hemp seeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, a “complete” protein source, and very high in several other vitamins and minerals.  I’ve been sprinkling them on my morning oatmeal, on top of a bowl of greek yogurt, or just blending them into a smoothie.  I think they taste like sunflower seeds — but with less of a crunch. Yum!

What’s your new favorite food discovery of 2011?  Let us know in the comments!

(RSS and email readers, click through to share your discovery).

Photo by Evelyn Parham.

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42 Responses to Open Forum: What’s your Favorite New Food Discovery of 2011?

  1. Jane December 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    This year I learned to use lots of old favorites in new ways. One of the more delicious discoveries was how to substitute maple syrup for refined sugar in all my baking.

  2. Gretchen@HealthfulMama December 28, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    This is a hard one! All I can think of is cardamom. Not a food, per se, but it has enlivened so many of my ho-hum daily dishes, like oatmeal.

    Ditto for coconut oil. I eat it by the spoonful sometimes… 😉

    • leroi_de_larue December 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

      I totally agree! Cardomom is my new discovery as well. I’ve been making a really warming tea with cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon that I’m practically addicted to. And you’re right, it does make oatmeal taste better! And a bonus that I recently discovered– if you accidentally leave a bag of it in your purse, your purse smells wonderful for a really long time 🙂

      • leroi_de_larue December 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

        …oops, I spelled cardamom wrong

  3. Angela December 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    Oh my gosh, mine is also hulled hemp seeds. Love, love, love them! And, they do amazing things for your skin and nails…

    A second thing is pumpkin seed protein powder. It’s really pretty good!

  4. Clara December 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    For me it was quinoa. And now that I know how to cook it right it is even better!

  5. NMPatricia December 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Probably a whole less exotic, but I discovered endamame and figs. Yum.

  6. Lauren A. @ Newest Obsession December 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    I’d have to say my new favorite discovery is garbanzo bean flour! It is gluten free, high in protein and I actually enjoy the flavor and texture.

  7. Mary Platis December 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    O.K. As you know I’m Greek, but my recent discovery was “Organic Phyllo” by Filo Factory which is big for me! But, I’m still waiting for them to deliver, gluten free phyllo.

    • Kristin Overton January 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      I would be in heaven if they were to come out with gluten free phyllo. Hope they’re reading this!

  8. Casey@Good. Food. Stories. December 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    It’s not a single-ingredient food, but baking my own bread every week has been so satisfying. Even better, I’ve successfully shifted my white bread-loving husband over to a multigrain loaf!

  9. Julie December 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Lacto-fermented foods, like KimChi and sauerkraut. Probiotics, baby!

  10. Chris December 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Cha cha cha chia seeds! You can make a sugar free pudding using just chia seeds, plain coconut milk,unsweetened coconut flakes, and plain cocoa. It is delish and nutritious. Also all alternative ‘grain’ flours such buckwheat,millet, coconut, almond,amaranth and quiona. Thank you for assisting me onto a completely whole foods lifestyle. Happy new year and new recipes to you!

  11. Anne December 27, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    WOW – going to a clean whole foods diet has been amazing!!!
    I have discovered to really love and enjoy food again!
    My favorite discovery’s would be unrefined oils, chia seeds, exotic rices and best of all I have discovered I can live quite contently without all the sugar and processed foods!

  12. jolene December 27, 2011 at 11:36 am #


    Thanks to Danielle, I now need to find out more about “holy crap” cereal 🙂

  13. Danielle December 27, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    I turned over a new leaf this year and consequently discovered a lot of new fooods that I love. The ones that stick out to me that I’ve embraced this year are:


    -hemp seeds (particularly when mixed with “Holy Crap” cereal)

    -brown rice pasta

    -nooch (nutritional yeast).

    I’ve also been testing out protein powders to decide which I like best in my morning smoothies, but I’m still on the hunt for a perfect one! I can’t wait to see what other people say so I can add some new things to my to-try list for 2012. 🙂

    • Carol (CGtheFoodie) December 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm #


      I love using Garden of Life RAW protein powder. It’s unsweetened and unflavored. GF and vegan. Definitely needs other things with it to flavor it but I use it in smoothies.

  14. Jacqueline Gonzales December 27, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Steel cut oats. I know they aren’t new, but I finally got the courage to try them. While the chewiness bothered me at first, I’ve grown to love it. Right now I’m trying to find a good way to cook and freeze them, so I can have them in the mornings when things are super busy and I’m not awake yet.

    • Theresa W. December 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      Jacqueline, to cook steel cut oats quickly in the morning, try cooking a big batch ahead of time then freezing them in ice cubes trays. Keep them i the freezer and pop a couple of ‘cubes’ in the microwave or cookpot every morning. Worked for me.

      • Colette January 12, 2012 at 10:22 am #

        Great idea freezing them. I usually freeze mine in a standard 12 muffin tin for 1/2 cup servings.

    • Irene February 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

      I set mine up the night before in a mini slow cooker plugged into a timer. It starts cooking at 4:30am and by 7am it’s ready.

  15. Carol (CGtheFoodie) December 27, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    I have so many foods I rediscovered this year or found new uses for. Finding new uses for nuts and tofu and flax meal would have to be my big ones this year!

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