30 wonder ingredients that will change your meals this year

Fancy trying something new this year? Want to jazz up some of your favourite recipes? We've rounded up 30 wonder ingredients that are sure to change your meal this year including harrisa paste, Marmite and tapenade.

Edamame beans

Fancy trying something new this year? Want to jazz up some of your favourite recipes? We've rounded up 30 wonder ingredients that are sure to change your meal this year including harrisa paste, Marmite and tapenade.

Fancy trying something new this year? Want to jazz up some of your favourite recipes? We've rounded up 30 wonder ingredients that are sure to change your meal this year including harissa paste, Marmite and tapenade.

If you just love experimenting in the kitchen, you're going to love these delicious and unusual ingredients. You can add them to your classic dishes like spag bol or risotto to give them a new lease of life.

Why not pop some sundried tomatoes into your favourite pasta dish for a more intense flavour, add a few drops of Worcester sauce to your chilli con carne or drizzle some balsamic vinegar on your salad for a tangy kick.

Click through to see the 30 wonder ingredients that will change your meals this year...


What is it? Edamame are Japanese salted green soya beans which are usually cooked in their pods and then popped out. They have a delicious crunch to them and the salty flavour makes a lovely seasoning for your food.

How much does it usually cost? £1.50 for 150g

How to cook: Boil the beans in the pods in salted water for around 4-5 mins. Serve in the pods if you're using as a side or pop out and add to your dish.

Dishes to add it to: The beans have quite a subtle flavour so can be used in lots of different dishes; salads, pasta and casseroles are the best places to start.

Edamame recipes to try:



What is it? Panko is a Japanese ingredient meaning breadcrumbs. 'Pan' means bread and 'Ko' mean flour or powder. When you put the two together you have fine, light and flaky breadcrumbs.

How much does it usually cost? £1.49 for 150g

How to use it: Panko is most commonly used for coating fried or baked foods like fish or meat. Just dip your chosen meat in egg wash and then coat in panko and bake or fry.

Dishes to add it to: You can coat your favourite piece of fish; be it salmon or sea bass in panko. You can also add panko breadcrumbs to chicken, beef or pork pieces to make healthier chicken nuggets or canapé-type snacks. Panko can also be dusted on top of pasta bakes or cottage pie for a crispy finish.

Panko recipes to try:

  • This cheesy arancini recipe is a great way of using up any leftover risotto. The panko breadcrumbs make this dish extra special - the ideal snack for lunch!
  • Add some panko breadcrumbs to your fish cakes just like with fish cakes recipe with anchovy dressing.
  • Quinoa


    What is it? Quinoa is a healthy grain that looks similar to couscous but is dense like rice. It has a nutty flavour and is really easy to cook.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.69 for 300g

    How to cook: Cooking quinoa is like cooking rice. Cover with boiling water, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 mins until the water is absorbed.

    Dishes to add it to: Swap your rice, pasta or potatoes for quinoa instead or add in a salad just like couscous.

    Quinoa recipes to try:

    Soy sauce

    Soy sauce

    What is it? Soy sauce is an ingredient often used in Chinese or Japanese cooking. It is a dark sauce made with fermented soya beans and has a tangy, salty kick.

    How much does it usually cost? £2.48 for 150ml

    How to use: Just drizzle over your stir-fries, serve as a dip for sushi or add to marinades for meat to give it that extra zest of flavour.

    Dishes to add it to: Asian-style dishes such as stir-fries are the most obvious way to use soy sauce but the salty flavour adds a nice twist to pasta or casseroles and it really livens up a bolognese sauce.

    Soy sauce recipes to try:

    • Add a few drops of soya sauce into this mushroom pasta bake recipe to add a deliciously rich and savoury flavour to the mushrooms.
    • Soy sauce plays a main part in our soy and ginger chicken recipe - it's a classic and the perfect alternative to your usual Saturday night takeaway.
    • Drizzle over your salads for an oriental twist just like this Thai prawn salad. Prawn, beef or chicken work really well with soy sauce.



    What is it? (In case you've never heard of it before!) Chocolate is made from ground cacao seeds and be can be bought in both solid or paste form. It's very popular and is seen as more of a sweet ingredient than savoury but it can bring a lovely rich flavour to your dinners.

    How much does it usually cost? 60p for 100g

    How to use: Chocolate is really easy to add to savoury dishes, you can melt it or add it in whole to sauces and marinades. The texture and thickness of the chocolate will give the sauce a rich and luxurious flavour.

    Dishes to add it to: Chocolate is best teamed with rich meats such as chocolate or venison as it adds a deep flavour to the sauce. Beef chilli or steak is delicious teamed with chocolate - and we think Bolognese is made even better with a few squares of chocolate.

    Savoury chocolate recipes to try:



    What is it? Harissa is a hot sauce or paste originally from North Africa. It's made from chilli peppers, paprika and olive oil.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.89 for 90g

    How to use it: A teaspoon of harissa paste will go a long way. Just pop into your chosen sauce or marinade and watch the sparks fly!

    Dishes to add it to: You can add harissa to sauces used for dishes like spag bol, curry, chilli or even cottage pie. Harissa paste also makes a delicious marinade for chicken or lamb.

    Recipes to try:



    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    What is it? Coffee (another one you're proabably familiar with) is a hot drink made from bean-like seeds which can be roasted and ground to make coffee granules. Commonly used in sweet bakes, it can also add a rich flavour to your savoury meals.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.50 for 100g (granules)

    How to use: Whether it's coffee granules, instant coffee or coffee essence, it's really simple to add a hint of coffee to your chosen recipe. Stir into your sauce when seasoning towards the end to ensure the coffee flavour shines through.

    Dishes to add it to: Rich, meaty sauces are the best base for a sprinkling of coffee.

    Savoury coffee recipes to try:

    Mushroom ketchup

    Mushroom ketchup

    What is it? Mushroom ketchup is thick sauce made from liquified mushrooms and spices such as cloves and paprika and soy sauce.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.79 for 190ml

    How to use it: Mushroom ketchup can be served just like tomato ketchup - ready for dipping or can be added sauces when cooking.

    Dishes to add it to: Mushroom ketchup adds a wonderful flavour to casseroles or pie fillings. It also makes a great marinade for meats like beef or chicken.

    Recipes to try:



    What is it? Pancetta is cured belly of pork made in Italy. It is salt cured and spiced with black pepper and occasionally other spices too. It's easy to find in the supermarket and packed with a smoky, rich flavour.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.50 for 130g

    How to use it: Pancetta can be added to sauces, pasta or potato dishes. It doesn't take long to cook either. It's also commonly used to wrap meats, such as stuffed chicken breasts, as it holds its shape when cooked.

    Dishes to add it to: Add pancetta to pasta dishes, risottos or pop on top of your favourite pizza recipe.

    Pancetta recipes to try:

  • Why not try adding pancetta to your salad? Our delicious lentil and pancetta salad is warm and easy to make too.
  • If you're not a fan of Brussels sprouts you will be once you've cooked them alongside some lardons of fresh pancetta just like this Gordon Ramsay recipe.
  • Marmite


    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    What is it? Marmite is a savoury spread made from yeast extract and vegetable extract. It's one of the most diverse spreads around - you either love it or you hate it!

    How much does it usually cost? £2.60 for a jar of 250g

    How to use: It's really simple and doesn't need to be prepared in anyway - just add a spoonful to the mix and you're ready to go!

    Dishes to add it to: Marmite can be added to sauces for dishes like spaghetti bolognese, casserole and chilli con carne and in a homemade stir-fry sauce

    Marmite recipes to try:



    What is it? Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It originates from the Middle East and is often added to hummus or baba ganoush.

    How much does it usually cost? £2.50 for 300g

    How to use: Just squeeze out of the tube or spoon it out of the jar and get cooking. You can heat tahini or serve it cold as a dip.

    Dishes to add it to: Tahini can added to dressings, or added to dips like hummus for a nutty flavour. It's a delicious dip perfect for lamb, falafel or chicken.

    Recipes to try:

    • Our baba ganoush recipe combines aubergine, garlic and tahini together to make a delicious side dish.
    • When making falafel add some tahini paste for a strong, nutty flavour. The tahini works well with the coriander and chickpeas.
    • Give your burgers a nutty taste by adding some tahini paste when making the burgers from scratch just like our lamb burgers with beetroot relish recipe.



    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    What is it? Rocket is a Mediterranean plant from the cabbage family which is often eaten in salads and has a deliciously peppery taste.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.00 for a bag of 70g

    How to use: Rocket is often bought prepared and ready to eat straight from the bag. Just wash with some water before adding to your chosen dish. If you're adding it to a warm or hot dish, add it last so it doesn't wilt and go too soggy.

    Dishes to add it to: Salads, pasta and risotto are the best dishes to use rocket. The peppery flavour is complemented best with lighter meats such as chicken and pork.

    Rocket recipes to try:



    What is it? Wasabi is a powder or paste made from a Japanese plant. It has a very strong taste, similar to horseradish and is usually served with raw fish like sushi.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.99 for 43g

    How to use: Wasabi paste comes in a tube and can be used straight away. It's best stored in the fridge. Wasabi powder can be bought in a packet and is ready for sprinkling once opened.

    Dishes to add it to: Wasabi paste is usually served as a dip or side dish. Wasabi powder is more commonly added to dishes like stir-fries.

    Recipes to try:



    What is it? Tapenade is a savoury paste made from black olives, capers and anchovies. It can be made at home or shop-bought.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.99 for 100g

    How to use: Tapenade can be used just like tomato puree - squeezed into or on whatever you fancy.

    Dishes to add it to: Spread on pastry, pizza dough or on meat as a marinade. You can also add it to salads or pasta sauces.

    Tapenade recipes to try:

    • Why not try making your own tapenade with our classic tapenade recipe (pictured above)
    • Spread some tapenade over your pork steaks and sprinkle with breadcrumbs to add extra flavour and texture to this piece of meat.
    • Transform your tart into a delicious treat and spread on some tapenade before adding fresh cherry tomatoes too just like this cherry tomato and tapenade tart recipe.

    Ras El Hanout

    Ras El Hanout

    What is it? Ras El Hanout is a spice mix from North Africa. It's a powerful spice commonly containing a mixture of spices like cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chilli peppers, coriander and other spices too.

    How much does it usually cost? £2.49 for 50g

    How to use: You can buy Ras El Hanout like you would other spices, in a little jar. You can also buy Ras El Hanout as a paste. Both of these can be used straight from the packet, heated or sprinkled onto meat or in sauces.

    Dishes to add it to: You can add it to chilli con carne to give it a spicy kick. You could add it to a tomato-based risotto, tagine, casserole, soup or pie filling.

    Recipes to try:

    • Make your mince even more flavoursome with a sprinkle of Ras El Hanout just like our Moroccan meatball tagine recipe.
    • If you fancy making some soup, give it a spicy kick. Our Moroccan fish soup is the perfect recipe for using this spice in.
    • Soft butternut squash and tender pieces of courgette make this Moroccan vegetable crumble extra special - not forgetting the Ras El Hanout of course!



    What is it? Capers are pickled flower buds from a bramble-like shrub found in southern Europe which are cooked and used to flavour foods. They have a tangy taste and are often bought preserved in brine or vinegar.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.79 for 240g

    How to use: You don't have to do much to capers when adding them to dishes. Just drain them if bought in a jar or tin and use as you wish.

    Dishes to add it to: Sprinkle on a salad, add to pizza or serve alongside a fresh piece of fish for a fresh, salty taste.

    Capers recipes to try:

    • Give your potato salad a delicious twist by adding some tangy capers to the mix. Our potato salad with capers and mint is a great combo.
    • Add capers to your fish burger just like in this fast fish burger recipe. It combines white fish with parsley, capers and a little olive oil to make one tasty burger.
    • This salmon, anchovy and capers pizza is another great way to get the best flavour out of your capers. Plus they really compliment the salmon too.

    Lemon/lime juice

    Lemon/lime juice

    What is it? Lemon or lime juice is juice taken from the citrus fruit of a lemon or lime. You can use fresh juice or you can buy ready-prepared juice from the supermarket. The sharp burst of flavour can bring a new life to your usual meals.

    How much does it usually cost? A single lemon can cost 34p or bottled lemon juice can cost 55p for 55ml.

    How to use: Lemon and lime juice can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, from stir-fries to cakes. Just add a few teaspoons to the mix or drizzle over your dish when serving for a refreshing finish.

    Dishes to add it to: Lemon juice is best added to lighter, creamy sauces and poultry dishes while lime juice is delicious in Mexican style dishes. Both make a great basis for a homemade salad dressing too.

    Recipes to try:

    Balsamic vinegar

    Balsamic vinegar

    What is it? Balsamic vinegar is a dark vinegar produced in Italy. It is sweet and is matured in wooden barrels for an extra zingy taste.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.50 for 250ml

    How to use: Balsamic vinegar can transform your simple salad into a feast fit for royalty. It can be used in marinades for different meats like chicken or fish like salmon and it can be added to sweet treats too, such as strawberries.

    Dishes to add it to: A dash of balsamic vinegar can be added to sauces like Bolognese, can be drizzled over salads or spooned into casseroles and stews for a little kick of flavour.

    Balsamic vinegar recipes to try:



    What is it? Cola is a fizzy drink made with extract of cola nuts. It's become a very popular drink around the world with the top brand being Coca-Cola.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.98 for two litres

    How to use it? Cola can be boiled to make a sauce, added straight from the bottle and can even be cooked in a slow cooker as part of stock.

    Dishes to add it to: You can add a hint of cola to your marinades or sauces to make them extra sweet. Cola can also transform your favourite chocolate cake into a tasty treat or give your brisket a delicious flavour.

    Cola recipes to try:

    • Marinate your chicken wings in a deliciously sweet and sticky sauce made with cola. Our coca-cola chicken wings are the perfect example of how to do this!
    • You can even try cooking with different flavours of cola too. Our cherry-glazed ham hock uses cherry cola for an even sweeter flavour.
    • Psst! You can add cola to sweet recipes too, how about making our chocolate cola cake - it's rich, dense and sweet all in one!



    What is it? Guinness is an Irish stout which has a rich, mature flavour. It's dark in colour and has an almost burnt flavour from the unmalted barley.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.99 for 500ml

    How to use: Guinness can be added straight from the can or bottle, can be boiled or cooked to make stock too.

    Dishes to add it to: Guinness can be added to both sweet and savoury dishes. It can be used as the base for a stock for pies or casseroles and it can be added to cake mixture to make dense and delicious sponges.

    Guinness recipes to try:

    Sweet chilli sauce

    Sweet chilli sauce

    What is it? Sweet chilli sauce is made with red chillies, fruit and sugar. It is a popular sauce in Thai and Malaysian cuisine. This vibrant sauce is often served as a dipping sauce with prawns or spring rolls.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.89 for 380g

    How to use: Sweet chilli sauce can be used straight from the bottle. It can be warmed up or served as it is.

    Dishes to add it to: You can add this ingredient to other mixtures to make marinades for fish and meat or as a dressing for stir-fries. You can also serve on its own as a dipping sauce or salad dressing.

    Sweet chilli recipes to try:



    What is it? Gnocchi are small Italian dumplings made from potato, semolina, or flour. They're light and fluffy and are usually served in a sauce.

    How much does it usually cost? Between 65p - £1.50 per 500g.

    How to cook: It only takes two minutes to cook the ready made version. Simply add to boiling water and simmer for a couple of minutes until the gnocchi starts to rise.

    Dishes to add it to: Gnocchi is best served with a sauce so it's the perfect replacement for pasta or rice.

    Gnocchi recipes to try:



    What is it? Anchovies are small fish often used as bait. They've got a very strong, fishy flavour and are often preserved in salt and oil.

    How much does it usually cost? 79p for 50g

    How to use: If you buy anchovies in oil, all you have to do is drain them and then add to your chosen recipe.

    Dishes to add it to: You can add them to hot meals like pasta or risotto or you can add them to fresh salads too.

    Anchovies recipes to try:



    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    What is it? Olives are small fruits grown on trees with a hard stone in the middle and bitter flesh. They're packed full of nutrients and often only used as a starter but they add so much flavour to meals.

    How much does it usually cost? £2.00 for 210g

    How to use: Buy preserved or fresh olives in jars and slice into small chunks and add to sauce preparation when cooking the onions.

    Dishes to add it to: Pasta and casserole sauces are given a lovely, salty flavour with the addition of olives to the sauce. Olives also liven up a salad when simply sprinkled on top.

    Olive recipes to try:



    What is it? Paprika is a bright red powdered spice, made from dried varieties of sweet pepper. It can be found in most supermarkets in the seasonings section.

    How much does it usually cost? 95p for 52g

    How to use: Paprika is most commonly bought already ground (so you can put your pestle and mortar away!) and all you have to do is sprinkle it in or on your chosen dish for added spice.

    Dishes to add it to: Paprika can be added to lots of different dishes like chilli con carne, curry or even stews or casseroles to give them a spicy kick. You can sprinkle paprika on salads or different meats before cooking for added flavour.

    Recipes to try:

    • Our creamy paprika pork recipe is the perfect example of how to make paprika one of your main flavours and spices just by adding in a couple of teaspoons to the stock.
    • Give your soup a smoky twist by adding a pinch of paprika. Try our roast sweet potato soup recipe to see what all the fuss is about.
    • Dust your prawns with a generous helping of smoky paprika just like our prawn cocktail linguine.

    Worcester sauce

    Worcester sauce

    What is it? Worcester sauce is a brown fermented liquid with a strong, tangy flavour. The Lea & Perrins brand dates back to 1837 and is the leading name for Worcester sauce.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.19 for 150ml

    How to use: Worcester sauce is ready to be used straight from the bottle. It can be warmed up in a variety of recipes or can be used cold.

    Dishes to add it to: Drizzle over your salads, add a dash to your favourite casserole recipe, add a spoonful to gravy or add it to a marinade for meat like chicken or beef.

    Recipes to try:

    Sundried tomatoes

    Sundried tomatoes

    What is it? Sundried tomatoes are tomatoes that have been dried in the sun making them lose most of their water content and develop a more intense flavour.

    How much does it usually cost? £2.49 for 535g

    How to use: Sundried tomatoes usually come preserved in vegetable oil. Just drain the oil and then use them straight from the jar. They can be cooked or eaten as they are.

    Dishes to add it to: You can add sundried tomatoes to tomato-based sauces like spag Bol or chilli. You could also add them to other dishes like omelettes, risottos, salads or as a simple pizza topping.

    Sundried tomatoes recipes to try:

    Parmesan cheese

    Parmesan cheese

    What is it? Parmesan cheese, or Parmigiano-Reggiano is an hard, granular Italian cheese with a strong, intense flavour.

    How much does it usually cost? £2 for 100g

    How to use: Parmesan can be grated, sliced or melted onto your chosen dish. Store in the fridge to keep it extra fresh.

    Dishes to add it to: You can sprinkle Parmesan on spaghetti, risottos, salad or even grate some on top of your shepherd's pie. Parmesan is perfect with pasta too so get grating!

    Parmesan cheese recipes to try:

    Fish sauce

    Fish sauce

    What is it? Fish sauce is a liquid extracted from the fermentation of fish with sea salt. It is usually a amber colour and is used as a condiment in various cuisines including Thai.

    How much does it usually cost? £1.29 for 150ml

    How to use: Fish sauce has a very strong flavour, so you don't need to use that much of it when it comes to adding to meals. Use directly from the bottle and warm through for the best flavour.

    Dishes to add it to: You can add fish sauce to curries, soups, pies, stir-fries or salads - whatever tickles your fancy!

    Recipes to try:

    • Dress your fillet of salmon in a sweet and sticky fish sauce-based marinade for a delicious mid-week treat.
    • Give your burgers a fishy twist! This tuna burgers recipe uses a dash of fish sauce for added flavour. You could try using fish sauce when making classic burgers too.
    • Fish sauce is the basis of the dressing for a classic pad Thai.

    Umami paste

    Umami paste

    What is it? Umami paste is a savoury sauce with a reddish-brown colour. It is made from anchovies, black olives and Parmesan. The Japanese word 'umami' means 'pleasant savoury taste'.

    How much does it usually cost? £2.99 for 70g

    How to use: Umami paste can be used directly from the jar. It can be warmed through when added to sauces or can be smeared onto meats like steak as a marinade.

    Dishes to add it to: You can add umami paste to stir-fries, casseroles or marinades to bring the 'umami' out of each ingredient.

    Recipes to try: Swap the soy sauce in this chicken Teriyaki thighs recipe for umami paste instead for an intense, creamy flavour.Give your stir-fry a new lease of life by adding in some umami paste to this prawn soba noodles recipe.

    Where to next?

    Jessica Dady
    Food Editor

    Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 11 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies