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6 native Australian ingredients to incorporate into your cooking

6 Native Ingredients To Incorporate Into Your Cooking

Image: Phillip Larking | Unsplash

The Australian outback has approximately 5000 different native food species. The Australian Indigenous people have a distinctive and innovative relationship with land and food, collecting nectar from bottlebrush flowers or honey from ants’ abdomens.

Sounds a little different to our drive down to the supermarket for ready-made snags for the holiday season, right? Unfortunately, with the loss of traditional land came the loss of this gorgeous and revolutionary style of foraging and cooking many years ago.

Luckily, there’s been a culinary uplift in Australian native foods over the last few years. Everyone from the home cook to the two-hatted chef has been embracing macadamia nuts, finger limes and even kangaroo meat. We’re so fortunate to have some of the most distinctive flavours within our flora. It’s time to expand your mind and taste buds to our very own home-grown heroes. Plus, there are plenty of ways to incorporate these fresh ingredients into your holiday meals.

Let’s start with Kakadu plums. These are about the size of an olive and have a dry and astringent taste, but what they lack in size and sweetness, they make up for in health benefits.

Kakadu plums contain almost 50 times more vitamin C than oranges! Traditionally, Indigenous Australians used this exceptional ingredient as an antiseptic and a soothing balm for aching limbs. Kakadu plum is excellent in sweet recipes, and fair dinkum, do I have the recipe for you!

My Kakadu Plum and Blueberry Ice Cream is perfect for those among us with a sweet tooth. You can purchase Kakadu plum or gubinge powder online in health food stores and find my delicious recipe below. Before you do, though, let’s play a game: guess what ingredient I am.

I’m a fruit with a zesty flavour, in the shape of a finger? Any guesses? You got it — the finger lime! This local ripper fruit, bursting with zest, tastes slightly tart and citrusy. Finger lime is rich in vitamin C, folate, vitamin E and potassium, and acts as a protective antioxidant in human cells. Try it in dressings, jams and sauces.

And now for the ingredient of the hour, the humble wattleseed. The love child of coffee and chocolate, who wouldn’t want to dig right in? This unsung hero is high in protein, is as versatile as ingredients come, and has high concentrations of potassium, calcium, iron and zinc.

Celebrate Australia’s gorgeous native ingredients by diving into my Wattleseed and Lemon Biscuit recipe below. They are a wonderful treat with a cup of good Aussie afternoon tea.

Kakadu Plum & Blueberry Ice Cream

Serves: 2



  • 2 frozen ripe bananas
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ¼ cup chilled coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Kakadu plum powder (gubinge)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or fresh vanilla
  • Mint leaves and pistachios to decorate
  1. Whizz bananas, blueberries and coconut milk, Kakadu plum powder and vanilla in food processor until creamy; add more coconut milk if needed to get a smooth consistency.
  2. Serve in bowls and decorate with mint leaves and pistachios.

Wattleseed & Lemon Biscuits

Makes 16–20



  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 110g coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
  • 110g coconut sugar
  • 100g almond butter
  • 1½ tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tbsp wattleseed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the almond meal, coconut flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and coconut sugar for about 1 min. Stir in the almond butter, vanilla powder, wattleseed, egg and lemon zest until well mixed.
  4. Fold the almond meal mixture into the egg mixture, then refrigerate for 30 min.
  5. Roll the dough into 16–20 balls, place on the prepared baking tray with at least 2.5cm between them and press each one down with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 12–15 mins, until golden, then cool completely on the baking tray. They’ll be soft in the middle but will harden as they cool.

Have fun incorporating these ingredients into your meals!


Lee Holmes

Lee Holmes is a nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, wholefoods chef, Lifestyle Food Channel’s Healthy Eating Expert, blogger and author of the best-selling books Supercharged Food: Eat Your Way to Health, Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian, Heal your Gut, Eat Right for Your Shape and Supercharged Food for Kids.

Lee’s food philosophy is all about S.O.L.E. food: sustainable, organic, local and ethical. Her main goal is to alter the perception that cooking fresh, wholesome, nutrient-rich meals is difficult, complicated and time-consuming. From posting recipes, her passion to share her autoimmune disease story and help others has snowballed and the blog has recently taken home the overall prize at the Bupa Health Influencer Awards as well as the best blog in the Healthy Eating category. She also runs a four-week online Heal Your Gut program.